Colorado is home to the largest sanctuary in the world for rescued lions, tigers, and bears after The Wild Animal Sanctuary recently added a new welcome center.
The new center, about 30 miles northeast of Denver, features a gift shop, cafeteria-style restaurant and ice cream shop. That plus a new commissary for events and extra half-mile of elevated walkway cost $5 million, said Pat Craig, executive director of the sanctuary.
The nonprofit sanctuary in Keenesburg used a federal loan to pay for the new 48,000-square-foot center. Money from the gift shop, restaurant and ice cream sales is expected to repay the loan, according to a news release.
All donations and other revenues that are collected for the roughly 420 animals — mostly large carnivores who were raised in captivity — at the 720-acre facility will continue to go toward caring for the animals.
“We’ve developed amazing ways to take care of and protect our animals,” Craig said in a release. “We wanted to replicate that for our guests and feel we have succeeded.”
A grand opening for the ceremony and Halloween party is being held Oct. 31.
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