10 Best Sanctuaries to see and support animals
Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary
Hot Springs, S.D.
You’ll feel transported back to the Wild West when you glimpse herds of horses and mustangs on the open plains. “It’s really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see wild horses who are truly wild, running freely like you would have seen hundreds of years ago,” Peet says. wildmustangs.com
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Key Largo, Fla.
The nation’s first undersea park preserves a living coral reef, letting snorkelers and divers swim with tropical fish, Peet says. “This is a great alternative to going to an aquarium. It’s also a great way to cool off and get some exercise too.” pennekamppark.com
Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge
Mound City, Mo.
Bird lovers flock to this 7,350-acre reserve in northwest Missouri where as many as 300 bald eagles nest during seasonal migration. The wetlands, grasslands and forests also attract geese, ducks and shorebirds. “Birds are such amazing animals to watch and there’s such a huge variety,” Peet says. “These habitats are disappearing across the country.” Admission is free. fws.gov/refuge/squaw_creek
The Wild Animal Sanctuary
An expansive property northeast of Denver offers a chance to see once-captive wild animals from a large observation platform. “You’ll see bears, lions tiger and wolves in huge habitats of 15 to up to 60 acres. It gives these rescued animals the ability to roam in packs or alone as they choose,” Peet says. wildanimalsanctuary.org
Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch
This 37-year-old sanctuary, founded by author and animal advocate Cleveland Amory, is now run by the Humane Society of the United States. It welcomes the public several times a month for pre-scheduled guided tours. “It’s home to almost a thousand animals. There’s a huge variety of species from horses to chimpanzees to monkeys to big cats,” Peet says. fundforanimals.org
Catskill Animal Sanctuary
This Hudson Valley haven for horses and farm animals offers the public a chance to see familiar creatures in a natural setting. “It’s a way for people to connect with animals and see how unique they are,” Peet says. Guests can stay in an historic bed and (vegan) breakfast, located on site. casanctuary.org
Grass Valley, Calif.
This 600-acre farm animal refuge will have you viewing livestock in a whole new light. “People can see just how smart chickens, pigs and cows are,” Peet says. Visitors can even leave with a memorable souvenir if they attend an adoption party for rescued hens. But don’t expect to roll up and put one in your minivan. There is a detailed screening process for prospective parents. animalplace.org
Denali National Park
This enormous park offers one of the best places in the nation to see wild animals in a natural no-hunting habitat. Populations include grizzly and black bears, wolves, caribou, moose and Dall sheep. “This time of year you’ll often see bears roaming with their cubs. It’s a great place to make some amazing memories and take some great photos too,” Peet says. nps.gov/dena
PAWS (Performing Animal Welfare Society) ARK 2000
San Andreas, Calif.
While elephants aren’t native to California, they do get to live in comfort at this habitat with large heated barn stalls. “It’s a huge sanctuary where they can enjoy mud wallows and swimming ponds so they can live more natural lives,” Peet says. The next available dates for visits are in December. pawsweb.org
Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest
Cle Elum, Wash.
Chimps once used for medical testing or entertainment live out their lives in this primate facility. “They have a large area outside which allows them to engage in all their natural activities like climbing and swinging and engaging with other chimpanzees,” Peet says. “They are highly intelligent and highly social and because they look so much like us it’s easy for children to see their individual personalities come through.” Limited tours offered June through September, although 2016 dates are sold out. chimpsanctuarynw.org
Source: USA Today