There is a lot of wildlife and nature to see when you are in the Denver, CO area. The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is just a few miles north of the city and offers a great opportunity to see them.
The area that is now called the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge used to be a place where military munitions were made and tested. The Army once made chemical weapons here. Now, some of the area has largely been cleaned up and has been designated a wildlife area since 1992.
Today, there are about 13,000 acres in the Refuge. The cleanup is still taking place in the neighboring areas because they had often been stored improperly while it was being used to make chemicals. Once the neighboring land is cleaned, there will be a total of 17,000 acres in the Refuge, which should be some time in 2011. Parts of the current Refuge are also still undergoing cleaning.
Because it is so close to Denver, it offers a great place of refuge for people looking to take a break from city life. As visitors become immersed in the wilderness, they soon begin to discover that there is much wildlife going on around them.
Many different kinds of animals can be seen here. There are more than 330 species in the Refuge. This includes mammals, reptiles, birds, and amphibians. You might be able to see mule deer, buffalo - which have recently been introduced into the park, coyotes, prairie dogs, pronghorns, and more. Many birds pass through the area and some live here, including some endangered species and eagles.
The Refuge has many trails that visitors can take to see the park. Nine miles of interpretive trails are available on a seasonal basis and provide plenty of opportunities for viewing wildlife and photographing them. The trails go along the edges of lakes, through shrubland and prairies.
Fishing is also popular on a catch and release basis from April to October. The park offers smallmouth bass, catfish, and bluegills.
You can take a tour of the Refuge by getting on board the trolley-tram. The tour is interactive and presents information about the history of the site and the cleanup that has taken place. A reservation will be needed, but they are available year round. Other tours include hayrides, bike tours, and moonlit hikes.
Kids can enjoy a special one-hour class that is given on the first Tuesday of each month. It goes from 10 - 11 AM and is for children ages 2 to 5 years old. Many other nature and environment related classes are taught in the Visitors Center in the Park for all ages.
Tours are available at different times and offer a great way for the family to see the park. October is a special month at the park, and offers some special displays, activities, and sometimes live animals. The Wildlife Learning Lab in the Visitor's Center provides visitors the opportunity to watch live bees in a tree. There is also an artifact display, a gift shop and bookstore at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Denver, CO.