Located in the Rock Canyon area near the Arkansas River is The Nature and Raptor Center. This wildlife habitat combines riparian, aquatic, and semi-arid grasslands to provide a decent environment for animals and plants. The facilities can be reserved for events and parties. There are numerous activities that can be enjoyed on the grounds including fishing, kayaking, bird watching, wildlife observation, picnics, and nature walks. You can reach the Pueblo Trail System and the unpaved trails are great for hiking, as well as horseback riding, biking, and walking.
The area features more than 36 miles of paved trails that run along the Arkansas River and curve around Lake Pueblo. You can also enjoy volleyball games on the courts, fish from the 150-foot dock, play horseshoes in the pits, enjoy a concert or performance at the amphitheatre, and let the kids play on the playground. You will be able to launch your boat or canoe into the river. There are also numerous gardens lining the river, and if you want to stop for a bite to eat or a beverage, the Cafy del Rio offers both Southwestern and American cuisine. The Raptor Center features a medical center for eagles, owls, and various birds of prey. They take the time to tend to these animals and get them healthy and released back into the wil. There are several birds of prey who are permanent residents at the center. If you are interested in touring this facility while at the Nature Center, allow for an extra hour of time.
The hours of the center grounds are sunrise to sunset, and the Raptor Center is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 am until 4 pm. There is a gift shop that is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 am until 5 pm. Admission is free of charge and onsite parking costs $3.
In addition to the Nature Center, Pueblo is home to the El Pueblo History Museum, the Pueblo Zoo, the Rosemount Museum, the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum, Infozone News Museum, the Steelworks Museum of Industry and Culture, the Southeastern Colorado Heritage Center, and the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center.
If you time at the Nature Center has sparked your appetite, consider dining at the La Renaissance Restaurant. Located in a historic 19th century Presbyterian church, this restaurant has been open since 1974 and features a menu with steaks, prime rib, Alaskan crab legs, pork ribs, chicken, and rack of lamb. The dycor is elegant and inviting and features stained-glass windows, oak pews, and high vaulted ceilings. The feeling of church has been enhanced by incorporating much of the original architecture into the restaurant design.
If you need overnight facilities while in town, consider staying at the Abriendo Hotel. This is a bed and breakfast that is located in an early turn of the 20th century mansion. Rooms are equipped with antique furniture, king and queen sized bed, and period reproduction furniture. Some of the units have whirlpools. You will receive a delicious home cooked breakfast in the morning that is served in the dining room or on the patio, weather permitting.
If you have a fascination for nature, especially birds of prey, you will appreciate a trip to The Nature and Raptor Center in Pueblo.