If you love animals and wildlife it's hard to beat living in Colorado. An afternoon hike can be full of surprises through some of our National Forests and wildlife areas.

If you prefer not to be surprised by a giant moose on a Grand Mesa trail, you can always plan a day trip to one of Colorado's large zoos with hundreds of animals on display.

Read More: See All 11 of Colorado's Beautiful National Forests

Colorado Wildlife

Colorado is a great state for wildlife encounters in the great outdoors. If you know where to look, elk, moose, bears, big horn sheep, and deer can be observed safely in several parks and wilderness areas.

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How Many Zoos are in Colorado?

Several Zoos have come and gone in Colorado over the years. The Zoo at Lincoln Park in Grand Junction was open from around 1939 to 1969. It was home to Leo the Lion and other residents remembered in the link below.

Read More: Remembering Grand Junction's Zoo + Leo The Lion

Today, Colorado is home to several large zoos, a huge aquarium, and even a wildlife sanctuary for large predators. Find out where each of these seven locations is in the gallery below.

Colorado's Wildlife Sanctuary

Some of the largest predators in the state can be found by walking a "Mile into the Wild" at the Colorado Wild Animal Sanctuary. Large walkways and observation decks are placed throughout allowing guests to observe them up close. Take a closer look below.

Find Family Friendly Animal Encounters at 7 Colorado Zoos

Colorado is a great state for animal lovers. In addition to all the creatures you can encounter in the wild, our state is home to seven major zoos that are home to hundreds and hundreds of animals. Each one is highlighted in the gallery below.

Gallery Credit: Wesley Adams

KEEP GOING: Grand Junction Colorado Animals - Robert Grant Photos

Here's another gallery of Robert Grant photos from Grand Junction, Colorado's past. With this gallery, the focus is on animals - domesticated to wildlife, and everything in between. These images range from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Gallery Credit: Waylon Jordan

MORE: Beware of the 12 Most Dangerous Animals in Colorado

Keep an eye out for the following 12 dangerous animals in Colorado. While these creatures usually go out of their way to avoid you, if you encounter one you will want to give it plenty of space. Scroll on to see each one and find out why they make the cut of the most dangerous animals in Colorado.

Gallery Credit: Wes Adams

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