Wildlife West Nature Park (Albuquerque, NM)

When I was in Albuquerque last month, my friends had wanted to take me on a hike. It’s kind of what people do who live in New Mexico. But ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that walking in the dirt and sun is the last thing I want to do.

So, we found a compromise: A rustic animal sanctuary about 15 minutes away called Wildlife West Nature Park. It was sort of like hiking – because it was outside and in the dirt – but it came with the bonus of meeting rescued animals ranging from owls to mountain lions.

It wasn’t massive, only about a 2 mile walk around, but it was really nice. The woman at the front desk where we paid the entrance fee was super nice and gave us maps and told us where to go.

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We could be heroes. Upon entering the sanctuary, we noticed a family doing something in the fence that surrounded the wolves. When we walked up and ask them what they were doing, we saw that they were trying to help a little lizard get out of the fence. The wolves were licking their lips and looking for a way to get to the little lizard for a mid-morning snack. My friend’s husband pulled out his Swiss Army knife and we were able to open the hole in the fence just enough to slide the lizard out and put him back on the ground in the dirt after rinsing him off with water from one of our bottles. Of course, before we released him back into the wild, we had to take photos with him. He was so cute! I was so happy that we were able to rescue him.

We spent the next hour or so walking around and seeing the gorgeous creatures that the sanctuary had taken in, usually either after the animal had gotten sick or injured, or was found being kept illegally as a pet. We saw everything from bears and bobcats to mountain lions and raccoons, and hawks and owls, just to name a few. The cutest were the grey foxes that literally just hang out in the trees all day (you can sort of see one in the third picture below!).

If you’re like me and don’t like to hike, but want to go outside your comfort zone a little, with furry adorable creatures, then Wildlife West is for you. I can’t recommend supporting this wonderful haven for these animals enough.

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