Possible record crowd at GoG Visitor Center's 10th annual Bighorn Day
It might even have been a record. Turnouts of more than 3,000 people have been typical on nice days in the event's 10-year history, but “this is the first time we've had to use the Rock Ledge Ranch parking lot,” pointed out Bret Tennis, the center's lead interpreter. Addendum, per a Feb. 24 Tennis e-mail: It was a record, with a counted total of 3,660.
(The historic site is catty-corner from the center at 30th Street and Gateway Road; free shuttle buses brought people back and forth.)
The bighorns did their part for the event, with several from the
Early in the day was the best for viewing, according to Haydee Ullrich of Colorado Parks. Interviewed around noon, she said “10 to 12” bighorns had been grazing before most were spooked by hikers. One previous time (not on a Bighorn Day), she recalled seeing at least 30 head in the Garden of the Gods's north parking lot.
Outdoor specialists created Bighorn Day at the Visitor Center in 2006 to celebrate - and provide education about - the official state mammal, as well as other types of wildlife in the area.
In keeping with the established format, the five-hour event also included touch tables, presentations, guided walks, outdoor-related games, craft opportunites and some small, live animals that were
Over the past year, the nearly 20-year-old Visitor Center - owned by a private foundation that contributes a share of its earnings to the Garden - has undergone major renovations, but stayed open most of the time. Key among the completed improvements are a wider interior stairway between the first and second floors and a new second-floor gift shop (consolidated from one on each floor previously).
Contracted work continues on the new first-floor theater and a second-floor addition for exhibits, center spokesperson Dolores Davis said. The plan is for all the work to be complete by mid-May, in time for a 20-year commemoration.
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