Alligators and Other Aliens
The next morning, I drive down Highways 285 and 112 to Hooper, home of the Colorado Gators Reptile Park. Who would expect to find a place that houses more than 300 alligators and other cold-blooded critters in the middle of the high Rocky Mountains? Numerous underground mineral springs provide hot water for the reptiles to soak in year ‘round. Touring the park is a wild experience, and lots of fun. What could be weirder!
Well, how about a location dedicated to viewing UFO’s?
Just a few miles north of the reptile park, on a sprawling piece of otherwise empty acreage, I stop at the UFO Watchtower, an elevated metal deck where visitors search the dark night sky for alien craft. Since its opening in 2010, the Watchtower has claimed more than 200 confirmed sightings of the extraterrestrial kind. I’m not exactly sure how “confirmed” is defined in this instance, but in my quest to experience its quirkiness before visiting the dunes, I decide to call the Watchtower home for the night.
Around 3 a.m., I wake up, grab my cameras and head from my tent to the platform. Soon enough, I realize I am not alone. Out of the shadows, they appear — other tourists. I can report no UFO sightings, though.