Kids Crane Fest Quest celebrates Sandhill Cranes at Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge

MONTE VISTA — The Friends of the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuges is excited to announce the Kids Crane Fest Quest, taking place from Oct. 8-14, during National Wildlife Refuge Week. This event is a substitute for the usual Kid's Crane Fest at the Monte Vista Refuge which could not be planned this year due to scheduling conflicts.

Activity sheets can be downloaded from the "Events” section of the Friends of the SLV Wildlife Refuges website at or from their official Facebook page. The event offers a unique opportunity for children and adults alike to witness the majestic Sandhill Cranes in their natural habitat during their fall migration.

Participants are invited to explore the Monte Vista Refuge Tour Loop, located 6.5 miles south of Monte Vista on Highway 15. To complete the quest, attendees are encouraged to stop at the numbered signs, observe the wildlife, and fill out the activity sheet for each station. The adventure begins at the yellow gate entrance to the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge tour loop.

Formed in 1999, the Friends of the SLV Wildlife Refuges is an independent nonprofit organization that has been instrumental in numerous initiatives to support and enhance the refuges. In collaboration with the Refuge staff, the Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce, Rio Grande County, and the City of Monte Vista, the Friends have played a pivotal role in planning and operating the annual Monte Vista Crane Festival. This event attracts thousands of visitors from around the globe.

The Friends' contributions include the establishment of the Meadow Lark Trail on the Monte Vista NWR, the Discovery Room at the Alamosa NWR, and many years of Kid’s Crane Festivals. Although the Fishing days have been halted due to fish disease and drought, the Friends continue to support the refuge with the annual Friends and Neighbors Picnic, updating the community on refuge happenings.

Notably, Friends members were key advocates for the establishment of the Baca NWR in 2005. In 2021, the Friends were awarded a $15,000 grant, which was utilized to enhance a critical parking area on the Monte Vista Refuge, install wildlife cameras, and set up an educational kiosk.

The fall migration serves as a preview of the spring migration, which can be witnessed during the Monte Vista Crane Festival. The upcoming festival is scheduled for March 8-10, 2024.

For more information about the Kids Crane Fest Quest or the Monte Vista Crane Festival, visit or follow the Friends of the SLV Wildlife Refuges on Facebook.