A friend of mine recently reminded me of the Swetsville Zoo in Northern Colorado. I remember being in elementary school with my brown paper lunch bag, mouth open, walking around in awe of this local roadside attraction. I recall walking under dinosaurs, looking at strange otherworldly creatures, and laughing at the faces of familiar animals. Unlike most zoos the Swetsville Zoo is composed of animals, dinosaurs and other imaginative creatures compiled from pieces of scrap metal. This immense collection can truly inspire people of all ages. It shows what can happen when imagination and dedication come together.
According to a list available at the entrance there are 143 various sculptures around the zoo. Each piece listed has a number, title and brief description as to what the art piece is. Some have tidbits about the length of time the individual project took to create, or how much the finished sculpture weighs.
Bill Swet, the owner of Swetsville Zoo began his building of scrap metal creatures in 1985. His sculptures started gaining attention and he continued to build them and display them for the public. The zoo is free of charge, but he does ask for donations, which after enjoying a couple of hours there, would be no hesitation. I had a chance to talk to Mr. Swet very briefly on my visit there, he loves watching people appreciate his sculptures and enjoy their time spent in the zoo. As for continuing to add on to the collection he mentioned that it has been years since he really added anything, but that doesn’t mean there will not be more to come later. Going back to fixing a tractor after our brief conversation, I walked away knowing that he was a simple man who loves life.
Bill Swet’s Zoo is truly inspiring. It is incredible to see what one man can create and what joy can come from those creations. For anybody in the Northern Colorado area I would highly recommend taking an hour or two on a weekend to go be a kid again and enjoy this amazing zoo. A great time is sure to come when walking around, under and through these fantastic creations!