It’s time to get back. Back to childhood memories, back to stress-free days, back to living life. Colorado Springs, CO is the ultimate destination to get back to all of those things. You’ll be refreshed by the mountain air, blue skies and an array of activities to enjoy. Ascend Pikes Peak-America’s Mountain to experience the same inspiration as Katharine Lee Bates’ just before she penned the words to America the Beautiful. Whether you go by car, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway or hike Barr Trail, the splendor you’ll experience is unforgettable.
Remember how exciting it was to take a trip to the zoo as a kid? At an elevation of 6,800 ft, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is sure to bring smiles. America’s only mountainside zoo has a newly designed Encounter Africa exhibit where you can view lions, elephants and rhinos enjoying their new multi-million dollar habitats. Make sure to feed the largest reticulated giraffe herd in captivity from an elevated platform (just watch out for those long tongues!). See over 800 animals of every variety throughout 146 picturesque acres and stop for a bite to eat on the outdoor patios while watching the free-roaming peacocks strut their stuff.
If you’ve always wanted a pony, now’s your chance. Saddle up with Academy Riding Stables and take a leisurely horseback ride through the beautiful Garden of the Gods Park. Absorb the breathtaking scenery of foliage and red rocks as your authentic cowboy (or girl) guide shares the history of this magnificent region. Meander the park’s trails and see this gem in a unique and memorable fashion. Perhaps you want to relive those days of Donkey Kong, Skee-ball and Pinball. Head over to nearby Manitou Springs and check out the world famous Penny Arcade. With one of the best collections of antique to current video games, coin-operated rides and more, the Penny Arcade is the perfect place to step back in time. Maybe you’ll remember where that stuffed animal went with those thousands of tickets you won. When you’re finished entering your initials for that high score, take your pick of one of the many outstanding restaurants available in town and reminisce about the glory days.
Stress-free fun is easily found while learning about the region at historic stops. Selected by Mobile Travel Guide and Family Circle Magazine as one of the “fifty-five special attractions of America,” the Ghost Town Museum is a must-see. Explore the buildings down the boardwalk, each filled with thousands of interesting artifacts. Experience several hands-on activities like panning for real gold or playing old-time games. The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum located in the heart of downtown is another way to understand how this Rocky Mountain town came to be. Aviation fans will love delving into the numerous artifacts and airplanes on display at the National Museum of World War II Aviation. Peek into the past as you view the hundreds of items on display – from newspapers to a hangar full of combat airplanes. The museum is the only of its kind in the world to focus exclusively on the unique story of the role of aviation in World War II. The tour concludes with a visit into WestPac Restorations. One of the foremost restoration companies for WWII aircraft. Visitors can see WestPac’s collection of war birds as well as see restoration in progress.
They say laughter is the best medicine, so enjoy a fun-filled meal and performance at the nearby Iron Springs Chateau. Providing the region with a night of hilarious comedy and quality entertainment, the evening begins with a three-course meal. When finished, head upstairs to be thoroughly captivated by the audience-participation melodrama followed by a vaudeville-style olio that will be sure to create lasting memories. Other great venues offering family-friendly entertainment include the Fine Arts Center, World Arena and Millibo Art Theatre.
Revel in the wonders of the Colorado Springs region underground as you explore Cave of the Winds. With two tours available, examine the fascinating formations that nature has produced over the centuries. This local attraction has been amazing visitors for more than a century. Join the “milder” tour, walking through nearly a mile of caverns, or for the more adventurous, take the “wilder” tour where your path is lit only with the lanterns you carry. Either way, you’ll leave with a new-found appreciation for Mother Nature. Take the short trip to Cripple Creek and descend 1,000 feet underground at the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine to see how hard rock gold miners had it in “the World’s greatest gold camp.” Keep an eye out for the resident wild donkey herd.
If you’d rather view Mother Nature’s splendor above ground, take a ride on the scenic Royal Gorge Route Railroad. Enjoy lunch or dinner in either the observation dome or the classic dining car. Head out to see unobstructed views from the open-air car. For a special treat, climb aboard one of the annual event trains. From murder mysteries and Oktoberfest to the Santa Express train, you’ll be sure to ride the rails in style.
If you want to let someone else jump in the driver’s seat, check out Adventures Out West. Perfect for group tours, they provide several 4×4 jeep tours including Garden of the Gods and the foothills, the luxurious Broadmoor area or a high-country tour on the back roads above the city. Get a different perspective by having your group soar above the ground in a hot air balloon or ziplining.
Now’s the time to get back to experiencing life the way it was meant to be. From riding a horse to riding the rails, Colorado Springs offers many ways to get back to those carefree days we too often push aside. This gorgeous Colorado city is the state’s second largest and easy to get to via Interstate 25. To find out more about the area and begin planning your unforgettable journey back to the good ‘ole days, go to VisitCOS.com.