45 must-visit attractions in and around Colorado Springs

By: The Gazette
October 10, 2015 Updated: January 16, 2016 at 9:47 am
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The main attraction of the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center is the view of the park which can be seen from the south to the north while on and observation deck. Leann Overby of Louisiana uses a telescope to see the park up close and detailed. The Gazette, Bryan Oller photo taken on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2002

The Colorado Springs area is far from boring. We have the Garden of the Gods, Red Rock Canyon Open Space, Manitou Incline and other must-visit attractions.

Here's a list that would make any day that much greater:

A

- Air Force Academy Visitor Center - Exit 156B off Interstate 25, North Gate; 333-2025, usafa.mil. Exhibits, theater, gift shop and nature trail to the Cadet Chapel.

- American Numismatic Association Money Museum - 818 N. Cascade Ave.; 632-2646, money.org. The history of money, educational exhibits, special events.

- Arcade Amusements Inc. - 900 block of Manitou Avenue, Manitou Springs; 685-9815, manitouspringspennyarcade.com. Video, pinball, classic antique games, Skee-Ball, horse derby, kiddie rides, stock car challenge.

B

- Bear Creek Nature Center - 245 Bear Creek Road; 520-6387, elpasoco.com. Hikes, interactive exhibits, hands-on items, interpretive programs, guided and self-guided tours.

C

- Cave of the Winds - 100 Cave of the Winds Road, Manitou Springs, off U.S. 24; 685-5444, caveofthewinds.com. Terror-dactyl aerial dive, zip line, cave tours, Wind Walker Challenge Course.

- Cheyenne Mountain Zoo - 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road; 633-9925, cmzoo.org. More than 950 different animals and about 180 species. See the animals, ride an antique carousel, eat a gourmet lunch at the Grizzly Grill, then ride the Mountaineer Sky Ride to the zoo's summit.

- Colorado Ballroom, Country Western and Line Dance Parties - 7-9:30 p.m. Saturdays, The Carriage Stop. 2700 Robinson St.; 598-8624, roncounts.com.

- Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center - 30 W. Dale St.; 634-5583, csfineartscenter.org. Docent-led gallery tours, free tactile gallery.

- Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum - 215 S. Tejon St.; 385-5990, cspm.org. History of the Pikes Peak region and local history archives.

D

- Dances - Live bands, big band, Latin, swing, polka, 7:30-11 p.m. Saturdays, International Dance Club, 2422 Busch Ave.; 633-0195, internationaldanceclub.org.

E

- El Pomar Penrose Heritage Museum - 15 Lake Ave.; 577-7065, thebroadmoorblog.com. Horse-drawn and motorized carriages including presidential carriages, race cars and other memorabilia. Free.

F

- Fallen Firefighter Memorial - Memorial Park, 1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave.; iaff.org. Walls inscribed with the names of union firefighters who died in the line of duty. The newest names are added each September.

- Fountain Creek Nature Center - 320 Peppergrass Lane, Fountain; 520-6745, elpasoco.com. Nature exhibits, interpretive programs, bird watching, guided and self- guided tours.

- Front Range Swing and Blues Dance - 7 p.m. Sundays, Movement Arts Community Studio, 525 E. Fountain Blvd., Suite 150, $5-$10; frontrangeswingandblues.com.

G

- Garden of the Gods Trading Post - 324 Beckers Lane; Manitou Springs, 685-9045, gardenofthegodstradingpost.com. Southwest art gallery, gift shop, cafe with historical photo gallery.

- Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center - 1805 N. 30th St.; 634-6666, gardenofgods.com. Nature programs, Junior Ranger program for kids, HD movie on history of the park, gift shop, cafe.

- Ghost Town Museum - 400 S. 21st St.; 634-0696, ghosttownmuseum.com. Pieces of the past preserved in an Old West setting as it might have been.

- Glen Eyrie Castle - 3820 N. 30th St.; 634-0808, gleneyrie.org. Ministry of The Navigators. Tours daily of historic castle, Queen's Tea and Royal Tea, holiday madrigal.

M

- Manitou Cliff Dwellings - 10 Cliff Road, Manitou Springs, off U.S. 24; 685-5242, cliffdwellingsmuseum.com. Relocated Anasazi cliff dwellings.

- Manitou Springs Heritage Center -517 Manitou Ave.; 685-1454, manitouspringsheritagecenter.org. Manitou history exhibits and programs.

- Manitou Incline - 515 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs, visitcos.com. Cable car track on private property became a challenging, albeit illegal, trail for hikers and runners. It is now legal and public. One mile climbs 2,000 vertical feet. Rated difficult.

- May Natural History Museum - 710 Rock Creek Canyon Road; 576-0450, coloradospringsbugmuseum.com. Almost 8,000 unusual, rare, exotic, tropical insects, butterflies and bugs.

- McAllister House Museum - 423 N. Cascade Ave.; 635-7925, mcallisterhouse.org. English-style cottage built in 1873 was the home of the Henry McAllister family. Major McAllister was influential in the founding of Colorado Springs.

- Michael Garman Museum and Magic Town - 2418 W. Colorado Ave.; 471-9391, michaelgarman.com. Sculptures include cowboys, firefighters, soldiers and aviators. Tours, reservations required.

- Miramont Castle Museum - 9 Capitol Hill Ave., Manitou Springs; 685-1011, miramontcastle.org. A look at how life might have been in early Manitou Springs including the volunteer fire department's Hose, Hook and Ladder Company, a tea room and military exhibit. Tours and special events.

N

- National Museum of World War II Aviation - 755 Aviation Way; 637-7559, worldwariiaviation.org. Working museum with multiple aircraft being restored. Tours by docents.

O

- Old Colorado City Historical Society and History Center - 1 S. 24th St.; 636-1225, occhs.org. Walking tours by reservation, research library, bookstore, special events.

- Olympic Complex - One Olympic Plaza, 1750 E. Boulder St.; 866-4618, teamusa.org. Olympic Training Center, gift shop, Hall of Fame, tours $5, children under 10 free, senior, group and military discounts.

- Peterson Air and Space Museum - 150 E. Ent Ave., Peterson AFB; 556-4915, petemuseum.org. The aviation and space history of this region. Aircraft, missiles, Cold War exhibits, satellites, World War II displays.

P

- Pikes Peak Cog Railway - 515 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs; 685-5401, cograilway.com. The Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway trains travel to the summit of 14,115-foot Pikes Peak multiple times daily, weather permitting.

- Pikes Peak Highway - U.S. 24 west to Cascade; 385-7325, coloradosprings.gov. Paved toll road to the 14,115-foot summit. Open year-round, weather permitting.

- Pikes Peak Historical Street Railway Foundation Museum and Colorado Springs and Interurban Railway - 2333 Steel Drive; 475-9508, coloradospringstrolleys.com. Tours, trolley rides, museum tours, gift shop.

- Prairie Dog and Friends Sunset Tour - 7-9 p.m., history, geology and a sunset hike, Garden of the Gods Park, 1805 N. 30th St.; 505-2151, gardenofgods.com

- ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy - 101 Pro Rodeo Drive; 528-4764, prorodeohalloffame.com. Historical cowboy gear and clothing, rodeo Hall of Champions, memorabilia, sculpture garden, Western art and retired rodeo animals.

R

- Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site - 3105 Gateway Road, (across from Garden of the Gods Visitors Center, left on gated dirt road); 578-6777, rockledgeranch.com. Living history museum of the Pikes Peak Region. Costumed interpreters.

- Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center - 201 S. Fairview St., Woodland Park; 686-1820, rmdrc.com. Dinosaur and other prehistoric fossils, educational programs, tours.

- Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame - 5867 N. Nevada Ave.; 487-8005, themotorcyclemuseum.com. Collection of motorcycles dating from 1915. Motorcycle memorabilia.

- Royal Gorge Bridge and Park - 4218 County Road 3A, Cañon City; royalgorgebridge.com. One of the world's highest suspension bridges. Skycoaster, zip line and more.

S

- Serenity Springs Wildlife Center - 24615 Scott Road, Calhan; 347-9200, serenityspringswildlife.org. Tours available most weekends, call for reservations. Big cats and exotic animals.

- Sertich Ice Center - Memorial Park, 1705 E. Pikes Peak Ave.; 385-5983, coloradosprings.gov. Public skating sessions, sled hockey.

- Seven Falls - 2850 S. Cheyenne Cañon Road. Seven cascading waterfalls, a mining-themed restaurant and zip-line courses; sevenfalls.com.

- The Simpich Showcase - 2413 W. Colorado Ave.; 465-2492, simpich.com. Simpich Character Doll figures displayed in more than 50 diorama settings. Theatre productions.

- Space Foundation Discovery Center - 4425 Arrowswest Drive; 576-8000, spacefoundation.org. Educational center developing and promoting an understanding of space. Classes, special events, teacher training.

- Starsmore Discovery Center - 2120 S. Cheyenne Cañon Road; 385-6086, coloradosprings.gov. Self-guided hikes, children's programs, nature programs.

V

- Venetucci Farm - 5210 U.S. 85; 391-8102, ppcf.org. Historic family farm now maintained by Pikes Peak Community Foundation. Farmers market, urban homesteading, community supported agriculture, pumpkin patch tradition.

W

- Western Museum of Mining and Industry - 225 North Gate Blvd., I-25 Exit 156-A; 488-0880, wmmi.org. The history of Western mining, mining equipment and demonstrations, guided tours.

- World Figure Skating Hall of Fame and Museum - 20 First St.; 635-5200, worldskatingmuseum.org. Honoring the greatest in figure skating. "Ice Follies" and "Olympic Gold" exhibits.

Compiled by CARLOTTA OLSON, THE GAZETTE, 636-0221, CARLOTTA.OLSON@gazette.com

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