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Colorado Springs park vies for America's 'best free attraction'

August 6, 2016 Updated: August 7, 2016 at 3:54 pm
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A dusting of snow lies on the rocks in Garden of the Gods Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, after the first snowstorm on the season hit the Colorado Springs, Colo., area Thursday night. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Free is best. But what's the country's best free attraction?

You can help decide by voting in USA Today Travel Media Group's survey, which includes a Colorado Springs park among its 20 nominees selected by travel experts.

As of Saturday evening, Garden of the Gods Park on the city's west side tallied the second-most votes among the no-charge attractions, with the Saint Louis Zoo leading the way.

Rounding out the top five vote-getters were: the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas; the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C.; and Balboa Park in San Diego.

Head here to see the full list of attractions and cast your vote: 10best.com/awards/travel/best-free-attraction. The survey closes Aug. 29.

Locals and tourists flock to Garden of the Gods and its paved and unpaved trails winding around majestic, towering sandstone formations. They take postcard-style photos of the Kissing Camels with Pikes Peak in the background and pose "lifting" Balanced Rock.

The park was designated a national natural landmark in 1971, 62 years after the family of Charles Elliott Perkins donated the land to the city of Colorado Springs on the condition it remain forever a free public park.

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