As students of Pikes Peak region schools begin their summer vacation, the City of Colorado Springs invites them to take part in its sesquicentennial anniversary through the 150th Adventure Passport Program.
This free program, which runs through July 31, encourages young residents to visit a total of six sites, including parks, museum exhibits and historic sites, to learn about the city’s history. For every site visited, passport holders collect a stamp.
According to Pioneers Museum Program Coordinator Meg Poole, Colorado Springs became a city on July 31, 1871 which makes 2021 the city’s 150th year. In 1871, the Colorado Springs Company laid out the towns of La Font, later named Manitou Springs, and Fountain Colony, renamed Colorado Springs, upstream and downstream of Colorado City.
Through Adventure Passport Program, the City of Colorado Springs hopes to engage local families in the sesquicentennial celebration by encouraging them to explore city sites they may have never been to before, and offer fun and education experiences throughout the summer.
Passport sites include Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, Evergreen Cemetery, Garden of the Gods Park, North Cheyenne Cañon Park and Rock Ledge Ranch.
Although designed for second through fifth-graders, the program encourages all ages to participate. “Each location includes activities that provide lessons about what makes that site significant in our city’s history,” said Poole, who serves on the Sesquicentennial Education Committee.
On June 12, a Beards, Bonnets and Brews Festival will be held from noon — 8 p.m. at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site. This family-friendly event mixes history with modern entertainmen and offers a smorgasbord of activity for all ages.
A Then and Now Photo Exhibit will be held at Library 21c on July 8, followed by a Sesquicentennial Gala on July 17 and a 150 Downtown Celebration on July 31. More information will be provided at a later date.
The Adventure Passports are offered in both English and Spanish, and are available for pick up from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the CSPM front desk or the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center. The passport acts as a guide to important local historic and natural sites, and offers fun and educational activities designed to inspire families to get out and explore together.
To date, families have scooped up more than 1,000 passports, Poole said. Once the passports are completed, kids can take them back to those locations and receive a coupon for one free kiddie scoop at any Josh & John’s Ice Cream location. “Participants can exchange one completed passport for one coupon,” Poole said. Coupons expire at the end of the year.
Families also can get passports from their local libraries through Pikes Peak Library District’s Summer Adventure program. Passports will be available throughout the summer on a first come, first served basis while supplies lasts.
The Colorado Springs Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services is sponsoring the program.