The Garden of the Gods is a public park and United States National Natural Landmark that was deemed a "fit place for the gods to assemble" by Rufus Cable, one of the two surveyors tasked with identifying a site for Colorado City in 1859. With its towering spires of red sandstone pitted against the incongruous greenery of its surrounds, Cable's inspired choice of name is an apt summary of the wonders that it contains. The jagged pinnacles, mammoth needles, and precariously balanced rocks strewn across the landscape are glorious monuments thrust upward, sideways and slanted by tectonic undercurrents, subsequently whipped by the wind into curious shapes. From the biological perspective, the Garden of the Gods is a remarkable merger of the vegetation typical of both highlands and lowlands creating a kind of chronicle of the evolution of planet earth. The land was bequeathed to the City of Colorado Springs by the children of Charles Elliott Perkins who originally owned this parcel of land. The only stipulation was that it must remain “free to the entire world.” Riddled with nature trails and hiking paths, the Garden of the Gods is a popular spot for outdoor activities like horseback riding, rock climbing and hiking that is always free, in keeping with Perkins' wishes.
Anyone with an interest in mechanical things that leave the ground will enjoy this museum. It is located in the original art deco-styled Colorado Springs Passenger Terminal Building. With its military setting, it looks exactly like one of those buildings used in 1950s sci-fi movies when horrible, giant ants terrorized man. The focus of the museum is on early aviation history, with an emphasis on World War II. Since it is inside Peterson Air Force base, you will need identification to enter and access is restricted. Entry to the museum is free.
Towering 14,110 feet (4,300 meters) above Colorado Springs, this mountain serves as one of the nation's most famous landmarks. Believed to be the sacred home of the Ute people, this summit vaults wondrously above mosaicked landscapes, and can be seen at its majestic best from the Garden of the Gods balcony. The Barr Trail, a 13-mile (20.9-kilometer) path meanders itself along precarious slopes, providing an arduous yet rewarding way to reach the summit. The Pike's Peak Cog Railway, and the Pikes Peak Highway, alternate paths that lead to the summit, wind through stands of pine and aspen before cresting above treeline. A soul-stirring experience for many, Pike's Peak is best known for having inspired Katherine Lee Bates to pen the utterly patriotic America the Beautiful.
Spend a day at America's only mountainside zoo. The zoo features endangered species in mountain exhibits that resemble their natural habitat. You can walk the hilly terrain or catch the tram at one of seven stops. Hands-on contact with animals is permitted in front of the Aquatics building - giraffes will literally eat from your hand, and zoo crackers can be purchased at the entrance. Mountain weather changes rapidly, so bring a light jacket.
This scenic pine filled campus with a Rocky Mountain backdrop is home to America's future Air Force officers. Enter Colorado's third most popular attraction at the North Gate for a glimpse of a B-52 bomber. Travel six miles to the visitor center, chock-full of exhibits, short films and a gift shop. Tour the stunning Cadet Chapel with 17 magnificent spires reaching 150 feet into the sky. Or check out Falcon Stadium where the Air Force Falcons Football team plays, and keep an eye above where the skies are colored with cadets practicing parachuting and flying Thunderbird jets.
This intimate theater can house up to 550 people, all with perfect views of the stage. The theater is home to a diverse range of musical and theatrical performances, encompassing everything from stand-up comedy to bluegrass and jazz performances. The theater is also a perfect venue for large private and corporate events; call for more details.
Kimball's Twin Peak Theater screens independent and foreign films for your viewing pleasure. Of course, there are also commercial films that are screened once in a while. A unique feature about this place is that they have a wine bar, which offers Bristol beers and 12 kinds of wines by the glass. You can also pick up a panini sandwich and espresso drink to keep you full. For film times, ticket prices and further information, please call or see their website.
The fact that this popular brewery and restaurant sells its own T-shirts at the front entrance is a strong sign that this place is extremely popular. The menu is mostly American cuisine with global influences, featuring everything from burgers to fish and chips to baked ziti. The interior is dominated by hardwood flooring and a wall of windows. Outdoor seating, though limited, is very popular during the warm months. Above the dining area is a huge billiards room. The crowds tend to be of the 30-something kind.
This 2000-seat center is a veritable shrine to the creative mind. The Colorado Springs Chorale, the Colorado Springs Dance Theatre, and the Colorado Springs Symphony all call it home. Every seat offers a good view of the stage, making it one the more intimate performance halls in the state. In addition, the center also stages rock concerts featuring some of the biggest names in music, Broadway musical plays, a lecture series and occasionally presents art exhibits.
The Olympic Visitor Center offers free guided tours which include the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, interactive displays and an endless collection of Olympic photos. Be sure to check out the Olympic flame and pretend that you were the torch bearer who ignited it. If you're in search of a Team USA souvenir, visit the well stocked gift shop that shelves hard to find Olympic T-shirts, jackets and caps. And while wandering about, keep an eye open for the many well-known athletes who train here. Admission is free.
This 193-acre park offers more recreation and entertainment options than most cruise ships. Besides the usual park offerings of tennis courts, ball fields, jogging paths and picnic shelters, it also offers swimming, fishing and sailing on Prospect Lake, as well as year round ice skating and hockey in the Sertich Ice Center. The park also plays host to the Colorado Balloon Classic and the annual 4th of July Celebration. Picnic shelters can be reserved in advance for family picnics and such.