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.
After a day at the The Broadmoor, take a scenic 1.4-mile drive up the narrow mountain road for a self-guided tour of this popular shrine. Built in the 1930s in honor of the American actor, writer and humorist Will Rogers, the shrine is full of historic information and colorful artwork painted on the walls, taking you back in time. Climb several winding flights of stairs to the top floor of the shrine, located at an elevation of 8136 feet, for a breathtaking view of the city and the surrounding mountains. Admission is included with zoo ticket purchase.
The American Numismatic Association Money Museum is a great place to learn about the making and history of money. You'll see both ancient and modern forms of currency along with equipment that was used to manufacture it. Kids can learn and have fun participating in organized activities and free classes at the museum. The main exhibit changes every year, so check the website or call to see what's currently on display.
Often dwarfed by the US Air Force Academy, this private college has been a part of Colorado Springs since 1874. The campus sports a classic college setting, accented by a Rocky Mountains backdrop. Cutler Hall, the school's original building, still stands as the landmark structure of the campus, and Bemis Hall resembles something from the Swiss Alps and will make you wish your school had offered such dorms. The hockey program enjoys a huge local following and ranks as one of the top collegiate teams in the nation.
The Frederick H. Cossitt Memorial Hall is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is also known as Cossitt Hall and was designed by Maurice B. Biscoe. It was built in 1914 and is part of the Colorado College. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 28, 1997.
Named after Kathryn Lee Bates' poem, the park is a sprawling property with trails, manicured lawns, 40-foot tall obelisks and other installations. America the Beautiful Park overlooks Pikes Peak and at night the obelisks glow. The park is also popular for those interested in UFO sightings. Scores of visitors come with transmitters, trying to contact the other world; it's like a party out there. Opens everyday at 5a.
Julie Penrose Fountain is the priced jewel of America The Beautiful Park situated in the heart of Colorado Springs. Designed by David Barber and Bill Burgess, this wonderful fountain was dedicated to Julie Penrose, a philanthropist who lived in Colorado Springs between 1900 to 1956. This architectural marvel weighs over 24 tons (22.0462 tonnes) and is one of the most beautiful sculptural fountains in the state. Julie Penrose Fountain made using steel plates is a huge open loop with as many as 366 water pipes fitted inside. Its capability to rotate is one of its distinct feature that makes Julie Penrose Fountain unique and a popular tourist spot.
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.