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.
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.
If you lack the time to wander into the mountains for a hike, this city park provides a quick and surprisingly bucolic alternative. Hiking, biking and horseback riding trails fan throughout the park's foliage-thick hills and bluffs. Some portions of the trails yield little hint that downtown is just minutes away. In addition, there are plenty of baseball, softball and soccer fields, as well as volleyball courts. Picnic shelters and restrooms make it conducive for summer gatherings.
City founder, General William Jackson Palmer, donated this park in 1871 giving it the dubious distinction of being Colorado Spring's first park. Located downtown, it provides a nice lunch respite for brown-bagging business people. A large band shell has live musical entertainment during the summer, and on Monday's the park hosts the ever-popular Farmers Market. Recreational options abound including horseshoe pits, shuffleboard courts and playgrounds for kids. Rest rooms and public telephones are numerous.
Founded in 1871, the First United Methodist Church is the city's largest and most active church. The main focus is on practicing and following the teachings of Jesus Christ. The church is available for weddings, for both members as well as non-members. There are regular choir recitals and concerts like the Chancel Choir Spring Concert taking place in the church and also classes for learning the spiritual path of life and the teachings of Jesus, for adults as well as youth. Sunday classes are specially conducted for children.
Whether you are seeking an outlet from the drudgery of heavy business meetings, or are in the mood for something "different," this novel entertainment offering will, if anything, crease your face with a smile. Organists perform on the City Auditorium ancient Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Pipe Organ to the accompaniment of clips from classic silent films; it is classic entertainment in its most classic form. Bring your lunch, or grab a bite in the City Auditorium Cafe. Admission is free.
The fact that one must ring a doorbell and wait for a guide to answer the front door aptly underscores the quaintness of this museum. Built in 1873, this little cottage of history offers a rare peep at life during the Victorian era. Its rooms are meticulously filled with ornate chairs, high-back sofas, rose-colored drapery and "wow-look-at-that" marble fireplaces. There is even a children's room filled with small furniture and antique dolls which have those creepy, staring looks.
Crafted with beautiful and captivating ancient Romanesque architecture and designed by Henry Rutgers Marshall, the First Congregational Church of Colorado is immensely artistic and at the same time immersed in history. As the name rightly suggests, the church was built by the Congregationalists who'd entered England back in the 1600's and played a very important role in establishing some of the most famous educational institutions of those times, including Harvard and Yale. Today, the church is well known in Colorado for everything from holding musical extravaganzas to memorial services.
Housed in the Plaza of the Rockies building, the Gallery of Contemporary Art, also known as GOCA 121, is an extension of the University of Colorado’s art facility. The spacious and elegant gallery plays host to shows by upcoming as well as famed artists. Showcasing both, local and international talent, the gallery not only organizes art exhibits, but also lectures and other programs. To know more about the ongoing and upcoming shows, check out their Facebook page.