Day 1 You'll See:
- US Olympic Training Complex
- Garden of the Gods Visitor Center and Trading Post
- Cave of the Winds
- Arcade Amusements Penny Arcade
Day 2 You’ll See:
- Pikes Peak Cog Railway
- Old Colorado City
- Western Museum of Mining and Industry
- Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
- Seven Falls
Day 3 You’ll See:
Day 4 You’ll See:
- Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
- Art on the Streets
- National Museum of WWII Aviation
- US Air Force Academy
Day 5 You’ll See:
- Cripple Creek
- Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad
- Cripple Creek District Museum
- Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine
- Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
- Mueller State Park
US Olympic Training Complex - Founded in 1894, the US Olympic Training Complex is the top location athletes go to be trained, entered, and funded into the US Olympic teams. This complex develops custom, creative, and impactful education programs and performance amenities as well, providing everything these Olympic trainers need! A tour of this 8 million dollar, the 35-acre flagship training center will allow your group to see the swimming and shooting headquarters of the nation, as well as over 15 member organizations and 2 international sports federations. The beginning of your tour involves a short intro video, followed by an hour walking journey through the sports venues and support facilities for fencing, gymnastics, judo, pentathlon, shooting, swimming, weightlifting, wrestling, and taekwondo. This state of the art medical and sports center also features a dining hall and several residence halls. Your group will be astounded by the extensive housing, dining, training, and recreation opportunities inside, serving over 500 athletes and coaches at one time. Join the over 130,000 visitors per year that take part in the 15 busy tours per day at this impressive and very popular Colorado Springs attraction, the US Olympic Training Complex!
Garden of the Gods Visitor Center and Trading Post -Welcome to the Garden of the Gods, a place as wonderful as its name! This 1,340-acre park features some of the most beautiful red sandstone formations that have been formed from over 300 million years of erosion. The Visitor Center is a living history adventure that takes you back through Indian grounds, railroad development, and the beginning of the park itself. Your group will see many exhibits in this world-class museum with cutting edge technology and a complex look at the geology, ecology, and cultural history of this park. You can also see iconic perspectives of Pikes Peak and the surrounding foothills for the Cafe Terrace. Next stop, the Garden of the Gods Trading Post, located in the Southwest edge of the park. This is one of the world's’ largest trading posts and also Colorado’s largest art gallery and gift store. Within this post, you will find over 25,000 gifts and souvenirs, as well as several galleries featuring local and national artists. Within the complex, you will find contemporary jewelry, paintings, pueblo pottery, and Navajo rugs. There is definitely something for everybody at these locations, and the views are practically unbeatable, after all they are fit for the gods!
Cave of the Winds - Cave of the Winds - Discovered in 1881, the Cave of the Winds is one of our nation’s premier show caves, a unique cavern experience atop a mountain!! Sitting at 7,000 feet, atop Williams Canyon, this cave provides your group with the perfect Colorado experience, giving you the wonders of the underground with the majesty of being on top of a mountain, all at the same time! Your group can choose from a couple of different tours, each one allowing you to investigate cave formations, journey back in time, and get an unforgettable history and geology lesson. After a tour, your group will have a chance to explore and soar through the rest of Williams Canyon, with rides such as Terror-dactyl and Bat-a-pult. The first mentioned ride is the only of its kind, taking you 200 ft into the canyon at 100 mph. The latter is a more family-friendly 40 mph round trip through 12,000 ft of the canyon. You can also take a Wind Walker Challenge course if you are feeling risky, full of steel beams, swinging ropes, and dizzying ladders. Take some time to overlook the 700-foot gorge that gives great views of Pikes Peak at the visitor center or gift shop before you go!
Arcade Amusements Penny Arcade - More commonly known as the Manitou Springs Penny Arcade, this Arcade Amusements Arcade is a local treasure that has one of the best collections of antique to current video games, pinball, skeeball, and coin rides in the whole nation. This arcade is actually a collection of a handful of different, older storefronts, half open-air half enclosed. These multiple buildings hold around 200 games, making this a cultural and entertainment hot spot for locals, visitors, and kids and adults alike! Your group will see everything from classic Donkey Kong arcade games to antique Star Wars Pinball machines and present-day Top Speed car races. One of the top attractions within this arcade is the skeeball rooms, the machines ranging from the 1940s made to present, attracting thousands of visitors to the main building annually! You can literally enjoy hours of fun for under a dollar! If you get here on a Monday you can head down the street for a free concert in the pavilion, or just hang around the iconic outside and munch on some cotton candy from the arcade!
Pikes Peak Cog Railway - Have you ever wondered where the inspiration for our patriotic preamble ‘America the Beautiful’ came from? Well, look no further than the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, the world’s highest cog train that has inspired many a soul with its invigorating grandeur and astounding panoramas. Sitting at an astonishing 14,115 feet high, this attraction sees thousands of visitors yearly that travel to the 3 hours up to the summit of Pikes Peak, tenderly known as America’s Mountain. The cog railway is different than others because it uses gears rather than rails to allow a steeper grade climb, this particular train able to travel up to a 48% grade. On a railway ride, your group will receive a guided tour in comfort and style, full of educational tidbits about the history and geography of the area you will see on your 8.9-mile trek. You will see the natural landscape from spruce and pine to sagebrush and scrub oak, and everything in between such as boulder fields, wildflowers, grassland, mosses, and the 2000-year-old grove of bristlecone pines. Be sure to pack a jacket for this trip, for every 1000 feet you rise the temperature will drop around 3.5 degrees, making it a crisp 30 degrees colder at the top!
Old Colorado City - Get ready for some serious classic Colorado retail therapy in Old Colorado City. This historic shopping district was founded in 1859 and features 8 acres of shopping and eating fun! With over 100 fine and locally unique galleries, shops, boutiques, restaurants, and attractions within this city square in Bancroft Park, it is almost guaranteed that everybody in your group will find something they like! While here your group can explore the tree-lined streets featuring turn of the century architecture and rich Colorado gold rush history. The best part is, you’ll get all of this with that perfect Pikes Peak picture in the backdrop! There are several holiday events and other various annual festivals, like the current Fallavenuing (defined as ‘the art of Old Colorado City shopping during fall’) and largest craft vendor fair, Territory Days. If you are here on a Friday you can take part in the weekly visual art walk, or maybe the Saturday Farmers Market. Make sure your group saves time to stop by a couple Old City favorites, such as Simpich Showcase, All about Colorado, Squash Blossom, or Garden of the Gods Gourmet Cafe! There’s no way any member of your group will walk away empty-handed, or empty stomached!
Western Museum of Mining and Industry - Founded in 1970 after a generous donation of mining artifacts from Mr. and Mrs. Farrar, local mining legends, the Western Museum of Mining and Industry is now considered the ‘best of the springs’ as well as the ‘best cultural spot’ in central Colorado. This museum aims to ‘preserve and interpret the rich mining history of Colorado and the American West’ and does so nicely with over 4,000 on-site artifacts. This 27-acre complex hosts both indoor and outdoor exhibits that discuss how miners drilled, blasted, mucked, and hauled ore on these grounds to and from the Ore Mill. The whole museum serves an exciting and exceptional tool for learning about Colorado history, mining and industrial technology, geology, and environmental science, the perfect mix of regional information for your group! The location features a Ten Stamp Ore Mill with a multipurpose center, theater, and 5,000 volume research library. Experience gold panning, explore rocks, and dress like a miner as you visit the various sections of the museum, a fan favorite being the Mine Reclamation exhibit. Stop by the gift shop before you go to pick up your favorite history buff a souvenir or mining artifact!
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo - Welcome to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, America’s only unique and exciting zoo situated on a mountainside! Located just southwest of downtown Colorado Springs, this zoo sits on 140 acres (only 40 are in use) and will submerge your group into culture and habitat while inspiring new respect for wildlife preservation. Enjoy exploring the many different hands-on education opportunities and ‘never to be forgotten’ experiences. The zoo holds over 750 animals that represent 150 species, 30 of them being endangered. While here your group can choose from several different zoo exploration tours based on popular topics in the zoo that allow you to get up close and hands-on! Right now you can take fun pre-planned tours like the Animals in Autumn and Spooktacular Safari. If you’d rather just enjoy the landscape and stroll around the exhibits yourself, be sure to stop by the African Rift Valley to see the new African cub lions Aslan and Elsa, born in June of this year! When you’ve looked at everything your heart desires take it easy with an open-air chairlift Mountain Skyride, the 1937 historical carousel, the jam-packed with fun gift shop, or the famous Grizzly Grill for some well deserved and delicious sustenance!
Seven Falls - This next stop is a true treat, located on ‘the grandest mile of scenery in Colorado’. Seven Falls will show your group superb scenic falls, grandiose geological monuments, and even a hair-raising historic gravesite! When you are making your journey to this area you will see behind you hundreds of miles of Eastern prairies, and ahead of you the streams and valleys of the Western foothills. Here on the South Cheyenne Canyon, every direction you look is filled with dramatic landscape. The crystal clear water from the Pike’s Peak watershed rushes into the steep-walled box canyon here, making a scene so beautiful you’ll never forget it! Your group will see the Pillars of Hercules, the 900-foot pink granite stone formations that are a mere 41 feet apart. A little further and you’ll come across the main attraction, the waterfall! This is the only waterfall in all of Colorado to make National Geographic's list of International Falls! Starting 181 feet in the air the water takes a journey ‘dancing from granite face to granite face in 7 distinct leaps’, creating a gorgeous vista for your group. After you’ve had all your fun head over the gift shop or popular Restaurant 1858 for some hot dinner or lunch!
May Natural History Museum - Afraid of creepy crawlies? Well then prepare for an interesting couple of hours as you explore the ‘world’s largest private insect collection’ at the May Natural History Museum. This ‘bug museum’ has over 7,000 species of rare giant insects, related creatures, and rare artifacts. Bug enthusiasts, scientists, and creepy crawly explorers will delight in the chance to observe the many different insects. Inside you will see freakish 17-inch long walking sticks, wicked and long centipedes, prehistoric-looking beetles, neon-bright butterflies, and deadly worms and stinging scorpions. The bugs are held in simple century-old wooden cases, lit by antique lamps set against a white backdrop wall, putting all the focus on the bugs themselves. This museum even holds the largest collection of tropical bugs and giant spiders (don’t worry, they’re all dead!). Be sure to bring a camera to pose by the roadside giant beetle, explore the bug-infested gift shop, and pack a brunch to picnic outside and enjoy the view. The museum is located at the beautiful base of the Rocky mountains in Rock Creek canyon, a beautiful 1950’s Americana pocket of gold that serves as the most gorgeous scenery for your visit!
Space Foundation Discovery Center - Created in 1983, the Discovery Center within the Colorado Springs Space Foundation is the perfect place to lose yourself for a day amid immersive space facts, activities, and exhibits. The Discovery Center within the Space Foundation complex works to advance space-related endeavors and to inspire, enable, and propel humanity toward the future. There are several different sections of the Discovery Center that your group can explore at leisure, including the El Pomar Space Gallery, Northrop Grumman Science Center, Science on a Sphere, and the Lockheed Martin Space Education Center. The Grumman Science Center is a visitor favorite, bringing the universe to life with its award-winning Science on a Sphere. Commonly called the SOS, this state of the art scientific exhibit shows satellite views that explain geography, weather, oceanography, history, and natural or man-made phenomena that have an effect on our universe as a whole. The El Pomar Gallery shows space artifacts that cover the US and Soviet launch to the moon and feature common space items and tools such as space suits, zero-gravity food packets, and a real Soviet Union Robotic moon buggy. Be sure to stop by the Discovery Center Store before you go to pick up your space exploration and discovery souvenir!
Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum - Located in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs your group will find your first stop of the day, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. This museum is located within a restored 1903 El Paso County Courthouse, an elegant and historic structure surrounded by green lawns, colorful flowers, and artistic outdoor sculptures. This museum displays the history and culture of the Pike Peak region, featuring exhibits that emphasize the unique character of this uncommon Front Range community. Your group will see the permanent display, featuring a collection of artifacts and research that interpret the history and culture of this region. You will also find many different temporary displays, featuring things such as western art, antique quilts, the Plains and Pueblo culture, and space exploration. One of the biggest attractions that your group must check out is Eric Bransby mural, featuring prehistoric Colorado Springs to the building of the Air Force Academy. Don’t worry, there’s plenty to see, with over 60,000 objects inside ranging from Van Briggle art pottery, regional art, and national significant quilts. You can also explore the extensive Native American collection featuring the Ute, Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes. Your group will love this ‘look into the spirit, past, and present, of a city nestled at the foot of America’s most famous mountain!’
Art on the Streets - Now in its 17th year, established first in 1999, Art on the Streets is an annual art festival that turns the streets of downtown Colorado Springs into a year-long outdoor sculpture gallery. This event helps celebrate the power of art in public places, this one specifically in the downtown Colorado Certified Creative District. As local Lara Garritano says, public art like this ‘enhances the sense of place and allows us to see our surroundings in a new way’, which is exactly what this stop will do for your group. You will enjoy your stroll around this trail, this year featuring a giant mousetrap, bright red abstract bull, and oversized blades of grass, plus 10 other large-scale sculptures that you are sure to marvel at and enjoy. Out of 73 proposals, only 14 artists were chosen, 3 of them Colorado Springs locals. These artists receive a $1,000 stipend and have the chance to win $10,000 worth of juror awards. Make sure you take special note of the few pieces that are meant to be interactive and hands-on, really taking your outdoor art experience to the next level!
National Museum of WWII Aviation - Created in 2012, this state of the art research and information facility, the National Museum of WWII Aviation, provides visitors with a unique educational experience that promotes a deeper understanding of the historical importance of American aviation in WWII. It also discusses in depth the role in shaping the world in which we live that aviation had in it’s time. This museum is the only one in the world that focuses exclusively on WWII aviation, making it a very interesting and unique stop in Colorado Springs. Inside you will see exhibits, interactive displays, and docent-led tours that discuss such topics as: how a nation came together, bravery of pilots and how that changed history, the civilian and military winning partnership, boom in industrial production, introduction of women into force, and even the very designers and builders of the aircraft themselves. You can head over to the 65,000 square foot state of the art Westpac restoration facility to see the aircraft up close and personal, or head to the main 40,000 square foot museum gallery featuring everything from Pearl Harbor to Democracy. Before you go, get your very own model aircraft or information book at the WWII Aviation gift shop!
US Air Force Academy - Welcome to one of the top tourist attractions in Colorado Springs, the US Air Force Academy. Created in 1954, this complex serves as a military organization and university all in one, with the purpose of training the country’s future airmen. The grounds here are spectacular, as you will see as you enter the North Gate, the visitor gate and entrance into the academy. Be sure you bring along at least one form of government-issued ID, it will be necessary at the gate upon arrival. On the campus, you will quickly see the 10th Air Base Wing, which provides all public service amenities for the community of 25,000 staying here at any given time. Inside the Barry Goldwater Visitor Center, your group will find a wealth of information on the academy's history, as well as current cadet life. This impressive 36,000 square foot facility houses exhibits on such things as the 4 Pillars of Excellence, a fully stocked snack bar, and a patriotic gift shop, as well as access to a ⅓ mile nature trail leading to Cadet Chapel, the architecturally astounding complex your eyes, will surely spot in an instant. This stop is one educational and culturally relevant information journey that your group won’t easily forget!
Cripple Creek - Cripple Creek is ‘the world’s greatest gold camp’, established as a historic district that gives visitors a look into the past and an adventure in the present. The rich and colorful history comes alive with the several various museums and tours, and the surrounding Pike National Forest provides your group with a treasure trove full of outdoor recreation opportunities. Explore this region’s natural wonders as you take a trip off the beaten path with your choice of hiking, biking, rock climbing, wildlife watching, or birding, hunting, horseback riding, and water/snow sports. This town is a 100-year-old location that features a plethora of information about local flora and fauna, as well as the gold rush in Colorado. In Cripple Creek, you can visit state-of-the-art slot machines at the Casino, take part in fine shopping and dining, or enjoy live entertainment at the Butte Theatre. The visitor center was built in 2012, featuring exhibits on everything from railroad development to mountain men and tribal heritage. Your group can explore information on modern mining, procedures, historical photos, ore and core, and daily uses of minerals. You can even take a tour down 1,000 feet to an underground mine on location. There’s so much to do and learn here, your group will be pleasantly busy the whole visit!
Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad - Next your group will board 1976 established Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad, an all-time family favorite attraction within this historic city. On this railroad, you can journey back into gold rush history and also into the scenic heart of the Rocky Mountains. The steam locomotive itself was tenderly restored and will take you winding through 4 miles of the mining district, stopping at special points of interest as well as great photo opportunities along the way. On this ride, your group will see the historic 1894 station house, the reconstructed trestle crossing point, and a deserted mining town south of Cripple Creek. This attraction is sure to astound and entertain your group to the fullest, and you will all undoubtedly enjoy the scenic ride through this classic Colorado historic district known as Cripple Creek!
Cripple Creek District Museum - Cripple Creek offers your group a lot of activities as you’ve seen, and this next stop is no exception, featuring crucial and interesting educational/historical/cultural information. The Cripple Creek District Museum was built in 1953 in order to preserve the history of the city. This museum is comprised of 5 different historic buildings, including the 1893 Colorado Trading and Transfer Building and the 1895 Midland Terminal Railroad Depot. The exhibits inside cover railroad history, mining memorabilia, maps, paintings, glass and china, furnishings, a photo gallery, Indian art, and interactive mining displays. Your group will have the chance to take a tour of the two turn of the century cabins, one furnished exactly as a miner during the gold rush days would have it, and two Victorian apartments. You can even stop by one of many gift shops within the city here.
Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine - Welcome to another great Cripple Creek destination, the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine. This attraction is considered ‘America’s favorite gold mine’, and is also the world’s only 1,000-foot vertical shaft gold mine tour. Within this mining cave, your group will experience the Old West exactly as it was for hard rock gold miners in Cripple Creek. A one hour guided tour will take you 100 stories down into the gold mine to witness the evolution of gold mining methods from 1891 to the present. Within this mine you will experience the sights and sounds of air-powered mining equipment, view gold veins in their natural state, and ride one of the only remaining (in working condition) air-powered tram-trains. Take a spin with the double jack or muck, or on the Mine Foreman mine-rail-bike if you’re feeling really adventurous!. You will also see the Tellurides-of-gold-ore section, showing samples from Mollie Kathleen herself in 1891, including sylvanite nuggets, a calaverite cluster, and information on the Gold Vug epic discovery of 1914. After your tour is done you will each receive a free gold ore specimen and have the chance to go dine at the Hard Rock Diner, a unique dining atmosphere you won’t want to miss!
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument - Created for leisure in 1969, but with a history predating civilization only discovered in the early 19th century, is your group’s next exciting stop at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument (about a mile from Colorado Springs). Within this location, you will see fossils, rocks, hills, and valleys that reveal the ancient story of redwood forests, volcanic eruptions, and a much different climate than we are used to today in Colorado. This pioneer nation landmark covers and features the early scientists and discovery, as well as prehistoric hunting and gathering Ute and Jicarilla Apache tribes. Yes, a true veritable natural history oasis awaits you beneath this grassy mountain valley, one of the most rich and diverse fossil deposits in the whole world! Your group will have the chance to visit the Visitor’s Center, showing a great orientation film called ‘Shadows of the Past’, as well as a state-of-the-art museum and over 14 miles of secluded hiking trails through the serene mountain valley. One of the trails will take you through the petrified forest, showing redwood stumps that are an impressive and astonishing 14 feet wide! Have fun as you explore this monument site and take part in hands-on programs that help your group uncover and discover Florissant Fossil Beds!
Mueller State Park - Welcome to Mueller State Park, over 5,000 acres of spring-fed meadows, forested ridges, and massive rocks of Pikes Peak granite that will undoubtedly delight and amaze your group. Here you will find several ponds dotting the lush landscape as well as a great variety of plant-life, from grasses native to the region and wildflowers the same, to gigantic spruce, fir, pine, and aspen trees. If you keep your eyes open you will get the chance to see elk, deer, mule, bears, and birds in almost every direction you look! At Mueller State Park there are several different recreation activities available, depending on the season of course. Enjoy some classic camping, picnicking, trail use, fishing, and open nature studies. In the winter gear up for some serious sledding, skiing, and even snowshoeing. Take a stop at the visitor center, atop Big View Overlook, to see the most scenic panoramic the park offers plus discover all the indoor and outdoor exhibits that cover information from the park’s natural habitat and wildlife to its history and heritage. This is a great way to wrap up your Colorado trip!