More than 23.7 million people visited the Pikes Peak Region in 2021, according to Visit Colorado Springs. You might be wondering what there is to do in the Centennial State that makes it worth visiting.
Turns out, there are plenty of things to do in Colorado Springs for visitors of all ages.
Alexea Veneracion of Visit Colorado Springs shares that “Colorado Springs has attracted multi-generational visitors for years. Iconic, historic attractions like Pikes Peak, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Garden of the Gods Park, and Flying W Ranch instill a special sense of wonder in those of all ages.
“There are so many incredible stories of people visiting with their families when they were kids and then coming back decades later and bringing their kids and grandkids to make more memories in the Pikes Peak Region.”
Here's a closer look at five of the most popular things to do in Colorado Springs.
1. Flying W Ranch Chuckwagon Dinner and Show
Flying W Ranch has been one of Colorado Springs' premiere attractions for nearly 70 years. This chuckwagon dinner venue attracts guests from all around the country who come to experience an evening of fun and entertainment.
Guests can come early to pet the farm animals, ride the miniature train through Christmas Rock, and play a game of horseshoe, among other activities.
The stunning views surrounding the location lend to the feeling of stepping away from the city and into the old days.
Once dinner begins, the often sold-out crowd of more than 600 people is expertly guided through the dinner lines. It's all hands on deck as everyone from the ranch hands to the band members take their stations to serve up smoked brisket, buttermilk biscuits, and ranch-style beans. The foil-wrapped baked potatoes and old tin plates add to the nostalgia, and guests sit at long rows of picnic tables in the dining hall.
It isn't just any old dining hall, though. The six-million dollar facility can seat 1200 people, and the design includes rolling glass walls that showcase the beautiful mountain scenery on all sides.
Once everyone is seated, the highlight of the evening begins as the world-renowned Flying W Wranglers take the stage. This five-man band is the world's second-oldest western singing band and has performed all around the globe. The hour-long concert is a foot-stomping, clap-along event that guests will not soon forget.
2. Olympic Museum
If the word “museum” has you thinking of dusty old artifacts and boring paintings, prepare to have your athletic socks knocked off. The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum is a 60,000-square-foot, cutting-edge facility full of interactive displays and hands-on exhibits. It's a one-of-a-kind destination that brings the history of the games to life right before your eyes.
From the time you enter until you leave two hours later, this immersive experience will entertain and fascinate you as you work your way through the 12 galleries that make up the Museum.
Grab the skis and see firsthand what it's like to race down the slopes in the Alpine Skiing event.
Think Archery looks easy? Pick up the bow and shoot your shot.
You can even “race” against an Olympic Champion on a 30-meter track.
You may never compete in the actual games, but these multi-sensory interactions give you a chance to experience what it might feel like if you did.
The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum is considered one of the most accessible museums in the world. While there, you'll see an impressive collection of torches used in every opening ceremony since Berlin, Germany, in 1936. You'll also walk past the nearly-complete collection of gold, silver, and bronze medals representing each game since the modern Olympics started.
3. Pikes Peak Cog Railway
One of only two cog railways in the country, The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway is also the highest in the world.
Why take the Railway instead of driving up Pikes Peak Highway? For starters, drivers must navigate 156 hairpin curves and switchbacks going up the 19-mile highway, and what goes up must come down. If driving up the winding mountainside road with few guardrails along the way isn't your thing, then say no more. The Pikes Peak Cog Railway is your ticket to the top!
As you ascend the 14,115-foot mountain, keep an eye out for wildlife along the way since it's not uncommon to see elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and yellow-bellied marmot in the fields.
Be sure you bring warm clothes to bundle up because temperatures at the high elevation are much cooler than at the base, even during the summer. Spend some time taking in the breathtaking views, explore the visitor center and enjoy some hot chocolate and donuts before returning to the train. This leisurely four-hour excursion is a peak experience for many visiting Colorado Springs.
4. Garden of The Gods Trading Post
Your visit isn't complete without taking time to drive the 5.6 mile scenic drive through the Garden of the Gods. The iconic scenery is all but synonymous with Colorado Springs and rates number one for things to do in Colorado Springs, according to Tripadvisor. You'll find it just outside of Old Colorado City proper, nestled at the base of Pikes Peak.
Exploring the area is free, and many visitors take time to climb the red rock formations near the entrance. They make a great photo op, even if they get crowded.
Before you leave, find your way to the Garden of the Gods Trading Post. It's the largest and oldest gift shop in Colorado and is a fantastic place to get all your vacation souvenirs. While you're there, plan to stay for lunch. Their bison burgers get rave reviews, and their famous fudge is not to be missed.
5. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Think all zoos are alike? Colorado Springs doesn't monkey around when it comes to creating a top-notch visitor experience. There's a reason it was voted the third-best zoo in the country! One of the first exhibits you'll encounter sets the bar high for the rest of your visit.
You'll be eye to eye with the tallest animals in the world as you explore the 17-member giraffe tower. Many people say this is their favorite experience at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Spend a few dollars on a handful of lettuce, and you can feed the giraffes right out of your hand!
The zoo covers over 146 acres of hillside. Whether you walk, take the gondola or ride in a cart, you'll make your way through the different zoo sections on your way to the top. Stay for lunch at Pizza With a View and take in the scenic overlook before winding your way back downhill to ride the carousel. There are 750 animals at this zoo, so bring your camera and come ready to explore.
More Things To Do in Colorado Springs
There's plenty more to do in and around the city of Colorado Springs. A few worth mentioning include crossing the Royal Gorge Bridge, exploring Cave of the Winds, and spending time in historic downtown Manitou Springs. Book a stay at the Broadmoor Hotel, walk to the Seven Falls, and take a tour of the United States Air Force Academy.
Colorado Springs, Colorado, is just over an hour from the Denver International Airport and 2.5 hours from Rocky Mountain National Park.
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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Karee Blunt is the founder of OurWovenJourney.com, a travel blog focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.