Colorado Springs offers families traveling with children plenty of things to see and do, like exploring the vibrantly-colored canyon walls at Paint Mines Interpretive Park, playing vintage pinball games at the Manitou Springs Penny Arcade, and horseback riding through stunningly beautiful Garden of the Gods Park.
1. Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center
Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center is located within the Garden of The Gods Park, a registered National Natural Landmark in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Surrounded by impressive sandstone rock formations with views of snow-capped Pikes Peak against a brilliant blue sky, visitors will be in for some wonderfully-dramatic views. The Center offers solo-adventurers, groups of friends, and families traveling with the children a great opportunity to learn about the park through dynamic and interactive museum exhibits, HD movies at the Geo-Trekker Theatre, and free park maps. Open-Air Trolley, Segway, and Jeep tours are a great way to explore the park when traveling with kids, and are available by reservation.
1805 North 30th Street, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-634-6666
2. America the Beautiful Park Fantasy Playground
© America the Beautiful Park Fantasy Playground
America the Beautiful Park Fantasy Playground is a playground and intimate community park that is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The playground is equipped with turntables hammocks, and spinner bowls that provide plenty of thrills for all who play. Nearly 100 students from Washington Elementary, Globe Charter, Columbia Elementary, and Bristol Elementary schools helped create some of the park’s interactive art pieces, called Quirks. The park features additional amenities beyond the playground, such as restroom facilities, walking paths, and a picnic pavilion. Visitors will also have access to Pikes Peak Greenway Trail and the Midland Trail. Families who are traveling to Colorado Springs with kids will want to add this unique experience to the list.
126 Cimino Drive, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-385-2489
3. Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Red Rock Canyon Open Space is a sprawling, 1,474-acre city park located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The park is situated along the western portion of the city, south of U.S. Route 24 and adjacent to Manitou Springs. Red Rock Canyon is made up of a series of ridges and canyons that were sculpted by the erosion of the region’s uplifted rock strata. The canyons and ridges offer sheltered enclaves and beautiful views for inspiration, different types of terrain for various recreation, and a piece of sedimentary geology dating back more than 240 million years on display for education. It’s a perfect day-trip for the whole family (kids included), with opportunities for climbing, hiking, and horseback riding.
3550 West High Street, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-385-5940
4. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Situated at an elevation of nearly 6,800 feet, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is recognized as America’s highest zoo in relation to sea level. This sprawling zoological park is located southwest of downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado. The zoo is home to a variety of fish, mammals, plants, reptiles, amphibians, and birds for visitors to explore and learn about. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo features a number of kid-centric activities, such as Budgie Buddies, Animal Shows, Giraffe Feeding, and the Mountaineer Sky Ride. The zoo also offers ‘EdVentures’ for kids and teens, where they can partake in School Break Camps, Starlight Safari Evenings, Keeper Shadows, Internships, and fun Summer Camps.
4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-633-9925
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5. May Natural History Museum
May Natural History Museum is an enduring roadside museum that features a collection of various tropical insects in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This premier insect museum is situated at the bottom of the Rocky Mountains and features one of the world’s largest displays of tropical insects. This is a fun little stop for anyone traveling with children, as they’ll be wowed by the museum’s 7,000 insects on display. They’ll be able to see and learn about everything from large tropical spiders and insects to thousands of vibrantly-colorful moths and butterflies. School groups and families have been visiting this fascinating roadside museum for decades.
710 Rock Creek Canyon Road, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-576-0450
6. Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad
© Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad
Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad reveals wonderful scenery around every curve of the track as the 100-year-old steam locomotive transports visitors back to the days of gold mining in Cripple Creek and Victor, Colorado. The track heads south out of Cripple Creek, continues beyond the old Midland Terminal Wye, then over a trestle that’s been reconstructed and past several historic mines, before terminating near Anaconda – a deserted mining camp. The trip takes approximately 45 minutes, and children under the age of three ride for free. This roundtrip railroad excursion is a great experience – a real treat for history and railroad buffs, children, and the entire family.
520 East Carr Avenue, Cripple Creek, CO, Phone: 719-689-2640
7. Ghost Town Museum
© Ghost Town Museum
Ghost Town Museum is a model town that features historic structures and artifacts in Colorado Springs. The museum is committed to offering an authentic Wild West experience to visitors and families within the Pikes Peak region. The artifacts and buildings that were recovered from the Pikes Peak area have been preserved in an indoor environment for generations. There are several fun activities that are perfect for families traveling with kids, such as cranking a butter churn, taking some shots at the shooting gallery, playing antique arcade games, and panning for real gold. The museum is also equipped with a gift shop that has t-shirts, treasures, trinkets, and much more.
400 South 21st Street, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-634-0696
8. Bear Creek Regional Park and Nature Center
© Bear Creek Regional Park and Nature Center
Bear Creek Regional Park and Nature Center is a sprawling regional park that is located in Colorado Springs. There are miles and miles of scenic trails that are perfect for walking, running, hiking, cycling, and horseback riding. The ponderosa pine forests, scrub oak thicket, mountain creek, meadows, and abundant wildlife within the foothills attract adults and children from all over to come and explore Bear Creek Regional Park. The Nature Center assists in educating the general public, families, and kids on nature related topics through a number of interactive exhibits, birding classes, nature camps, and a working honey bee hive.
245 Bear Creek Road, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-520-6387
9. Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is a United States National Monument that is located in Florissant, Colorado. Situated beneath a verdant mountain valley within central Colorado, visitors will find one of the most diverse and richest fossil deposits in the entire world. There are numerous petrified redwood stumps and thousands of plant and insect fossils that reveal the fascinating story of an extremely different, prehistoric Colorado. Families traveling with children will want to check out the visitor center; kids typically enjoy exploring the fossil displays and interactive exhibits there. They can also earn cute badges by completing a fun and informative Junior Ranger book.
15807 County Road 1, Florissant, CO, Phone: 719-748-3253
10. Memorial Park
Memorial Park is a sprawling lakeside park located in Colorado Springs. This multi-use park features multiple tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball fields, multi-use sports fields, and sand volleyball courts. There is also a bicycle velodrome, aquatic center, and ice skating center. The park is equipped with picnic areas and a modern playground that can all be reserved for larger groups. In the heart of the park sits Prospect Lake, which is surrounded by the 1.25-mile Prospect Lake Fitness Trail, perfect for walking, jogging, and biking. Kids with skateboards, inline skates, and BMX bikes will be thrilled with the park’s complimentary 40,000-square-foot Memorial Park Skate Park.
1605 East Pikes Peak Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-385-5940
11. Dr. Lester L. Williams Fire Museum
© Dmitry Vereshchagin/stock.adobe.com
Dr. Lester L. Williams Fire Museum is a museum that is located inside of the Colorado Springs Fire Department headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. When Dr. Williams passed, he specified that he wanted his vast collection of various fire memorabilia used exclusively for establishing a new fire museum. Kids who might be interested in becoming firefighters one day will thoroughly enjoy exploring the museum’s many pieces of firefighting apparatus and artifacts on display. Much of the museums memorabilia originated from the Colorado Springs Fire Department when Dr. Williams was the department’s physician. The rest of it came from other members of his family who had also served in the fire department.
375 Printers Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-385-5950
12. Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center
© North Cheyenne Cañon Park
Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center is a wonderfully informative nature and visitor center that is located in Colorado Springs. The stone building was once the residence of the Starsmore family; it has been cherished as an important local landmark for a number of years. The structure was bought by the City of Colorado Springs in 1992, then moved to its current location. The center plays an intricate role in introducing Cheyenne Cañon and its wildflowers, rock formations, wildlife, and beautiful waterfalls to all who visit. The park offers a number of fascinating programs, such as the Junior Ranger Program, Tipi Raising & Ute Heritage Workshop, and the Cheyenne Cañon Camp.
2120 South Cheyenne Canon Road, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-385-6086
13. Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
© Kit Leong/stock.adobe.com
Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is a history museum that is located in Colorado Springs. It happens to be the only institution that researches, collects, and interprets the robust history that is found within Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region. Every year, the museum brings in over 90,000 visitors who want to learn about the community’s history, what it’s like today, and what it can be in the future. The museum features a number of fascinating exhibits for families, school groups, and adult groups or individuals to explore, such as the Francis Drexel Smith: A Legacy on Canvas, Any Place North and West: African Americans in Colorado Springs, and Cultural Crossroads: Highlights from the Collection.
215 South Tejon Street, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-385-5990
14. Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway is a wildly popular tourist attraction in Colorado Springs. The railway has been in operation since the summer of 1891, transporting visitors to the summit of Pikes Peak, at an astounding 14,115 feet above sea level. Families have enjoyed this scenic journey for generations, seated comfortably on the planet’s highest cog train. Throughout the journey, passengers will encounter four distinctive habitats ranging from lush high plains to fragile alpine tundra. Dense pine forests and pristine aspen groves give way to enchanting mountain streams and sweeping boulder canyons as passengers climb beyond the timberline. The train ride is truly an awesome adventure, and one that can be enjoyed at all ages.
515 Ruxton Avenue, Manitou Springs, CO, Phone: 719-685-5401
15. Paint Mines Interpretive Park
Paint Mines Interpretive Park is one of the most unique outdoor spaces within El Paso County, Colorado. The Paint Mines got their name from the colorful clays collected by Native American Indians to create paint. Oxidized iron compounds can be found in the many layers of clay on the canyon walls, causing bright bands of color. The 750-acre park is situated in the northeast part of the county. The paint mines show evidence of human activity dating back over 9,000 years ago. It’s a fun day trip with the family. Kids will enjoy hiking through the hoodoos and spires, and viewing the bright yellows and lavenders of the canyon walls.
29950 Paint Mine Road, Calhan, CO, Phone: 719-520-7529
16. Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Art Center
Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Art Center is a performing arts theater that is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The center is situated between Colorado College and downtown Colorado Springs, gently dividing the more residential and urban parts of downtown from the campus. The building serves as the backbone for the university arts culture, which includes music, video/filmmaking, performance, dance, drama, two-and-three-dimensional visual art. The center contains spaces that encourage impromptu and scheduled interdisciplinary arts events. Anyone entering the structure becomes a potential performer or spectator where the building’s architecture becomes the stage. This family-friendly center provides an excellent opportunity for children of all ages to get a taste of the performing arts.
825 North Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-389-6066
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17. Cave of the Winds Mountain Park
Cave of the Winds Mountain Park is a cave system and adventure/thrill park that is located in Manitou Springs, Colorado. This family-friendly attraction offers varying levels of cave tours, such as the hour-long Discovery Tour, the 90-minute Lantern Tour, and 2.5-hour Caving 101 expedition. This park provides the perfect location for entertaining the family for the entire day, especially those traveling with children. There are numerous thrill rides and adventure areas within the park, including the Magic Lantern Theatre, Via Ferrata Canyon Tours, The Bat-A-Pult, Wind Walker Challenge Course, Terror-Dactyl, and more. The park also features stunning views, a gift shop, and Caver’s Café.
100 Cave of the Winds Road, Manitou Springs, CO, Phone: 719-685-5444
18. American Numismatic Association
© American Numismatic Association
The American Numismatic Association is a non-profit organization that features a museum housed with money-related cultural and historical artifacts in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The museum explores the science, history, and art of currency and currency-related items. It is equipped with three main galleries that display spectacular exhibits filled with many precious rarities. The Kids Zone is an excellent place for children of all ages to learn about currency through interactive exhibits, fun activities, and free classes. The exhibits will teach them about world cultures, art, trade, geography, history, and much more. The museum also offers free field trips for schools, even reimbursing school districts for bus rental fees.
818 North Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 800-367-9723
19. New Santa Fe Regional Trail
New Santa Fe Regional Trail is a picturesque, mostly unpaved, 16-mile-long pathway that connects shimmering Palmer Lake to the city of Colorado Springs in Central Colorado. Situated along an old abandoned railroad, the trail heads south from Palmer Lake through piñon pine trees and grassy hillsides. Along the pathway, visitors will enjoy magnificent views of the sprawling valley below, as well as Colorado Springs to the South. Visitors will often see people walking or running on the trail for exercise, families with children biking along the pathway for a fun outdoor activity, and plenty of wildlife along the way.
199 County Line Road, Palmer Lake, CO, Phone: 719-481-2953
20. Broadmoor Seven Falls
Broadmoor Seven Falls is a collection of seven different cascading waterfalls along South Cheyenne Creek in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Seven Falls is the only Colorado waterfall to earn a spot on National Geographic’s coveted list of International Waterfalls. There are a number of fun and exciting adventures for groups of friends, families, and solo-travelers to enjoy at Seven Falls. There are two very scenic hikes to check out, the Trail to Inspiration Point (a one-hour round trip), and the Trail to Midnight Falls (a half-hour round trip). Kids love the zip-line tours and Seven Falls Shop. They’re particularly fond of the 1858 Food Truck’s homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese.
South Cheyenne Canyon Road, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-476-6700
21. Academy Riding Stable
Academy Riding Stable is a horseback riding service and tour operator that is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The academy offers two separate, scenic horseback riding adventures that are fun for all ages. The hour-long scenic ride includes a safety briefing, a professionally guided horseback riding tour though picturesque Garden of the Gods Park, and commentary on the area’s flora and fauna, history, and unique sights. The academy provides an excellent way for children to be introduced to horses and riding, gifting them with lifelong memories. Travelers looking for that one-of-a-kind way of exploring Garden of the Gods Park have found it at Academy Riding Stables.
4 El Paso Boulevard, Colorado Springs, CO, Phone: 719-633-5667
22. The North Pole Colorado Santa’s Workshop
© The North Pole Colorado Santa’s Workshop
The North Pole Colorado Santa’s Workshop is a Christmas and North Pole-themed family amusement park that is located in Cascade, Colorado. This enchanting theme park has a little something in it for each family member. Families can bring the kids to meet Santa Clause and his North Pole elves; soar through the air on the Enterprise Space Shuttle; or enjoy unique and whimsical rides on the Antique Carousel and Christmas Tree Ride. Visitors can also explore the skies on the Aerial Tram, or stay grounded on the Miniature Train. The theme park is equipped with over two dozen rides that are perfect for all ages. Visitors won’t want to miss out on feeding the adorable llamas and goats.
5050 Pikes Peak Highway, Cascade, CO, Phone: 719-684-9432
23. Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center
© Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center
Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center is a museum that focuses primarily on exhibiting fossil organisms from North America’s Late Cretaceous Period, including fish, marine reptiles, pterosaurs, and dinosaurs. The museum is located in Woodland Park, approximately 10 miles northwest of Colorado Springs. Visitors can check out the museum’s operating fossil laboratory, where recently discovered and important specimens are freed from rock matrices and restored. Children always enjoy the museum’s hands-on educational activities and play area. Visitors can enjoy guided tours of the museum, getting in-depth information on the fossil skeletons displayed. The museum is ADA accessible, offers group discounts, and is equipped with a gift shop.
201 South Fairview Street, Woodland Park, CO, Phone: 719-686-1820
24. Manitou Springs Penny Arcade
Manitou Springs Penny Arcade is a large arcade room filled with hundreds of video games that still cost as little as one cent. This is an excellent family-friendly attraction in Manitou Springs, Colorado, and one that can keep the kids entertained for hours on end. The Penny Arcade is almost as much an arcade museum as it is an active gaming room, as visitors will be able to travel through arcade history with games dating back to the early 1930s – some possibly even earlier. Children (and adults) will have over 20 pinball machines and 30 unique racing games to choose from. Beyond the hours of entertainment for the kids, parents will appreciate how easy it is on their wallets.
900 Manitou Ave, Manitou Springs, CO, Phone: 719-685-9815
25. Manitou Cliff Dwellings
© Kit Leong/stock.adobe.com
Manitou Cliff Dwellings are a collection of museums and relocated Anasazi cliff dwelling remains that are located just northwest of Colorado Springs, Colorado. The group of dwellings and museums is conveniently situated just off of U.S. Highway 24 in Manitou Springs. The Anasazi Museum and cliff-dwellings were established in 1904, and first opened to the general public in 1907. This is an excellent family-friendly experience, especially for kids, as they can explore historic cultural displays, along with the ancient Anasazi peoples’ fascinating architecture. The museum also features school tours for children that are highlighted by guided tours, museum exploration, informative movies, and personalized pottery paintings.
10 Cliff Road, Manitou Springs, CO, Phone: 719-685-5242
Attraction Spotlight: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs, CO
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs was founded in 1926 by Spencer Penrose, a philanthropist who collected exotic animals. He received his first animal in 1916, a pet bear, which sparked his love for wildlife. In fact, he started the zoo to house his growing collection of animals. And in 1938, after large amounts of development, he eventually deemed the zoo as a non-profit public trust for the community of Colorado Springs.
The majority of development occurred in 1937, the year before the zoo opened to the public. Some major additions included: Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun, a Miniature Railroad, and a Carousal, which Penrose purchased from the Chicago World's Fair. The Carousal is still operational today, and visitors can also enjoy other rides such as the Mountaineer Sky Ride.
Various additions to the zoo have occurred over the years, including the construction of the monkey and feline houses in 1942, the giraffe building in 1953, the bird and reptile house in 1956, the aquatics building in 1960, the primate world in 1966, the birds of prey exhibit in 1967, the lion's lair in 1997, and the wallaby walkabout in 2006. There have been many more milestones and additions to the zoo, as it has continued to flourish over the last century. Currently, there are more than 170 species of animals, and 7 operational rides and attractions.
Penrose wanted visitors to the zoo to enjoy an interactive experience instead of a passive one. Visitors to the zoo are actively submerged into a diverse array of culture and habitats in order to inspire respect and foster education for the wildlife it represents. Visitors are immersed into life with the animals and are even allowed to actively engage with many different species. The experience visitors receive at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is considered to be one of the most unforgettable in the United States.
The mission of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is to conserve and protect the animals in their care while educating and inspiring visitors to aid in this attempt. By promoting the study of Biology, Zoology and other important sciences, the zoo and its dedicated staff hope to generate a passion for science in the minds of its younger visitors. The preservation of these animals and their habitats are valuable for all future generations. The zoo takes pride in leaving visitors with the experience of a lifetime, hopefully represented by goosebumps.
There are more than 170 different species of animals at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo housed in 15 different exhibits. These exhibits are: African Rift Valley, Aquatics, Asian Highlands, Australian Walkabout, Bears, Encounter Africa, Leaping to the Rescue, Monkey Pavilion, My Big Backyard, Primate World, Rocky Cliffs, Rocky Mountain Wild, Scutes Family Gallery, Tapirs, and The Loft.
Each exhibit offers its own special experience for visitors, some even allow hand-feeding and up-close encounters. One of the most popular exhibits for children at the zoo is My Big Backyard where they can climb and play are over-sized chairs, mushrooms, and ants. A petting zoo containing small animals are also in this area for the children to mingle with, including rabbits, chickens, a pot-bellied pig, and even a tarantula. There is also a life-like wooden cabin and a tree house for them to climb and enjoy the view.
There are all kinds of rides and attractions for every member of the family at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Including the working Carousel, the Mountaineer Sky Ride, Budgie Birdie Feeding, Animal Encounters, and the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun.
Many of the attractions include up-close-and-personal experience with the wildlife, like The Loft, which actually allows visitors to experience what it's like to be a zookeeper. Visitors can also walk through the aviary to feed free-flying birds in the Australian Walkabout. Brightly-colored birds, including the budgie (Australian parakeets) will eat right out of visitor's hands while enjoying them in their natural habitat.
A visit to the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun is including in the zoo admission price. The historic monument is a pleasant 1.4 mile hike up the Russell Tutt Scenic Highway. It was built by Penrose in memory of Will Rogers who died in a plane crash in 1935. It is elevated at a whopping 8,136 feet and provides a breath-taking view of Colorado Springs and the surrounding Pikes Peak Region.
With advanced reservations, guests can schedule animal encounters that they may have only previously dreamed of. Some of the animals available for you to meet include: Amur tiger, Bears (Grizzly or spectacled), Black rhinoceros, Black-footed ferret, Elephants, Giraffes, Hippo, Meerkats, Moose, Orangutan, Ring-tailed lemurs, Penguins, Sloth, and Zebra. However, if there is an animal that you have always dreamed of meeting, the zoo will take your request and see what they can do to make that happen.
One of the most interesting animal encounters would have to be the Orangutan. This encounter incudes a side-by-side painting session with the primates (weather permitting). Costs can vary and reservations must be made at least one week ahead of time.
There are endless animals, exhibits, and attractions available to delight every member of the family. Excitement, fun, and education is perfectly intertwined at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is very active in the conversation of wildlife and wildlife habitats. The hard-working volunteers and employees at the zoo believe that the conservation of Earth and its nature should become a part of our everyday life. Two of the zoo's most prominent conservation programs are the Quarters for Conservation and the Back from the Brink program.
The Quarters for Conservation program is the most popular program at the zoo. Through the collection of quarters, the zoo can aid in conservation projects around the globe. The Back from the Brink program is an initiative to save the black-footed ferrets from extinction.
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The zoo is also actively involved with the Palm Oil Crisis and Amphibian Crisis. By becoming a member of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, a hefty portion of the fees paid goes directly to these important conservation programs.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has a wide variety of tours, encounters, and programs for visitors of all ages to enjoy. There are even zoo camps for children, a mobile zoo that will come to classrooms and educational organizations, and group adventure tours. There are all sorts of educational programs including specialized teen and early development programs.
The surrounding area of Colorado Springs is a vibrant area filled with an extensive variety of wildlife and picturesque landscapes. All sorts of activities can be planned, including hiking, shopping, outdoor picnics, and world-class dining and cultural experiences. The pride of Colorado Springs is Pike's Peak, a snow-capped mountain with picturesque waterfalls, lush forest, and breath-taking nature.
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4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906, Phone: 719-633-9925
Attraction Spotlight: Peterson Air and Space Museum
Located in Colorado Springs, the Peterson Air and Space Museum was founded in 1982. The facility itself started as a visitor center for North American Aerospace Defense Command. In 1996, the city enrolled all of their municipal airport buildings in the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the museum is at the center of an 8.3-acre historic district on Peterson Air Force Base. Through its structures and exhibits, the museum aims to promote education about civilian and military aviation history. This award-winning facility is Colorado’s oldest aviation museum. Each year over 20,000 military and civilian visitors find their way to this unique attraction.
The museum is named after Edward J. Peterson, a Colorado native who was a well-known pilot in World War 2. Peterson is considered a local hero as he was the first Colorado-born pilot to lose his life in the line of duty. His dedication to the field of aviation as well as to his country stands the test of time and is reflected in his legacy. His name lives on in the Peterson Air Force Base, which is known for the fact that it is home to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). It also shares an airfield with the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport.
Serving as the entry point of the museum complex and historic district, visitors will doubtlessly appreciate the stylistic and architectural features of the terminal. This structure was built in 1941 and was the city’s first airport passenger terminal. It stands out due to its beautiful art deco-inspired design features such as its curved walls, interesting lighting fixtures, and stylized eagles in the entryways. Here visitors can learn about early Colorado Springs aviation history and Peterson Field as well as the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport Historic District.
Old City Hangar
Built in 1928, the Old City Hangar is the oldest structure at the museum. Here, visitors can see early satellites, radar displays, and the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center. There is also an ICBM exhibit, which includes an underground launch control center simulator. Particular emphasis is placed on highlighting the aircraft used in the Cold War.
Air Park chronicles the history of North American air defense from the Cold War to the Vietnam War era. There are several USAF fighter interceptors on display here, which showcase how enemy aircraft were identified, intercepted, and shot down. By comparing aircraft such as the F-86L Sabre, made in the ‘50s, with the more modern Vietnam-era F-4 Phantom, visitors can appreciate the technological advances that took place within the span of just a few decades.
Medal of Honor Park and the Gallery of Stars
The museum is also dedicated to preserving the memory of those who gave their lives to defend the country. Both their Gallery of Stars and their Medal of Honor Park are dedicated to this purpose. Medal of Honor Park celebrates the recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Gallery of Stars allows visitors to take a moment to honor the countless military personnel charged with defending North American airspace during the Cold War. As part of Aerospace Defense Command, which existed from 1946 to 1980, both Canadian and American servicemen and women were stationed in various bases around the country as well as in Greenland and Iceland, where they monitored the skies throughout the Cold War. Working in concert with Army Air Defense Command and Navy picket ship and fighter units, their efforts helped preserve the balance of power and ultimately helped ward off the specter of a nuclear holocaust in this tense chapter of global history.
In addition to the many exhibits on display on museum grounds, there are several exhibits located a short walk or drive from the museum. Among these is the Minuteman III ICBM, P-40E Warhawk, and the F-104C Starfighter, among others.
The museum has plans for expansion in the future by way of the Broadmore Hangar space. This was originally built for the purpose of accommodating visitors to the Broadmore Hotel and was the first and last site they would have seen on their visit. The museum plans to extend its visitor and exhibit space into the Broadmore Hangar while preserving many of the original design features that were present in the original 1930 structure, making it a focal point for the facility.
A visit to the Peterson Air and Space Museum provides an insight into both the technological advances that shaped the history of aviation in America as well as the influence of these developments on global history.
150 Ent Ave, Peterson AFB, CO 80914, Phone: 719-556-4915
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Attraction Spotlight: Rock Ledge Ranch and Historic Site
Rock Ledge Ranch is an educational living history farm and museum set in a beautiful park in Colorado Springs. The Ranch lies within the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, which is managed by the Living History Association (LHA), whose mission it is to protect, preserve, restore and maintain the natural and historical integrity of Rock Ledge Ranch.
The property has seen several periods of development throughout history and significant historic structures that were built during certain times remain. Lovingly restored back to their former glory, these historic buildings, include Rock Ledge Ranch, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Ranch is an excellent example of living history and is used to depict life in the Pikes Peak region over four time periods in history spanning from 1775 to 1907. Rock Ledge Ranch was used during four different eras, during the time of the Native Americans in 1775, as the Galloway Homestead in the 1860s, as the Chambers Home and Ranch in 1880s, and as a 1907 Edwardian Country Estate.
Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site and Rock Ledge Ranch brings the spirit of Wild West back to life where visitors are invited to explore the homes and lifestyles of the early inhabitants of the Pikes Peak Region. Knowledgeable interpreters and docents are on hand to assist visitors as they explore one of the nation’s premier historic sites.
Visitors can travel back to the era of the Plains and Ute Indians who lived along the Rocky Mountains’ Central Front Range and experience their unique lifestyle and way of living. They can then discover more about the hardships of moving west and creating a homestead on this land in the late 1860’s, before being charmed by the elegance and grace of an estate from the early 20th-century, built by General William J. Palmer, the founder of Colorado Springs.
The site features a working blacksmith shop, an adjacent barn with horses and a chicken coop, and there are cows and sheep grazing around the farm, creating a realistic look and feel of a historic working farmstead.
Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site is located at 1401 Recreation Way in Colorado Springs, right next to the Garden of the Gods, a magnificent natural landmark of orange-red rock standing 300 feet high. Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site and Rock Ledge Ranch is open for the season from June 4th through August 20th. During the summer months, Rock Ledge Ranch is open from Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
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1401 Recreation Way, Colorado Springs, CO 80905, Phone: 719-578-6777