The Visitor and Nature Center is adjacent to the park, and has excellent exhibits about the geology, flora, fauna, people, and history of the park. Interactive exhibits educate visitors about tracking animals, identifying wildlife from its spoor, and about Theiophytaliakerri, the one and only dinosaur of its sort, which was discovered in Garden of the Gods.
Unearthed by Professor James H. Kerr of Colorado College in 1878, the fossils found were misidentified as those of a Camptosaurus, and lay forgotten in Yale University's Peabody Museum for over a century. Less than a decade ago, the fossils were brought out of storage and discovered to be an entirely new type of dinosaur, based on the size and shape of its snout, and the position and shape of its nasal and eye sockets.
The Visitor and Nature Center runs a movie, GeoTrekker, every twenty minutes; it is an exciting immersion into the history of The Garden of the Gods, and includes dinosaurs, hot magma, ancient sea monsters, and awe-inspiring aerial footage of the park. There is a fee for the movie, which lasts fifteen minutes.
Garden of the Gods has a Junior Ranger Program for children aged 7-12, which teaches kids about the park's history, geology, and plant and animal life. School field trips are supported by the park, and meet Colorado's educational standards for Physical, Earth, and Life Sciences. Classes from Kindergarten to Grade 6 can learn in a hands-on way about rock types and layers, fossils, plants and animals, and park history. Lessons are enlivened by films and nature hikes.
Every day there are nature presentations given at the Visitor and Nature Center by experts in their field, covering such topics as the animals in the park, the early explorers of the area, and geological formations. Although all talks are open to the public of all ages, some of the presentations are geared towards small children, and some involve physical activity.
Cafe and Shopping
The park has a cafe overlooking the stunning landscape of Garden of the Gods. Diners can order pancakes, breakfast burritos, burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, soup, chili, salads, macaroni and cheese, cookies, snacks, fresh fruit, and beverages.
The park's gift shop is an award-winning selection of Colorado-made items, including American Indian jewelry and pottery, porcelain sculptures, gifts, books, toys, postcards, and delicious fudge made right at the Visitor's Center.
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1805 N. 30th St., Colorado Springs, Colorado 80904, Phone: 719-634-6666