Looking for family activities in Colorado Springs
June 13, 2013 8:44 AM   Subscribe

I'm asking for a friend who will be with her husband and two children, ages about 9 and 11, in Colorado Springs, CO this summer for several days. Can you recommend sights to see and activities of interest? Thank you!

I did a search, but the results are either quite old posts or cater to a different demographic.
posted by michellenoel to Travel & Transportation around Colorado Springs, CO (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Take the cog railroad up to Pikes Peak.
posted by mkultra at 8:54 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

The kids would love the cog railroad.

Garden of the Gods is the standard CO Springs attraction but I think it's worth a visit too.
posted by something something at 9:04 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

It was founded as a resort town. It is touristy as any place you'll ever go. If they have trouble finding stuff to do, that's kinda their bad.

That being said, the zoo is pretty dope.
posted by 7segment at 9:13 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

My vote would be for a guided white water rafting tour in Royal Gorge - I did that when I was about 10 and it is one of the best memories I have from that age. There is also a very cool suspension bridge over the gorge. I believe the company I went with is http://www.royalgorgeadventures.com. Have a fun trip!
posted by cccp47 at 9:25 AM on June 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

There's always Colorado's most touristy town -- Manitou Springs, which is just nearby.

If either of the kids are into fossils or dinosaurs, they could go visit the Florissant Fossil Beds, which is about 35 miles away. Nearby, they could go visit the old mining town of Victor, which is sort of awesome (although there's not a lot to do there). (Cripple Creek is also nearby, but it's been taken over entirely by casinos.)
posted by heurtebise at 9:46 AM on June 13, 2013

Seconding Garden of the Gods
posted by cmfletcher at 9:58 AM on June 13, 2013

I really love the zoo there--I bet kids will enjoy feeding the giraffes!
posted by gone2croatan at 10:05 AM on June 13, 2013

Best answer: Are you sure you want to come here right now? We're having some issues.

That being said, there are some attractions that are still standing:
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is a nice zoo for it's size. It's not nearly as grand as its Denver counterpart, but there are some benefits to a smaller park, and most of the exhibits are nicely designed. If you're there when they have a nighttime visit, you should go then. It will be wonderfully cool (temperature-wise).

The Manitou arcade (in Manitou Springs) is ridiculously cheesy and a nostalgia trip for anyone over 30. It's relatively run-down, but there are games from the 1920s to the 90s, and Manitou is a nice place to wander around. Up the street, you could stop in Black Cat Books, which has a small, but well-selected young adult section and is connected to an art gallery.

The city runs some nice pools that will help you escape the heat. I'm fond of Monument Valley Pool and Wilson Ranch. The first is an old structure in a park near Colorado College, and the second has lots of slides and fountains. There is also an indoor pool at Cottonwood that has a wave pool and (small) lazy river. You might consider that to get out of the sun.

Finally, you might want to take a trip to Santa's Workshop, which is a ridiculously antiquated amusement park about 10 miles west of town. You need to go with a sense of ironic detachment, and the restraints on the rides are often more on the honor system than I'd like, but my kids love it. There are enough vomit-inducing rides for the older kids, although it's nothing like Elitch's in Denver.

I understand there are mountains too, some of which are not on fire.

Memail me if you have any questions. Have a fun trip. I love the Springs in the summer.
posted by bibliowench at 10:13 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Maybe the Penny Arcade in Manitou Springs?
posted by sleevener at 10:16 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Also, my kids have loved Cave of the Winds, although I've never been there myself. It's another place to get out of the heat - it's really ridiculously hot here this summer.
posted by bibliowench at 10:17 AM on June 13, 2013

Best answer: The place where America the Beautiful was inspired.

Sweet geology.

Like bugs?

Underground adventure (sorry, audio autoplay)

Better geology off the beaten track.

Great hikes suitable for kids.

WWII Aviation (sorry, audio autoplay)

We have a Georgia O'Keefe.

United States Air Force Academy

Agree with the zoo. They have a Komodo Dragon!

Buffalo Burgers (website looks upscale, but seriously great for kids - there's a creek!)

The Cog Railway is cool, but I think driving up is better - lots of incredible views and good spots for a picnic.

Find out about a religious artifact.

If you get a parents-night-out, eat here or here or here or here. We are loaded with microbrew joints, too.

Fast Food Nation used Colorado Springs as it's worst-case example of fast-food saturation. But there's lots of local, less-expensive places with decent menus.

We're also home to the slightly famous King's Chef diner.

This is your best source for local happenings, art, music, theatre, and more. Often have kid's activities listed, too.

Disagree about the 'touristy' appraisal. Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs certainly match that description, but that's missing the forest.
posted by j_curiouser at 10:18 AM on June 13, 2013 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Well, I started marking some "best answers" but I'm going to stop because they are all good answers. I will pass this along to my friends.

Thank you everyone!
posted by michellenoel at 11:08 AM on June 13, 2013

The Penny Arcade in Manitou Springs is awesome.
posted by vespabelle at 11:11 AM on June 13, 2013

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