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Every year we plan at least one full blown staycation in Colorado Springs and have discovered some of the best places to visit as a family. Put these 10 places on your family's bucket list this year for a summer full of fun and hands on learning.
Staycations are a lot of fun at minimal cost and with this Staycation packet you will make it even more memorable. Pick a new restaurant, stay in a hotel one night, buy some postcards to keep track of your memories. Remember to try places like Groupon to keep the cost down but the adventure up. There is so much to see and do in Colorado Springs, use this list to help you narrow it down and get started.
Experience the Pikes Peak Hill Climb inside the Penrose Heritage Museum. It showcases several vehicles that have run the climb over the years. Learn more about these vehicles "built and tested in the mountains" plus more. Check out all the carriages, saddles, and Native American artifacts too. The docents are friendly and it's a neat place to explore that few know about. You can find it by the Broadmoor Hall which makes a trip to our second bucket list place in Colorado Springs easy to cross off next.
The Zoo in Colorado Springs keeps getting better and better. They continually make improvements that make each visit definitely worthwhile. You can feed the giraffes and elephants, ride on an antique carousel, and get amazing views of the city. It's an all day adventure that will fill your daily exercise quota as it's a mountain zoo. At the end of your trip, head up to the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun (the belltower). Admission is included with your zoo ticket and you get to drive through the zoo to get there. Everyone needs to make it to the top at least once.
3. Explore the Castle in Manitou Springs
Miramont Castle is only a little ways off of the main street in Manitou Springs and definitely worth exploring. If you have children, be sure to ask for the scavenger hunt at the front desk (it comes with a candy reward at the end). In the basement you'll find a Fire Museum and a mini town replica complete with moving trolley. There are 4 stories in all to explore with lots to discover from suits of armour to curved glass windows and tin ceilings. You can also go for High Tea. Take advantage of being in Manitou Springs and walk around downtown. There are plenty of neat shops, a great playground, the famous spring water fountains, and even the Penny Arcade (most rides and games will be 25-50 cents).
Head into outer space at the Space Foundation Discovery Center! You can pretend to be an astronaut, see models of rockets, and learn more about the space program. Get the most out of your visit when you attend their Summer of Discovery programs. Depending on the program, you can drive underwater robots, launch paper rockets, see amazing science shows, and even meet astronauts. Head to the Space Foundation Discovery Center website to print a $1 off coupon for your visit- consider buying the passport though so you can keep visiting all summer.
5. Ride a Streetcar at the Roswell Trolley Barn
The Roswell Trolley Barn is a secret gem of Colorado Springs tucked at the end of Steel (off of Fillmore) ; this place is fun for both adults and children. The volunteers are great at catering to your age group. The Roswell Trolley Barn is actually 4 museum in one, making there lots to discover. You can watch model trains in action, read about the history of trains, streetcars, and trolleys in the Springs, see restored trolleys, and more. If you go with kids, they will love climbing into real train cars and going on a ride in a streetcar at the end of the tour (and yes, they do birthday parties).
Step back into time at Rock Ledge Ranch as you enjoy the beautiful landscape and rich history of Colorado Springs. Their special events are worth it so look at the calendar and plan your visit right. We enjoyed the Sheep Shearing event- the kids were fascinated by the process of turning sheep's wool into clothes. You can also discover the Native American Area, Barn and Farm Animals section, the Blacksmith Shop, Coach House Exhibit, Log Cabin, Orchard House, Rock Ledge House, and Heritage Shoppe. Garden of the Gods is right next door so when you are done, head over for a hike. Be sure you stop by the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center sometime- there is lots of learn there too.
During the summer, the OTC offers tours every 1/2 hour. The overall tour is about 45 minutes and begins with a short film (about 10 minutes). As you walk through the facility, you will learn more facts as well as have the chance to see athletes in action. It's a great way to inspire small athletes as well as discover more about different sports. You may want to plan on going during a special event to see more in action.
8. Tour Your Favorite Restaurants
What is your favorite restaurant? Several restaurants in the area offer behind the scenes tours if you ask. Two of our favorites are Lulu's Frozen Yogurt and Dion's Pizza. Lulu's is delicious and owned by a wonderful family. We always love enjoying a treat there then burning the calories off hula hooping outside. Dion's Pizza offers a great tour package that includes pizza, shirts, and more for every child on the tour. It's a lot of fun and our favorite pizza place.
Plan ahead and attend the Pioneer Museum during one of their events like Hands on History- you will learn a lot more about the pioneers of Colorado Springs. The Pioneer Museum is one of the most kid friendly museums you will come across. There are plenty of things for the children to explore as well as learn. And as one of the free museums in the Springs, the only thing you have to worry about is parking.
Don't miss out on the library! They offer amazing programs and shows all year. During the summer be sure to sign up for their reading program because it's a passport to discover even more in the Colorado Springs area. In the past as part of the rewards for doing summer reading, coupons for visiting places like the Western Museum of Mining and Industry and the World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame have been included. Seriously, though, the library in and of itself is worth putting on your bucket list- especially Library 21c. There is plenty do and you can reserve a spot to try out the 3D printer.
Your Turn- What's on your bucket list this summer?