I was given passes to visit the attractions listed. All opinions are my own!
I’ve been in Colorado for over 2 years now and have yet to make it down to Colorado Springs, but my mom recently came out for a visit and we decided to take a weekend trip down and check out all of the fun things to do. I’ve heard so many great things about Colorado Springs and how beautiful it was that I knew I needed to visit. Colorado Springs is about an hour from Denver and home to the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Olympics training center, and many other attractions and with an elevation of 6,035 feet they have over 300 day of blue skies a year.
Our first stop when arriving to Colorado Springs was to Garden of the Gods and then to check in at our hotel for the weekend the Sundance Mountain Lodge. We relaxed for a while and enjoyed the quiet and calm of the lodge before heading to dinner and a movie close to our hotel.
Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center – Explore Colorado Springs’ paradise in one magical stop. The Visitor Center is the most visited attraction in the region with an exciting, 14-minute, HD multimedia show: “How Did Those Red Rocks Get There?”. Garden of the Gods is free to drive through and there are a few parking lots so you can pull off and enjoy the views or go for some hikes. We drove through and were greeted with gorgeous blue skies and beautiful red rocks. Everything was absolutely breath taking and so beautiful. It’s almost as if they aren’t real.
The next day we got up and headed out for a day filled with fun! Our first stop was the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo – No visit to the Pikes Peak region is complete without a trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo – America’s only mountain zoo! Experience unforgettable adventures with breathtaking mountain scenery and more than 800 animals from around the world.
I knew the toddler would have a blast at the zoo since she loves animals, but this zoo was unlike any zoo we’ve ever been to. When we first arrived we headed to the Giraffe exhibit since they’re near the entrance and you walk onto this big deck area where you can purchase food to feed them for a couple $. The food is optional, but it was lots of fun getting to feed them, since we’ve never done that before and you’re literally face to face with them. We tried petting them, but they would turn their heads away unless you had food for them and there were a bunch of Giraffes. Usually we see 2-4, but this zoo had a lot more and even some babies. Once we were done there we walked around the zoo checking out all of the exhibits and throughout the whole zoo there are gorgeous views of Colorado Springs. All of the animals were out, active, and have beautiful exhibits. We’ve been to a few different zoos and it’s always a disappointment when the animals are hiding or look like they are poorly taken care of. Once we checked out all of the animals it was time to take a little break from the heat so we cooled off with some lemonade, ice cream, and the toddler took a ride on the carousel.
Next up we visited Seven Falls! Our visit to Seven falls was short and sweet and it’s very close to the zoo. We arrived mid afternoon and had to wait several minutes to get in due to the parking lot being full. We rode the elevator up to the lookout spot and were greeted by more gorgeous mountain views and the waterfall. While we were there some Indian dancers put on a show and the toddler got to get on stage and dance with them.
Seven Falls – Only waterfall in Colorado to make the National Geographic’s list of international waterfalls. Featuring a 224-step stairway leading to nature trails. Ride the in-mountain elevator blasted 14 stories straight up through solid Pikes Peak granite.
After Seven Falls we visited the Manitou Cliff Dwellings where we were greeted with the lovely afternoon thunderstorms in Colorado. Luckily they only last a few minutes and we were on our way to visit the dwellings. This was another fairly quick stop. The toddler had a blast exploring the dwellings and visiting the wolves they had there. Manitou Cliff Dwellings – During the summer, Native American dancers also wait to reveal secret rites and ceremonies that have been passed down for hundreds of years. So be sure to include Manitou Cliff Dwellings during your visit to the Pikes Peak region. The magic and mystery of the Native American culture is sure to delight you.
After the Cliff Dwellings we headed back to the hotel for some relaxing by the pool and dinner. The next morning we had to be up early so we could take a ride on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. Pikes Peak Cog Railway Co. – Since 1891, millions have taken this epic trip to 14,115-ft. summit of America’s mountain! Sit back, relax and enjoy the splendors of Colorado: steep canyons, panoramic vistas and wildlife abound. Reservations highly recommended.
We decided to do the Cog Railway instead of driving up the mountain so we could enjoy the views and because I’m not sure if I wanted to drive up that narrow twisty road. Taking the cog railway was so much fun and I really recommend it to anyone visiting Pikes Peak. The train ride is about an hour and 20 minutes and the views up the mountain are gorgeous, plus you get to learn the history of the mountain and area during the trip up and down. Once we arrived at the top we had about 45 minutes up there, but by time we used the bathroom and got some of their world famous donuts it was time for us to get back on the train. Luckily we got to enjoy the views on the way up so I wasn’t too bummed we didn’t get to spend more time on the mountain and I was starting to feel a little sick from the elevation combined with pregnancy, so the timing ended up being perfect. We even got to see some of the native wildlife on the way up and back down the mountain which was cool.
Some tips: Don’t use the bathrooms in the store. Use the ones outside to the left, there was no line there! Bring a jacket, it’s cold on the mountain. Drink plenty of water to avoid elevation sickness, but don’t drink too much since the train doesn’t have a bathroom.
If you’re planning a trip to Colorado Springs the Colorado Springs Tourism Board is a great place to plan your trip. They have all the local attractions listed, places to stay, and where to eat with a few clicks of the mouse! We had a blast during our weekend trip and I can’t wait to head back down since there is so much more to do and everything is family friendly!