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Family Things To Do in Colorado Springs
Family Things To Do in Colorado Springs
If you have ever visited the great state of Colorado then you know it’s stunning but did you also know that there is just as much to do in the summer as in the winter? While Colorado Springs, Colorado is well known for its mountains and many of us think skiing when considering Colorado Springs, this town has just as much to offer in the summer and it is the perfect place for outdoor family adventure. Any Colorado travel bucket list isn’t complete without the beautiful natural landscape and activities that await you in Colorado Springs. This Colorado Springs Family Adventure Guide features everything you need to plan the perfect trip.
Family Things To Do in Colorado Springs
Pikes Peak Region
Colorado Springs is great all by itself, but it’s also home to the Pikes Peak region, with the mountain itself commonly called America’s Mountain. Each year over 23 million people visit this area of Colorado and during May-July, this is one of the top visitor attractions in all of Colorado Springs. People love to hike in this area. The pines, the blue sky, and being up at a higher elevation (14,115 feet to be exact) are something every family should experience. We drove up Pikes Peak and while you need a reliable vehicle because of the high altitude (your car should be able to idle at the top and handle multiple gear shifts), this two-hour drive (about 38 miles both ways) was both scenic and something we all enjoyed. On a clear day, these gorgeous views can be seen for 100 miles. If you don’t want to drive yourself, consider a Jeep or bus tour. Don't forget to bring altitude sickness supplements.
FOR SERIOUS FAMILY ADVENTURERS: Imagine yourself riding down Pikes Peak and having the time of your life. The Pikes Peak Bike Tour allows you a descent 7,000 feet down on bikes they supply along with a guide and more:
- Continental breakfast
- Kona Bike rental (professionally maintained new bikes are added every year)
- Pikes Peak Highway toll fee
- Lunch– your choice between two locally-owned, nationally-recognized restaurants! BBQ or Mediterranean– several menu options at both restaurants!
- Souvenir water bottle
No matter how you experience North America’s most visited mountain (2nd most visited mountain in the world behind Mount Fuji), Pikes Peak has plenty to experience and our Colorado Springs Family Adventure Guide will help you navigate the best adventures around.
Cave of the Winds
Cave of the Winds Mountain Park is located in Manitou Springs and is a popular attraction amongst tourists. With Cave of the Winds, you can go underground and experience Cave Tours. There are three cave tours to choose from depending on the ages of kids and level of adventure or love of scary stories.
- Discovery Tour – This 1 hour long guided tour was a family favorite. About a ½ mile long, the cave features concrete walkways in 15 rooms and 196 stairs. Some of the tour is a little darker but it is otherwise well lit and perfect for all ages.
- Lantern Tour – This historical spooky adventure was vetoed by our youngest but is definitely on our “must-do” list for next time. If your kids are a little older (at least 6 and up), this candlelight guided tour is one mile of narrow, dark tunnels and muddy floors along with folklore and unexplained mysteries of the Manitou Grands.
- Caving 101 – This 2.5-hour tour is for those 13 and older who want to learn basic spelunking skills plus get a geology lesson while climbing/crawling/walking through a muddy cave. This is the ultimate family adventure.
While everyone goes to Cave of the Winds to tour the caves, did you know that there are some fun activities in addition to those caves? For a small fee, you can purchase a bag of dirt for the kids to sift through that contains gemstones, arrowheads, and more. Each of our kids got to pick a bag and then spent some time cleaning anything that looked promising. They loved discovering what was in each bag and said that this adventure had to be a part of our Colorado Springs Family Adventure Guide.
If you’d rather hang out outside of the caves, Caves of the Winds also offers above-ground adventures.
- Magic Lantern Theater
- Via Ferrata
- The Bat-A-Pult
- Wind Walker Challenge Course (pictured below)
Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
The Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center is a nonprofit sanctuary for wolves & wild canines offering guided tours & conservation programs. This reservations-required facility features several different types of tours allowing you to get up close and personal. The Interactive Alpha Tour is about 20-25 minutes long and features feeding the wolves along with a more detailed visit depending on how interactive the wolves are being.
Guides stress the importance of:
- wolves, coyotes, and foxes on our eco-system
- preservation and conservation of the forests, land, and water that support wildlife, flora, and fauna for future generations to enjoy.
During our 1 hour tour, we saw wolves, coyotes, fox, and learned about the history of the conservancy. What was interesting to learn is that the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center is one of very few sanctuaries in the United States certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). They actively participate in the Species Survival Program by providing a home to Mexican Grey Wolves and Swift Foxes, practice conservation every day at the sanctuary, and participate in many community programs. We came away from this tour having a much greater respect for these beautiful animals and wanting to come back for another visit.
Manitou Springs Penny Arcade
The Manitou Springs Penny Arcade is a cool place to hang out and play old arcade games. You’ll find games like pinball, skeeball, and more where you can spend hours getting lost in the game. The whole family will enjoy spending time here, just playing games, laughing, and taking a walk down memory lane. There are over 400 games to check out in this indoor/outdoor space.
The kids enjoyed learning about the games we used to play as kids and then beating us at those games. Many of the games offer tickets to winners which can be collected and then redeemed for various prizes like candy and other toys. We all loved getting our fortune told by the many fortune teller machines available and getting to learn about each one of our astrological signs with the scrolls made famous in the 80s. We spent over four hours enjoying ourselves and went back the next day for even more fun.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Founded in 1926, America’s only “mountain zoo,” the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs is a non-profit zoo (one of the nine out of 230) accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) relying solely on membership fees for operations rather than tax support. We spent several hours with the 750 animals, 170+ species living at 6800 feet above sea level. Our kids especially loved the unique enclosures which allow you to get a little more up close and personal with your favorite animals.
Open 365 days a year, the zoo offers a historic carousel, Mountaineer Sky Ride, gorgeous views of both the Pikes Peak Region and all of Colorado Springs, picnic areas, summer camps, special tours, zookeeper talks, educational programs, exciting conservation efforts and so much more.
Manitou Cliff Dwellings
The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are a group of relocated Anasazi ruins cliff dwellings and museums located just west of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Enthusiasts have gathered historical artifacts to help bring the dwellings to life since 1907 which helped unravel the mystery of Native Americans.
Just five miles west of Colorado Springs, it is recommended to visit early morning or late afternoon to avoid those large summer crowds. We explored the outdoor dwellings with an audio tour using our smartphones followed by a nature walk through their gardens. There are 4 separate museums along with various gift shops to enjoy. Make certain to search online for coupons and discounts before visiting.
North Pole – Santa's Workshop
Christmas lovers unite as this enchanted Colorado family theme park, The North Pole – Santa’s Workshop features rides for the whole family and something for everyone. From the antique car ride to the Candy Cane Roller Coaster to meeting Santa and his elves, you’ll find 20+ family-friendly, fun rides along with exciting entertainment options making it a solid choice for this Colorado Springs Family Adventure Guide. We saw a cool glass blower show, and a fun magic show and played a little in the arcade during our visit. You can visit Santa's house plus catch the Elmer the Elf show all year long. As a bonus, parents can send letters from kids (through around December 10th) to get postcards and letters postmarked from the North Pole. How cool is that? Details can be found on their site.
Garden of the Gods Horseback Riding with Academy Riding Stables
The Garden of the Gods is a public park right in Colorado Springs that was named a National Natural Landmark in 1971. Located at the base of Pikes Peak, our professionally guided 2.5 hour+ ride featured scenic vistas over the entire city of Colorado and amazing geological red rock formations over nature trails. Our Academy Riding Stables guides were true horse and nature lovers as they provided commentary on sights, history, flora, and fauna. This was such an amazing way to see one of the most beautiful areas of Colorado Springs.
You’ll find crowds no matter what time of day or year you visit. There is also free parking, lots of picnic areas, free admission to the Visitor & Nature Center, and a cool glass café overlooking Pikes Peak AND Garden of the Gods.
Colorado Springs Escape Room
If you ever want to know how well you work together as a family, then visit an escape room. Locked In Escapes is rated #3 on Trip Advisor for Fun & Games in Colorado Springs and rightfully so. Each escape room is interactive, and immersive and allows you the chance to escape by finding and decoding clues plus solving puzzles with the end goal of leaving the room.
Win or lose, you do get to learn all of the secrets of the room in the hour allotted to “escape.” While we didn’t win, we did learn about the strengths of each family member which did let us go on to win several escape rooms once we got back to our hometown of Atlanta. This one visit turned into our new family go-to activity and was a must-do in our Colorado Springs Family Adventure Guide.
Old Colorado City
Just like it sounds, Old Colorado City, founded in 1859 was the first capital of the Territory of Colorado as well as the early settlement center of the Pikes Peak region. In what used to be a town, is now a fun shopping spot and neighborhood within the city of Colorado Springs, Colorado. When old minors needed supplies, they came to Old Colorado City and since being added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, there is plenty to shop, explore, and discover. Tour galleries, visit different artists at work, check out fine dining options, attend seasonal events, shop in quaint stores, see police on horseback, and more in this city full of historic character and small-town charm. No Colorado Springs Family Adventure Guide is complete without a visit to this quaint part of the city.
With picturesque views of exemplary red-sandstorm mountains, beautiful forest hiking trails, and an elevation of 6,035 feet, you won’t want to be anywhere else other than Colorado. A family adventure to Colorado Springs is a dream come true that will create cherished memories for years to come. We hope that this Family Things To Do in Colorado Springs post inspires you. Happy travels!
This Family Things To Do in Colorado Springs post has been sponsored by Colorado Springs CVB | VisitCOS.com.