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Old 08-26-2013, 08:47 AM
 
87 posts, read 91,915 times
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My family and I will be arriving Saturday afternoon and leaving Wednesday. From what I hear COS will be pretty busy Saturday and Sunday because of the USAF Academy stuff going on. I was thinking about going to see a few places just outside COS on Sat/Sun and then hang around the local areas Mon/Tues. Here is my list of places/days to visit:

Sat/Sun -
*Royal Gorge - Even though the park is closed do you think it would be still be cool to go there?
*Manitou Springs -
*Woodland Park - Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center

Mon/Tues -
*Garden of the Gods
*Pikes Peak
*Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and State Park
*Red Rock Canyon
*North Cheyenne Canon Park


Anything that I am missing please let me know. We also plan to just drive around the city and scope everything out. Thanks in advance for your recommendations!

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Old 08-26-2013, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Black Forest, CO
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Yep it's parents weekend at USAF. I find that restaurants are difficult to get into without a wait so either expect that, or make reservations or use call ahead. Things may be less busy on the southern end of town.

Royal Gorge - not sure you can see much of it without going in the park - curious if others know...

You might take a drive though the Air Force Academy grounds.

If you happen to be downtown, the Pioneer Museum is free and has much info on local history.

In Manitou, pick up a map of the mineral springs at the vistor center and walk to some of them to sample them. They each taste different.

If you are in the area near Cheyenne Canyon, take a drive by the Starr Kempf house - cool wind-driven metal sculptures in the lawn of this home where the artist once lived. Probably not worth a special trip there, but neat to drive by, park and get out of the car and look for a few minutes. Starr Kempf's Metal Sculptures - Colorado Springs - Reviews of Starr Kempf's Metal Sculptures - TripAdvisor
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Memphis, TN
255 posts, read 616,096 times
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We loved 7 Falls and Cave of the Winds, too.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:35 AM
 
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Personally, I would rather go to Florissant Fossil Beds than the Dinosaur Resource Center, but that is a matter of preference. It would surprise me greatly if you can even approach Royal Gorge, but like the previous poster, I do not know. The Royal Gorge train (https://www.royalgorgeroute.com/) is running, and I think that is a better way to see the Gorge anyway.

I am particularly enamored with Phantom Canyon Road, out of Victor. I'd rather take that drive than see Royal Gorge. Phantom Canyon Road | GoldBeltByway.com. With an early start you could get donuts at the Donut Mill in Woodland Park (The Donut Mill Woodland Park Colorado - Welcome to the World Famous Donut Mill), drive down and through Phantom Canyon, back up US 50 and 115 to I-25 and still be back in time to take in the zoo.

Mueller State Park (Mueller | Colorado Parks and Wildlife) has some great hikes, if you care for that sort of thing.

There is also the cog railway to the top of Pikes Peak: Pike's Peak Cog Railway - The world's highest cog railroad, the highest Colorado railroad AND highest train in the United States..
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Manitou Springs
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Your admission to the zoo also gets you on a road that wends and winds above the zoo and takes you to the Will Rogers Shrine: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo – Will Rogers Shrine - You'll be afforded amazing views of the city and the eastern plains.

If you're not used to mountain driving, I'm not sure I'd recommend Phantom Canyon Road ... It can be quite hairy and with all the rain we've had, I'm not sure what kind of shape it's in (though that's easy enough to find out) - it is a very beautiful drive, I agree.

You can plan to ride the cog railway to the top of Pikes Peak, and then when you return, explore the town of Manitou Springs (where the train leaves from). Best to do the train in the morning, because the weather in the afternoons can be iffy, especially on the mountain.

Agree with other poster - Florrisant Fossil Beds over the dinosaur museum. Instead of going back the way you came, continue on the road from the fossil beds (County Rd. 1 - a pretty little drive) to the old gold mining (now gambling) town of Cripple Creek and then back out to Highway 24 via Rt. 67 from Cripple Creek, for a different way home.

There is a neat little train ride you can do in Cripple Creek if you have the time: Cripple Creek Railroad

Have fun!

Ooops - amended to say I was thinking of "Shelf Road" when I mentioned a hairy drive above. Now that road is an adventure.

Last edited by mtngigi; 08-26-2013 at 01:44 PM.. Reason: added info
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:31 PM
 
87 posts, read 91,915 times
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Thanks for all the suggestions. The Starr Kemps Metal Sculptures sounds cool and so does the donut mill/phantom canyon drive. keep the suggestions coming!
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:37 PM
 
Location: Manitou Springs
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Catch the Kempf sculptures on your way into North Cheyenne Canyon - they're very close by. Make sure to visit here:

Starsmore Discovery Center: Reviews & Upcoming Events - The Gazette

It's a beautiful little place at the entrance to the canyon. In the canyon itself there are many places to stop and have a picnic, if you're so inclined.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Black Forest, CO
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If you are wanting to go on a longer drive, check out Bishops Castle. This place is really bizarre (and the builder is kind of bizarre too). http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio..._Colorado.html

Probably about a 1.5 to 2 hour drive south east of Colorado Springs.
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:07 PM
 
Location: Colorado
409 posts, read 612,072 times
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We were driving by Royal Gorge a few weeks ago, and thought we'd drive in and see if you could see anything. The road was blocked off well before anything interesting, though it'll break your heart to see the black sticks and scorched earth.

If you don't want to be sad the rest of the day, visit Royal Gorge *next* time.
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:16 PM
 
Location: Prescott Valley,az summer/east valley Az winter
2,049 posts, read 3,734,046 times
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What? no mention of the Balloon classic at prospect lake? Or cave of the winds?

Didn't see US Olympic center on the list either!

When you are in the Springs this weekend about 7:30 to 8 am just look up! Love the balloons~ evenings they have the glow!

Royal gorge is worth skipping but if you want that long of a drive the Colorado State fair is in Pueblo.

Younger kids might enjoy going to the north pole.
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