Friday, June 6, 2014

FAMILY FAVORITES FRIDAY: Colorado Springs

 When summer starts heating up in Texas, I am ready to head to the mountains.

Over the years we have visited Colorado Springs several times. 

There are many things to do as a family that are free, so it is easy on the vacation budget.



For lodging, I recommend finding a house on Vacation Rental By Owner.  This allows you to cook your own meals and it is usually the same price, if not cheaper than a hotel.

You could also camp.  I don't recall camping in the Colorado Springs area, but it may have happened.

Some of our favorite family-friendly places to visit are:

Garden of the Gods
There are many walking trails, a visitor and nature center, and rock climbing (with proper equipment). The Trading Post is always a fun stop, even if you don't buy anything.

Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Hiking trails and mountain bike trails 
Less developed than Garden of the Gods, but has some very interesting trails


Starsmore Discovery Center
Complete with a hummingbird garden and many hummingbird feeders, this nature center is sure to fascinate your children.  There are some short trails here as well as a picnic area.  For more mountain trails, head up the mountain to:

North Cheyenne Canyon Park  
There are many trails of varying length and difficulty here.  We have hiked the Helen Hunt Falls Trail several times.  It is steep, but the beautiful falls are worth the short hike.


Pike's Peak Crags Trail
If you would like a longer, challenging hike, you can hike up the back of Pike's Peak.  Some of my family did this one year.  This hike is not for the novice hiker.  You do need to start at dawn to be off the mountain before afternoon thunderstorms and possible lightening strikes.  If you plan to do this hike, please do your research first.   


If you would like some free indoor activities, be sure to visit:

Focus on the Family Visitor Center
The visitor center includes a 3 story slide that children (and adults) will love.  There is a Whit's End Soda Shop where you can get reasonably priced lunch or snacks.  The children's area is very fun.  For the adults, there is a book store, G. Harvey Art Gallery, and a coffee bar.  There is really a lot to do here; a family could easily spend several hours.

Olympic Training Center
Free guided tours of the Olympic Training Center are available as well as a Visitor Center. 

The Air Force Academy
Visiting the Air Force Academy is especially interesting to boys.  I love the chapel (which is the photo on my STEM post). I highly recommend that you take the time to visit the Air Force Academy.

All these free activities can keep a family busy for many days.
Do you have a favorite activity in the Colorado Springs area?

When the temperatures start rising, consider heading to the mountains!


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