If you’re looking for a vacation destination with tons of entertainment for both kids and adults, the city of Colorado Springs should be at the top of your list. Whether you prefer indoor or outdoor activities or a mix of both, there are plenty of family-friendly things to do in Colorado Springs and its surrounding areas. Let’s have a look at some of the most appealing attractions!
Take the Family on an Adventure
If you’re craving fun activities, Adventures From Scratch offers unique ideas to help you create new experiences for the whole family. With categories like “Get Silly,” “Explore,” and “Move,” our scratch-off book, Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition, allows you to uncover over 50 different challenges. Learn about each other, bond, and make memories in Colorado Springs, or anywhere in the world!
Family-Friendly Fun in Colorado Springs
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Occupying 146 acres on a picturesque mountainside resting at an elevation of 6,714 feet, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is home to more than 800 animals representing over 200 species. This award-winning zoo has multiple exhibits that are sure to delight children and adults in equal measure, including:
- African Rift Valley
- Australia Walkabout
- Water’s Edge: Africa
- Monkey Pavilion
- The Loft
- Asian Highlands
- Making Waves
- Primate World
- My Big Backyard
- And more!
While viewing animals in facsimiles of their natural habitats can take up a whole day on its own, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has plenty of other things to see and do. You can take a ride on a carousel or a ski lift, for example. You can also arrange for your family to have a personal, custom animal experience.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo hosts camps, classes, field trips, and special events throughout the year. From date night safaris to stroller safaris, VIP group tours, and private animal encounters, you can do them all and more at the zoo. Even if you can’t visit the zoo, you can still experience the zoo online from any location with an internet connection. You can even adopt an animal and enjoy a lifetime of amusement with your newest family member.
If one of your kids will celebrate a birthday during your stay in Colorado Springs, you may want to take advantage of one of the zoo’s birthday party packs. Animal feedings, gift bags, and a personalized birthday button are all included in each birthday party pack, and more amenities are added to each higher celebratory pack. With each pack including admission for 15 or 30 people, celebrating a birthday at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is an affordable way to make your child enjoy their special day.
The North Pole – Santa’s Workshop
Do you love the holiday season? If you enjoy the holidays, we suggest you visit the place where the celebration of Christmas starts long before the holiday itself rolls around, The North Pole – Santa’s Workshop. Located at the base of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, The North Pole – Santa’s Workshop is home to Santa’s Village and Kris Kringle himself.
The spirit of Christmas is alive and well at The North Pole year-round. Nestled at 7,500 feet above sea level, The North Pole is a holiday oasis for kids of all ages. Entertaining families for more than six decades, The North Pole boasts more than two dozen rides.
When you arrive at The North Pole, you’ll see rides that can be broken down into several broad categories. The park’s child-only rides include Kiddie Commander, Kiddie Wheel, Midge-O Racers, and Pony Carts. Family rides include Candy Cane Coaster, Carousel, Dive Bombers, Paratrooper, and Peppermint Slide. Granny Bug, Sky Ride, and an antique car ride are some of the park’s infant- and toddler-friendly rides.
While you don’t have to pay to visit The North Pole – Santa’s Workshop, you do have to purchase a wristband to ride the rides. Although the rides are exciting, it’s the park’s boutique shops are equally enticing. Stop by and find some unique gifts and keepsakes! Similarly, the park’s eateries are great choices to grab a yummy meal, snack, or beverage.
Garden of the Gods
If you want to visit one of the area’s most visited attractions, you should take your family to the Garden of the Gods. This breathtaking park offers gorgeous views of towering sandstone rock formations that rest against a backdrop of oft-blue skies and the perennially present Pikes Peak.
Fun things abound at Garden of the Gods Park! It has more than 21 miles of hiking trails that range in both difficulty and length. You can take an electric bike tour, or you can go biking on a more traditional bicycle. Alternatively, you can sign up for a guided Jeep or Segway tour through the park. If climbing is your thing, you can go front range climbing during your visit. Front range climbing trips kick off every thirty minutes at the park’s visitor center.
Garden of the Gods is home to a world-class Visitor & Nature Center where you and your loved ones can enjoy interactive exhibits and HD movies. To enjoy a meal while you soak in amazing views, grab a table in the park’s glass-enclosed café or on the open-air terrace.
From the moment you arrive at Garden of the Gods, you’ll wonder how much natural beauty can be present in one place. It’s that very beauty that inspired the area’s original surveyors to give the park its name back in 1859. When they happened upon the area that’s now a designated National Natural Landmark, one of the surveyors proclaimed the park a fit place for the gods to assemble, and that the perceived beer garden was to be named Garden of the Gods.
America the Beautiful Park Fantasy Playground
If you want to spend a day enjoying some fresh Colorado air, you should take your gang over to America the Beautiful Park Fantasy Playground. Once you arrive, you can enjoy stretching out in a hammock, or you can challenge your family members to contests with spinner bowls and turntables.
As you tour the grounds, you’ll come across various pieces of art that are deliberately interactive. These artworks are referred to as Quirks, and they’re the products of nearly 100 students who attended Bristol Elementary, Columbia Elementary, Globe Charter, and Washington Elementary schools. Each Quirk has its own life story that you can read as you make your way through the park.
If your kids are full of energy, you can try to wear them out a bit by taking them along one of the park’s easy walking paths. For a more robust outdoor adventure, you and your kids can explore Pikes Peak Greenway Trail or Midland Trail. When it’s time for lunch or an early dinner, you can set things up on one of the conveniently located picnic tables in the park’s pavilion.
Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center
A world-class museum located in Woodland Park, the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center is a must-visit for anyone who is captivated by dinosaurs. When you step into the museum, you’ll be transported back in time to the Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs, prehistoric marine reptiles, and pterosaurs ruled the land. As you make your way through the museum, you can read about each specimen’s discovery and view graphics that will help you better envision each one as a living being.
During your visit, make sure you check out the museum’s working fossil laboratory where you can see paleontological finds being freed from rock as they’re carefully restored. You should also take your kids to the children’s area where they can dig out fossils in the dig box, read books, and create their own dinosaur.
Guided tours of the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center are included with the price of admission. The tours run throughout the day, and they last about one hour. If one of your children’s birthdays falls on a date during your family vacation in Colorado Springs and you don’t want to celebrate at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, you may want to celebrate the occasion at the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center. The museum offers several affordable birthday packages.
Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Adjacent to Manitou Springs and located on the western side of Colorado Springs is Red Rock Canyon Open Space. This park occupies 1,474 acres of mountain land. The park consists of various ridges and canyons that offer many opportunities for family pictures and enjoyable activities. Hiking, climbing, biking, jogging, and horseback riding are just some of the fun things you and your family can do when you visit the vast park.
In addition to trails, Red Rock Canyon Open Space has an educational piece of sedimentary geology that’s more than 240 million years old. The park also has several picnic areas, which make it convenient to share a family meal in a wonderfully natural environment.
If you visit Section 16 in the park, you’ll see that the sediment is truncated by the Ute Pass Fault. At that spot, you’ll also notice that the surrounding geology changes suddenly, shifting to rocks that are much older than their neighbors. Given the park’s varied terrain, you can see a wide range of plants and wildlife as you make your way through Red Rock Canyon Open Space.
May Natural History Museum
A popular, kid-friendly stop that’s been around for decades, May Natural History Museum is an enduring roadside museum that’s been wowing children for generations. Situated at the bottom of the Rocky Mountains, the museum is home to one of the largest private collections of insects in the world. For more than eight decades, the museum’s founder James May crossed the globe to find more than 100,000 specimens of bugs, insects, and other “creepy, crawly” things.
All in all, the museum has more than 7,000 insects on display. Here are some of the insects your kids will have the chance to see during a visit to the May Natural History Museum:
- Beautiful butterflies
- Tropical spiders
- Strange beetles
- Deadly scorpions
- And so much more!
Even if you don’t have a particular interest in bugs or insects, a visit to the May Natural History Museum is still worth it. The founder’s story alone makes a visit worthwhile. John May was self-made, and he had two grown men working for him by the time he turned 13 years old. Working for 16 – 18 hours a day and always striving to quench his constant thirst for knowledge, May started his museum by displaying his father’s exotic collection in tents and pavilions.
In 1947, May made the concrete blocks for what is now the May Natural History Museum. To support the museum’s further construction and operation, May opened a campground. The May family still operates a local campground that’s called The Golden Eagle Ranch. If you’re vacationing on a budget, a stay at the May family’s campgrounds is a good way to keep the cost of your accommodations reasonable without forcing you to go without modern amenities like complimentary Wi-Fi.
Ghost Town Museum
Despite its name, Ghost Town Museum isn’t known for its paranormal activity or ghost sightings. Instead, the museum is celebrated for preserving the Wild West that dominated the Pikes Peak area from 1858 through 1891.
During those years, people made their way to Colorado to mine for gold. As more and more prospectors landed in the area surrounding Pikes Peak, encampments morphed into small towns brimming with fortune seekers. By the time gold was found in Cripple Creek in 1891, the area’s gold fever and frontier spirit had dissipated, with many abandoning the towns that were created to support the gold rush.
Ghost Town Museum was founded in 1954 to preserve tidbits of Colorado’s Old West heritage for generations to come. The “town” is housed in a historic structure built by the Colorado Midland Railroad back in 1899. As you walk through the museum, you’ll enjoy an authentic Wild West experience while you view period buildings and artifacts.
While there’s plenty to see at Ghost Town Museum, there are also a lot of things to do. For starters, you can try your hand at churning butter. You can have a picnic on the grounds, play an antique arcade game, take a shot in the shooting gallery, pan for real gold in the seasonal panning areas, and enjoy old-timey sarsaparilla as well. To learn more about Colorado’s gold mining years, you and your family can watch a short film during your museum visit.
Penny Arcade — Manitou Springs
Nestled just off Main Street, the Penny Arcade should be your destination if you’re looking for fun things to do in Colorado Springs. The Penny Arcade is where you’ll find antique and more modern arcade games that are perfect for players of all ages. While some games still cost only a penny to play, most cost more than one cent.
When you arrive at the Penny Arcade, you’ll see that the amusement park consists of several buildings. Each structure houses its own unique set of games, and every building has a different look and feel as a result. In addition to games like Skeet ball, pool, DDR, and pinball, the Penny Arcade has some small electronic rides that are appropriate for younger kids.
Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad
Are you planning a family vacation in Colorado Springs between late May and Labor Day? If so, you should put “visit Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad” on your to-do list. This attraction is where you and your family can take a round-trip ride on a steam locomotive that’s way more than 100 years old. During your ride on the train, you’ll pass Cripple Creek’s southern out, the old Midland Terminal Wye, and a few historic mines. Your adventure will even take you over a reconstructed trestle.
Train rides launch every 70 from the attraction’s 1894 depot. The depot is home to a gift shop where you can buy unique gifts for the entire family.
During your four-mile train trip, a narration will run so you can learn about the area’s rich gold mining history. Every trip lasts about 45 minutes, during which you’ll enjoy all the beautiful colors and features of the surrounding landscape. If you have younger children, a visit to Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad is an affordable attraction because kids under three years of age can ride the train for free.
Bear Creek Regional Park and Nature Center
Do you want to enjoy the outdoors without having to travel outside of Colorado Springs? If that idea appeals to you, it’s wise to head over to Bear Creek Regional Park and Nature Center. This multi-use park sprawls over hundreds of acres that are home to Bear Creek, meadows, ponderosa pine forests, scrub oak thicket, and a vast array of wildlife.
In addition to its natural splendor, the park has miles and miles of trails that are great for walking, biking, horseback riding, jogging, and hiking. Its numerous trails aren’t the only amenities you’ll enjoy when you visit the park. Here are some of the additional amenities that will be available to you at the park:
- Archery range
- Equestrian course
- Bear Creek Dog Park
- Two tennis courts
- Volleyball court
- Charmaine Nymann Community Garden
- Horseshoe pit
When you visit Bear Creek Regional Park, make sure you check out the nature center. The nature center has some cool interactive exhibits that will teach your kids about nature. Depending on when you visit, you may want to sign your children up for one of the center’s nature camps, birding classes, or working beehive demonstrations.
Memorial Park is another great option if you want to enjoy the outdoors without having to leave the city. A sprawling piece of real estate, Memorial Park has three trails that vary in length:
- Prospect Lake Fitness Trail, 1.25 miles
- Criterium Trail, 0.6 miles
- Perimeter Jogging Trail, 2.2 miles
The park has a long list of amenities that are sure to impress and entertain. Biking, skateboarding, and roller skating enthusiasts typically flock to the park’s sought-after velodrome. Many people find themselves at the Mark “Pa” Sertich Ice Center taking public ice-skating lessons at various times of the year.
Some of the park’s other features include:
- Aquatic center
- Fitness room
- Play area
- 15 football/soccer fields
- 12 tennis courts
- Three softball/baseball fields
- Picnic area
- Horseshoe pits
- Three playgrounds
- Multi-play court
- Concession center
If you’re going to make a family reunion or a work event part of your vacation and you want an outdoor venue, consider hosting your function at Memorial Park. The park’s pavilion is available for rent as are the playgrounds.
Dr. Lester L. Williams Fire Museum
Does one of your kids aspire to become a firefighter when they’re older? If that’s the case, you should take your family to the Dr. Lester L. Williams Fire Museum, which is located inside the headquarters of the Colorado Springs Fire Department.
Dr. Williams served as the local fire station’s Fire Department Physician beginning in 1953 while simultaneously running his own medical practice as a urologist. The good doctor took his relationship with the fire department quite seriously, and he began collecting fire department artifacts almost immediately after his appointment as Fire Department Physician.
Prior to his death, Dr. Williams specified that he wanted his vast collection to be used to create a firehouse museum. In addition to the things Dr. Williams collected during his lifetime, the museum’s collection includes items donated by the doctor’s family members who were also firefighters.
A 1926 Ahrens Fox Pumper, an 1896 Champion Wagon, a fire belt display, a firefighter memorial statue, and an 1898 Metropolitan Steamer are just some of the things you can see when you visit the Dr. Lester L. Williams Fire Museum. Don’t forget to pick up a souvenir in the gift shop when you visit the museum!
Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Pikes Peak region of North America. Since 1891, Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway has been the world’s highest rail track and the longest cog railroad on the face of the globe.
When you visit this attraction, you can take a train ride up to Pikes Peak, which stands proudly at 14,115 feet above sea level. During your journey to the summit, you’ll see different habitats, waterways, and canyons.
Rebuilt over the last three years, Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway now offers an all-new experience for eager guests to enjoy. Riding the train to the top of America’s Mountain isn’t the only thing you can do when you visit. You can also go zip lining. Ten zip-lines located in South Cheyenne Canyon will take you across Seven Falls and over cascades of water that crash into the box canyon below.
You can also visit Manitou Springs and book a stay at The Broadmoor, which is considered one of the most unique resorts in the world. For a more intimate experience with nature, consider a stay at Cloud Camp, which rests 3,000 feet above The Broadmoor.
No matter where you stay, you should visit Seven Falls before you leave. Seven Falls is a series of waterfalls located between the towering Pillars of Hercules. Just 224 steps separate you from hiking trails and boutique shops when you visit the falls’ banks.
Colorado Springs Scavenger Hunt
One of the most fun things you can do in Colorado Springs is to embark upon a scavenger hunt within the city’s limits. Our Colorado Springs Scavenger Hunts will take you to popular attractions and help you find hidden gems.
The Let’s Roam app will lead you and your family on a tour around Colorado Springs. As you progress along your journey, you’ll encounter attractions you might otherwise have overlooked. Why not purchase tickets for a scavenger hunt today?
Frequently Asked Questions
Although the city is at the base of the Rocky Mountains, it sits at 6000 ft above sea level. If you’re planning family fun in Colorado Springs, allow some time for all of you to adjust to the altitude.