U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center#6 in Best Things To Do in Colorado Springs
This facility in Colorado Springs is the flagship training center of the U.S. Olympic team and the active headquarters of the U.S. Olympic Committee. The 35-acre complex houses two Olympic-size swimming pools, as well as practice facilities for a variety of competitive sports, including fencing, gymnastics, weightlifting and wrestling. In addition to the athletes who live and train here, the center welcomes roughly 130,000 visitors each year and offers 15 guided tours each day during the summer months. Start your trip to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center at the Visitors Center, where you'll find detailed information about the complex. From there, you can make your way to the massive Hall of Fame, which honors some of the most spectacular athletes in U.S. Olympic history. In 2019, the city will open the U.S. Olympic Museum. Sitting on nearly 2 acres of land in the city's Southwest Downtown Urban Renewal District, the museum will boast interactive exhibit space, a theater, a gift shop, a cafe and a broadcast studio.
You're welcome to visit the Hall of Fame on your own, but many recent visitors recommended tagging along on a tour. A highlight for many recent visitors is that the tours are conducted by athletes currently training at the center. Other travelers loved having the opportunity to watch training sessions in action.
You can tour the Olympic & Paralympic Training Center Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the summer (June 1 to Aug. 15) and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday in the winter, with tours departing from the Visitor Center every 30 minutes. Admission to the complex – located in the heart of Colorado Springs – costs $15 for adults, $11 for children and $13 for seniors and members of the military. For more information, check the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center's website.
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#1 Garden of the Gods
It's easy to see how this natural landmark earned such an ethereal title: These magnificent red rock formations look as though deities themselves could've carved them. However, the sandstone pillars are, in fact, the work of geological activity along a natural fault line, as well as rainfall over millennia. You can learn about the garden's formations at the visitor and nature center, which houses numerous informative displays and hosts daily nature presentations. You are welcome to explore the park on your own time (either on foot or by bike); the visitor and nature center also offers guided hikes, as well as bike, Jeep, trolley and Segway tours (prices vary by vehicle and tour length). Or, if you're looking for a more authentic "Wild West" experience, you can reserve your spot on a guided horseback tour offered by Academy Riding Stables.
Because there is no admission fee if you are exploring the Garden of the Gods on your own; previous visitors recommended returning to the park throughout your time in Colorado Springs to see the rocks at different times of day. They also offered high praise for the knowledgeable staff at the visitor and nature center. Others were pleased to find out that many of the trails are paved – meaning those using strollers and wheelchairs can still access the park. If you don't want to deal with the landmark's heavy crowds, plan to arrive before 10 a.m. on a weekday.
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