Western Museum of Mining & Industry#12 in Best Things To Do in Colorado Springs
To get a taste for the city's rich history as a Colorado Gold Rush mining town, stop at the Western Museum of Mining & Industry. Here, you'll learn what it took to make the most of the area's resources, from the machines used to extract precious minerals (like gold) to the laws used to protect the American Frontier from over-mining. While here, you can also try your hand at gold-panning and see for yourself the effort it takes to get rich.
You're welcome to explore the museum on your own, but many recent visitors recommended tagging along on a guided tour, saying that they were educational and fun for all ages. Previous museumgoers also advised planning your visit around one of the facility's special events, which many say are specifically geared toward kids.
You'll find this museum approximately 15 miles north of central Colorado Springs along Route 87. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and tours are offered at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Admission costs $10 for adults, $8 for students 13 and older and seniors 60 and older, and $6 for children between the ages of 4 and 12. Children 3 and younger enter for free. The price of admission includes the guided tour. You can find more information on the Western Museum of Mining & Industry 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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