Accessibility in Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs is hard at work in its drive to become a more accessible city. Leading the way are several top attractions in the Pikes Peak region, each with its own unique approach to ensuring an amazing experience for all. If you are planning a visit to the Springs and need accommodations or you are a local looking for accessible adventures, this list of attractions is for you!
The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum
The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum has some of the most robust accessibility in the Pikes Peak region. Before we get into that, let’s talk about why you want to go. The Museum is a beautiful space located in Downtown Colorado Springs overlooking America the Beautiful Park and a certain massive fourteener (Pikes Peak). It is a treasure trove of Olympic and Paralympic history filled with artifacts from amazing athletes and memorable matchups. Many of the exhibits are hands-on or involve interactive technology that immerses visitors in their experience. There are 12 galleries to explore, each with its own special theme or focus.
Accessibility-wise, it is leading the pack. The entire museum is wheelchair accessible, which means it is also helpful for individuals that utilize other walking assistance like canes or walkers. In fact, your tour begins with an elevator ride regardless of your body’s ability and then the entire experience continues down through the exhibits on a ramped path. The museum also goes beyond mobility needs to accommodate other disabilities as well. For example, you can elect to use the museum’s RFID-powered Visitor Credential, which allows you to customize your experience to your unique accessibility needs. There are open captions, description tracks, assisted listening and guided tours to help everyone engage in a way that is meaningful and experiential. Give them a call before your tour to get the details and prepare for your visit!
Pikes Peak — America’s Mountain
The brand-new Summit Visitor Center on Pikes Peak has done far more than spiff up the visitor center at the top of the mountain. It has also delivered a whole new experience for folks with accessibility needs. Perched at the top of America’s Mountain, Summit Visitor Center visitors are treated to views that extend for hundreds of miles and, on a clear day, the ability to view the horizons of Colorado’s neighboring states. The drive up is equally beautiful, taking visitors through multiple life zones, each with their own unique flora and fauna.
The Pikes Peak Highway launches your adventure, with an entirely drivable route that takes you from the gate to the visitor center without the need to leave your car. If you like, you can utilize the audio tour of Pikes Peak to enhance your experience and provide listening tools for all passengers. Once at the top, guests can explore the summit via paved outdoor walkways. The previous summit experience made it difficult for individuals with mobility needs to navigate the various views and informative signage. Now, every guest can learn about – and fall in love with the peak and its surrounding terrain. The interior of the Summit Visitor Center includes an elevator, roomy gift shop, dining hall and accessible doors. It’s worth mentioning that the Pikes Peak Cog Railway that brings visitors from Manitou Springs to the summit also has limited accessible seating you can call to request when booking tickets. That affords visitors two accessible ways to summit the peak.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is a family favorite in Colorado Springs. Built into the mountainside above the Broadmoor, this privately funded zoo is home to animals from all over the world. It has spent decades investing in the development of animal enclosures that are a positive experience for both guests and inhabitants. Some of the most beloved features of the zoo include the ability to feed giraffes and budgies, the roaming peacocks, the new Asian Highlands exhibit and the fact that the whole zoo has stunning views at every turn.
As you can probably imagine, making a mountainside zoo wheelchair accessible is quite the feat. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has spent several years modifying various areas of the zoo to make it easier for all visitors to enjoy the experience. The biggest challenge? The steep grade of some of their paths! To make it simple for wheelchair users, the zoo provides a wheelchair-accessible shuttle that stops at popular points throughout the zoo. There are two elevators provided for animal enclosures with the steepest grades (one near the bears and another near the colobus monkeys at the beginning of the zoo). The rest of the inclines are navigable by human-powered or electric-powered wheelchairs. You can also rent a motorized or push wheelchair at the gift shop. There are even wagons you can rent for the kiddos. Folks who need a service dog are allowed in many parts of the zoo, although some areas may be restricted for the safety of both dog and owner. The zoo offers a map of the no-go and go-go-go zones. Last, individuals who need the support of a paid caregiver or assistant are afforded one free ticket to accommodate their assistant/helper.
Memorial Park Swing High Playground
Need to let the kids burn off some extra energy? Memorial Park’s accessible playground will please kids of all abilities. Memorial Park is located just east of Downtown Colorado Springs, right off of Pikes Peak Avenue. The park is a beautiful space with rolling green hills, sports fields and a huge lake. Surrounding the lake is a paved trail that can take visitors on a waterside adventure or lead them to one of the many pavilions and picnic areas. Visitors are able to paddle-board or kayak on non-motorized days. Many areas of the park are accessible, but the real stand-out feature is their adorable, accommodating playground found southwest of Prospect Lake.
Easily spotted by its towering daisy sculptures, this popular playground is a real gem for kids with disabilities. Designed to look like a whimsical forest, Swing High is leading the way in immersive play for all. Let’s start with the fact that the play structure itself is wheelchair accessible. Kids who use mobility equipment can hang with their friends and enjoy accessible panels with activities that meet the height and distance requirements for accommodating young wheelchair users. The playground also has harness swings with back support to give every kid the chance to “swing high.” The playground base is a soft rubber to cushion tough falls and there are accessible paths all around the main structure. As a final bonus, the tables in that area are elevated!
Colorado Springs Attractions with Partial or Special Accessibility
The attractions above have a lot of accessible features. However, due to the nature of some of our activities here, not all attractions are able to accommodate all needs. The attractions below can make special or partial accommodations. Just call ahead to discuss your needs.
Echo Canyon Outfitters
Echo Canyon goes above and beyond to welcome guests with disabilities – you just need to call ahead and thoroughly explain your needs. Their guides are friendly and helpful and make guests feel comfortable and at ease. They are extremely cautious and prioritize safety without sacrificing any of the fun.
Adventures Out West
This rad crew of adventurers just added a wheelchair accessible Jeep to their fleet of already awesome vehicles. AOW Jeep tours can take you all over the Pikes Peak region in style. The crew is really fun and friendly and they love to show every rider the best time.
Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad
With a little help from the team, you and your family can journey through the hills behind Cripple Creek and Victor and see the remnants of old mining encampments. The open-air car creates a dynamic ride. The train is pet-friendly, so even non-working doggos are welcome.
The shuttle accommodates wheelchairs and many of the pathways around the falls are wheelchair accessible. There are a few areas that cannot be navigated on wheels, hence the “partial” designation. You will still get many gorgeous views of the cascading waters and the opportunity to explore the lower paths.
We can’t wait to welcome you to Colorado Springs. We hope each of these attractions can provide you the memorable experience you deserve while accommodating your accessibility needs. If you need more advice or info about the capabilities of specific attractions, please give us a call. We want you to have the best time ever.