Photo Credit: @jordanfisha
Black Friday Alternatives in Colorado Springs
A few years ago, a famous outdoor retail giant shocked the world by proclaiming that instead of opening on Black Friday, it would pay its employees a full day’s wage to get outside and enjoy time off with their friends and families. While we’re certainly not going to pan the awesome fun that is shopping for gifts, we thought an outdoor adventure day was a pretty rad idea. In that spirit of that bold move, we’ve decided to compile some amazing outdoor alternatives to shopping on Black Friday. We hope you enjoy them as much as we plan to!
Free Day at Cheyenne Mountain State Park
We were more than a little stoked when we heard that Colorado Parks and Wildlife were offering free admission to state parks on Black Friday. Start your day at the visitor center, where you can hang out by the fireplace, learn about the park or pick up a bottle of cold water for the hike ahead. The trails Cheyenne Mountain State Park range from easy-breezy to challenging and complex, which means novices and avid hikers can find the perfect path for outdoor exploration. The park will also be hosting some cool activities to show you why the park is totally worth paying for any other time of year.
Roam the Garden of the Gods
North of Cheyenne Mountain State Park is an outdoor adventure that’s free year-round. Garden of the Gods is the perfect cycling, hiking or just plain walking locale to breathe in that fresh Colorado air and burn off those post-thanksgiving calories. Of course, if you’re sick of turkey and pie and don’t give a fig about caloric intake, you can head over to the Trading Post for a burger and some ice cream (we won’t tell you didn’t have leftovers).
Photo Credit: @thewanderlustlife_
Winter at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Speaking of a calorie burn, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo didn’t get its name for having flat walking trails. It may be winter, but the zoo is totally open and ready for you to party on its hills and trails. Get your cardio on while meeting some of the world’s coolest animals, playing in the Big Backyard and checking out cool rides like the merry-go-round and the Sky Ride. Did we mention there are budgies and giraffes to feed? Not a bad way to spend Black Friday, right?
Play the Day Away at Palmer Park
This multi-use park is another one that’s forever-free for visitors, offering tons of activities that anyone can enjoy. The playground is utterly huge and always loaded with kiddos, ensuring your own small humans can make new best friends. If hiking or cycling is more your speed, there are lots of trails leading to gorgeous views, hidden caves and little-known outdoor magic right in the heart of the city. Bring your well-behaved, four-legged pals, too. There’s a giant dog park where they can zoom to their heart’s content.
Explore Red Rocks Open Space
From its giant quarry to its miles of trails, Red Rocks Open Space is a gem of an outdoor open space just south of Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs. You can take a short hike if you want, but the trails go far and wide into the wilderness, giving you maximum opportunity to explore on foot or by bike. Like Palmer Park, there’s even a place for pets, with an off-leash trail for your dog. There’s also a cool bike park with stunt structures for you or your cycling pals to practice their skills.
Photo Credit: @puffaniejoy
Suspenseful Fun at Royal Gorge Bridge
Cross a canyon that will take your breath away with its vast beauty on one of the world’s highest suspension bridges. The Royal Gorge Bridge isn’t just an amazing example of mankind’s architectural skill, it’s a path to adventure, where you find exhilarating rides, fun-filled kids’ areas and, of course, spectacular views of Colorado’s natural wonders. P.S. This is yet another dog-friendly locale!
Look, we won’t fault you if you succumb to the awesome deals that are sure to fill Black Friday’s ads in your Thanksgiving newspaper. But, for those of you who’d rather watch a herd of deer race the plains, cycle to the crest of a steep hill and take in Colorado’s epic views or maybe just laugh as a giraffe steals lettuce from your hand with its long tongue, we hope these outdoor adventures fit the bill.