All of that great wide open space we enjoy in Colorado Springs, lends itself to the perfect habitat for lots of local wildlife. Deer are so prevalent here, it’s a weird day when you don’t see them somewhere along the side of the road. (Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for them, they don’t always use the crosswalks!) Local residents know not to put the trash out too early, because our local Yogi bear likes more than pic-a-nic baskets, and if you head up into the high country, you’re bound to catch a little sass from a cheeky marmot.
What you may not know, is that we also have a world class collection of non-native species of critters at our local zoo. Renowned for its natural habitats, conservation efforts and in-captivity breeding program, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is one of the top-ranking zoos in the country (most recently ranking #4 in the US!)
Crack a few eggs
In order to make an omelet that is. Near your first stop is a cute little locally owned breakfast place called Omelets Etc. Obviously they have plenty of omelet options, but they also have crepes, benedicts and breakfast burritos.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Where the wild things are
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is one of the top rated zoos in the country, and once you’ve visited, you’ll wonder how many different categories of “great zoo” they rank in. Is it for an unusually large number of baby animals? Could be, they are well known for their breeding program. Is it for the number of endangered species they house? Again, they have a great in-captivity breeding program and conservation is their #1 priority. Is it for the natural habitats they’ve created for their more than 750 animals? Is it for the sheer number of species? Is for the amount of money they raise for conservation funds annually? Or could it simply be for spectacular views from one of the only mountain zoos in the world? The answer to all of those questions is YES! Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is the complete package!
The Zoo also has a number of great places to eat or grab snacks. Be sure you get tickets for the skyride so you can really soak in that great view. And don’t miss the antique carousel. With lots of opportunities for hands-on experiences, the whole family will enjoy this legacy attraction!
Enjoy this world-class zoo with world-class views!
Pizza with a View
When lunch rolls around, you probably won’t be ready to leave the zoo yet. That’s okay, they have lots of options. We like the place literally called “Pizza with a View”. The pies are great and the restaurant perches on the side of the mountain with a view that goes on forever.
Academy Riding Stables
Garden of the Gods by horseback
Garden of the Gods is one of the top parks in the nation and must-see when in Colorado Springs. There are many great ways to enjoy the park, but we recommend a guided tour by horseback. It will help you get a little deeper into the park and the guides will point out well known rock formations along the way.
After all, this is how both the first settlers to our region and the native tribes would have visited the park ages ago. The Garden has been a sacred space to the local tribes for hundreds and hundreds of years. Give yourself the chance to connect with this place and see what makes it so special. There’s no better way to unplug than enjoying towering red sandstone rock formations framed by the “bluest ever sky”.
The best way to enjoy world-famous Garden of the Gods is by horseback!
Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad
Ride an iron horse, a critter of a different color
Taking a trip back into the hills of Cripple Creek feels a bit like a trip back in time. The chug of the steam engine coupled with quaking of the aspen trees will sooth your nerves and spark your imagination. Listen to the engineer’s anecdotes about the passing mines and countryside, and imagine what those hills looked like in the hay day of the great gold rush. After all, this is still one of the richest gold claims in the world, and where there’s this much gold, there’s a slew of interesting characters and stories that follow!
The trains are all open air, and you’ll have plenty of elbow room from your neighbors. Masks and social distancing will be required for the remainder of 2020.
Enjoy a trip back in time on this great old steam engine.
On your way back to town is a little brewery in Woodland Park called Bierworks, with great local beer and several food trucks onsite. With ample outdoor seating and a changing variety of local food trucks, it’s a great way to top off an awesome day.
Locals Tip: Be sure you have a designated driver and take it easy on the draughts. The elevation will make those beers go to your head faster than you expect, and these beers are strong to start with!