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National Siblings Day: Local Attractions with Siblings at the Helm

Siblings at the Cave of the Winds Lantern Tour
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National Sibling Day: Local Attractions with Siblings at the Helm

It’s National Sibling Day! Today is the day we honor the bonds of siblinghood. Whether you love them deeply or find them more annoying than a pen clicker in a library, your siblings are the people who have grown with you through many, many of life’s most awkward and challenging phases. Plus, no matter how much they may drive you crazy, you can always count on them to rally with you against the real opposition — your parents.

Jokes aside, National Sibling Day is a great time to celebrate sibling relationships and the cool bonds they forge that last well into adulthood. We did a little investigating and discovered that quite a few of the Pikes Peak region’s most popular attractions are run by siblings — five, at last count. Check it out!

Tim and Terry Haas at Garden of the Gods Trading Post

The Garden of the Gods Trading Post Has been around for nearly 100 years. Built in 1929 by Charles Strausenback, the 2,000 square foot shop thrived under one owner from the day it was built until 1978. That’s when brothers Tim and Terry Haas began leasing the space from Strausenback’s widow, Esther Strausenback. Despite not owning the shop outright, the Haas brothers invested heavily in development of the space.

They grew Strausenback’s 2,000 feet of merchandise to an epic shopping epicenter with over 20,000 feet of gifts, apparel, art, jewelry, snacks, collectables and so much more. In 1996, the Haas brothers purchased the expanded building, as well as the surrounding land.

Today, the Garden of the Gods Trading Post is a favorite stopping point for families touring the Garden of the Gods. The sunny patio welcomes guests for post-hike relaxation, while the 20+ varieties of fresh fudge beckon from within. The restaurant, another popular addition the Haas brothers developed over the years, offers coffee, ice cream, burgers and more to all hungry guests on the hunt for fuel. The effort and innovation has paid off. The shop sees more than 400,000 visitors each year, proving that the Trading Post still has the star power that has drawn visitors for nearly a century.

R.J. Steer, Lynn Steer & Carrie York, plus Diana Fruh & Laura Henry at May Natural History Museum

The May Natural History Museum has been a family-owned and operated attraction in the Pikes Peak region for more than 70 years. R.J., Lynn and Carrie, along with cousins Diana and Laura, are the most recent generation to take over the popular exhibit, which is located just south of Colorado Springs. The attraction displays more than 7,000 preserved insect specimens, earning it the affectionate nickname, “the bug museum.”

The unusual collection represents the life’s work of the siblings (and cousins!) great-grandfather, James May. May was a prolific collector of insect specimens, traveling all over the world to obtain and preserve a variety of insects. While the displays got their start as a traveling show to support the May family, they eventually found their home right here in Colorado Springs. There was a brief time where the museum attempted a second display of the collection in Florida, but the humidity was too much for the preserved insects.

Today, the May descendants work to care for the museum in a way that helps it stay relevant while still honoring of the goals of their great-grandfather. The museum welcomes families from all over the world to explore the mysterious and tiny world of insects, while the nearby RV park provides a home away from home for travelers.

Austin Lawhorn and Shane Haggard at The North Pole — Santa’s Workshop

Christmas magic abounds in the Pikes Peak region all year long, thanks to the efforts to the North Pole’s multi-generational family leadership. Siblings Austin Lawhorn and Shane Haggard work alongside their father, Tom Haggard, to keep the hillside attraction looking pristine and running like, well, Santa’s workshop.

Established in 1956 as a Christmas-themed artisan’s village, founder George Haggard (grandfather to Austin and Shane) originally had several co-investors in the project. Over time, each of his co-founders dropped off, leaving George and his wife to establish a thriving family business. Tom, George’s son, was next to take over the park, adding most of the beloved rides that still attract generations of families year after year.

The park’s vintage atmosphere is a key draw for visitors, immersing guests in nostalgic and whimsical Christmas cheer. Maintaining a park of living antiques isn’t easy, but Austin, Shane and their father have all managed to keep the park running smoothly, from fires and floods to a global pandemic.

Leigh Ann and Terry Wolf at Flying W Ranch

The Flying W Ranch is yet another historic attraction in the Pikes Peak region that thrives because of the hard work of generations of devoted family. Four generations of Wolfes have ensured that the popular chuckwagon attraction remains an iconic activity for visitors to the Pikes Peak region. Currently at the helm are sisters Leigh Ann Thurston and Terry Wolfe, who have had to come through both hell and literal high water to succeed after catastrophic fires and destructive flooding destroyed the attraction in 2012 and 2013. Their tenacity, evidently a family trait, powered an epic rebuild of the site and it reopened in the summer of 2020.

Leigh Ann and Terry took on the business from their father, the late Russ Wolfe. Russ was the beloved son-in-law of the Flying W’s original owner, Don Wilson, who noted he followed Wilson to get out of Kansas … and get permission to marry Wilson’s daughter, Marian. Marian and Russ grew casual guided horseback rides into an epic attraction featuring tasty chuckwagon meals, singing from the world-famous Flying W Wranglers and a whole lot of family fun.

To date, the Flying W Ranch has welcomed more than 8.5 million visitors to experience the magic of cowboy songs and community.

The Armstrong Brothers at Academy Riding Stables

When you want to take a guided horseback tour of the world-famous Garden of the Gods, there’s only one stable in the whole city with permission to do it. Academy Riding Stables has guided thousands of guests from all over the world on this incredibly unique Colorado adventure for decades. While the stable got its start in the early 1950s, it changed ownership in 1987, when the Armstrong brothers, George, Tom and the late Bruce Armstrong, teamed up to purchase the stables and establish it as a family business.

The stables have stuck to a true perfect formula for an excellent rider experience. Trusted, knowledgeable guides lead excited adventurers on 1- and 2-hour excursions along the Garden of the Gods’ most pristine trails. Along the way, riders learn some of the history of the region, along with cool facts on regional flora and fauna and a little bit of humor.

The Armstrong family has created a positive ride experience designed to create lasting, joyful memories for those who hop in the saddle. They, like many other legacy attractions, have proudly welcomed generations of families wishing to pass down the joy of their unforgettable time in the park.

All of these dynamic siblings have played a major role in keeping these top family attractions up and running. Maybe show them a little brotherly love by paying them a visit with your own sibling on National Sibling’s Day.

Why can it be so stressful to plan something that’s supposed to be so much fun? We get it. That’s why ordering your FREE visitor guide to Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region is like having your own travel planner on speed dial.