As we have been several times,we decided to focus on adventures we hadn't already experienced.We narrowed down our options and here is a breakdown of what we ended up enjoying on our fun two day out of town jaunt.
Garden of the Gods-This park is fascinating,the red rocks seem to have almost fallen out of the sky in a totally random fashion.You can choose various trails to walk at your own pace.As we have two kids and I have a husband who lets me pack almost nothing,especially not a stroller,we opted for one of the smaller trials,but the kids loved exploring the rocks and cheering on the rock climbers.The story of the park is fascinating and,as my husband would say,the best part is that it is completely free!I highly recommend this adventure,the scenery is breathtaking.
That night we stayed in a hotel with a pool(required to get my kids to go on a road trip) and had an early night, enjoyed being kicked all night by a toddler who somehow manages to always sleep sideways no matter the bed.Note to self-always ask for TWO queen sized beds.Will happily forgo a king bed for a night to be able to sleep!There are a ton of affordable options in the Springs and Manitou area.We like to use Hotels.com to find hotel deals
Cave of the Winds - This is a must do if you have an adventurous crew.Highly recommend you schedule tours in advance,especially during summer months.Insider tip-you can get a discount if you schedule an early bird tour(before 10am) or a Happy Hour tour(after 6.30pm).We did an early bird tour and our son especially LOVED every second.They do later tours at night in which they tell ghost stories,etc,but we thought better to try it out during the day in case they panicked(also my mum is claustrophobic...).We will be back to take our son on the lantern tour!The tour is really informative and interesting and the guides are really well trained and attentive.The scenery is breathtaking and we were lucky enough to see a mama deer and her two fawns from the observation deck.There is plenty to do with a fairly new zip line and challenge course-just beware-none of this is free and the cost will add up really quickly!
Manitou Cliff Dwellings-Spoiler alert-these dwellings were relocated from their original location!This one was a shot in the dark for us,but it wasn't expensive and it is right down the road from the Cave of the Winds,so we decided to go for it.The kids also loved this adventure-you can explore the interior of dwellings,and they really enjoyed climbing in and around the ladders and little doorways and windows.The museum is really mostly a huge gift shop with a couple of rooms of interesting Native American artifacts,but fun for a browse.Highly recommend if you have an hour or two to burn in the Manitou area.
LUNCH TIME!We are big fans of Fodors when it comes to food and accommodation recommendations, it has rarely let us down through our various travels.And this was no exception.We went to Adam's Mountain Cafe in Manitou Springs.You guys,this place is AMAZING!Best meal I have had in months.Not too expensive,with an emphasis on local,organic,sustainable food.Everything,even the kids meals,was delicious.The service was friendly,the kids were presented with big pots of crayons and paper and their food was served promptly.I had an epic quinoa bowl,my mum had this incredible avocado toast,the kids had the cutest pancake platter.Everything served beautifully with loads of fruit as a side.Cannot recommend enough for a truly yummy meal.
That's all we had time for this trip, but we will be back.The greater Colorado Springs area has a ton to do,and just a hop,skip&jump away from Denver,its the perfect mini escape!
We skipped some attractions this quick trip round but here are a few more recommendations:
The Broadmoor-we love this place especially when the pools are open. The spa is incredible,the service beyond,food amazing,and there is plenty to do on the resort.A solid rite of passage when you stay at the resort is the Golden Bee-the piano bar is awesome and you can get carried away with the bumble bee stickers you can accumulate. A word to the wise-there are dress requirements for some of the restaurants,so check before you head to dinner!
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo-Hands down our most favorite zoo. The animals have lots more space to roam,there is a lot more interaction opportunities(you can't miss the opportunity to feed the giraffes!),and it is truly freaky to watch the mountain lions track the little ones. Be aware that it is set on the side of a mountain so be prepared to be walking up and down hills at altitude.
North Pole-Who doesn't love Christmas all year round?! Kids of all ages love this adventure.
Pikes Peak-So happy they secured the funding to repair the cog railway! But even without my personal favorite way to explore this beautiful mountain,you can still hike or walk up or take the famous Manitou Incline (do not recommend if you are not that fit)