Garden of the Gods is one of the best places in Colorado and perfect for family adventures in Colorado Springs

Top 10 Fun Family Adventures in Colorado Springs

If you are planning a trip to Colorado you are in for a treat when you set out to explore and add fun family adventures in Colorado Springs to your bucket list. In fact, the entire state is brimming with amazing hikes, beautiful scenery, majestic mountains, and hidden gems.

Colorado Springs often ranks among the top places in the nation to live according to US News. In 2022, it ranked #2 behind Huntsville, Alabama. It makes a great place to visit too. You might just find yourself wanting to return permanently!

Colorado Springs is about one hour away from Denver International Airport with the Rocky Mountains as a stunning backdrop. If you are looking for Colorado Springs attractions for families, you’ll find plenty of amazing adventures in Colorado Springs in the Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall.

>> Related: 14 Best Places in Colorado for Family Travel

What Are the Top 10 Family Adventures In Colorado Springs?

1. Explore the Garden of the Gods

Rock formations at the Garden of the Gods

Colorado Springs is home to the amazing Garden of the Gods—supernatural red rock formations that create one of the most unique and picturesque parks in the world. “The Garden” is simply breathtaking.

The land was donated by Charles Elliott Perkins to the city of Colorado Springs in 1909 with the stipulation that it always remain FREE to the public to enjoy.

As you walk along the Central Garden Trail from the main parking area, you’ll find a plaque embedded prominently in a rock formation that states:

“The Garden of the Gods given to the city of Colorado Springs in 1909 by the children of Charles Elliott Perkins in fulfilment of his wish that it be kept forever free to the public.”

Park Hours

  • November 1 – April 30 5:00 am – 9:00 pm
  • May 1 – October 31 5:00 am – 10:00 pm

Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center Hours

  • Memorial Day Weekend – Labor Day 9:00 am – 6:00 pm 
  • Off Season 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Best things to do in Colorado Springs and the Garden of the Gods:

  • Complete the Junior Ranger guidebook
  • Join Park Naturalists on 45-minute nature walks
  • Listen to nature presentations
  • Enjoy the Living History Tour (leaves from Rock Ledge Ranch)
  • Sign up for a rock climbing class.
  • Rent and join a bike/electric bike tour
  • Attend a photography workshop
  • Enjoy a jeep, trolley, or segway tour
  • Explore Rock Ledge Ranch
  • Participate in the weekly 5k Fun Run—Gallop in the Garden
  • Hike

Note * ALL climbers must have a valid rock climbing permit before climbing within the park. Climbing without a permit may result in a $500 fine and loss of climbing privileges for up to 12 months.

Siamese Twins in the Garden of the Gods

Favorite Family Hikes in the Garden of the Gods

  • Perkins Central Garden Trail – A paved 1.5 mile loop that is family friendly
  • Ridge Loop Trail – The trail is only 0.4 miles in length
  • Siamese Twins Loop Trail – This popular trail is 0.5 miles long with great photo opportunities.

>> Related: 15 Breathtaking Hikes in Colorado

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2. Visit Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Perhaps the Most Fun of the Family Adventures in Colorado Springs

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Your visit to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (CMZ) will build memories that will last a lifetime and will top your kids’ lists of favorite family adventures in Colorado Springs! USA Today 10 Best ranks Cheyenne Mountain Zoo #3 for amazing zoos across the United States.

CMZ hosts one of the largest giraffe herds in North America. With the arrival of Bailey’s baby giraffe in October 2022, there are officially 17 giraffe in the herd.

The zoo also has the proverbial “lions, tigers and bears” (and a couple of grizzlies no less).

You’ll also find hippos, penguins, a Komodo dragon, a python, leopards, Wallabies, budgies (parakeets), frogs, monkeys, lizards, elephants, mountain tapirs, okapi, lemurs (who can see a lemur without thinking of King Julian from Madagascar, “Which one of you is attracted to me?”), mangabeys, gibbons, orangutans, lowland gorillas, macaques and siamangs, Rocky Mountain goats, a moose, river otters, lynx, porcupines and bald eagles.

Whew. I may have missed a few animals, but you’ll love all of the animal sightings.

When our family visited the orangutans a few years ago, the orangutans were being really friendly. I turned around to grab my camera and heard, “Ahhhhh, that was so cute!” from all the people around me.

“What? What was so cute?”

Our youngest daughter had leaned up to the window by an orangutan’s face and he gave her a kiss through the glass. You should have been there, I heard it was amazingly cute.

You too can have fun and enjoyable experiences at the zoo. The hours for the zoo are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily. ALL guests will need to purchase advance tickets.

3. Tour the Air Force Academy

The U.S. Air Force Academy is open to visitors. You may wish to begin your visit at the Barry Goldwater Visitor Center. It is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

As you tour the visitor center, you may be interested in learning about the planes, the cadets, cadet life on campus, the history of the academy, as well as information about the honor code on campus.

Follow a paved nature trail from the visitor center to the Cadet Chapel. The iconic chapel, closed for the past three years for repairs, is projected to be open again in 2027.

If you happen to visiting the Air Force Academy for a football game, the excitement on the campus is palpable. Stop by the gift shop for your official AF paraphernalia. Once you enter the stadium, you will find that fans of the Air Force football team are some of the nicest in the nation.

Be sure to prepare yourself for the pre-game festivities, most notably the skydiving team and then an exhilarating flyover. The flyover is among the BEST things to see and experience as family adventures in Colorado Springs!

Flyover at Air Force Academy

5. Explore the Broadmoor Hotel

The Broadmoor was built in 1891 and began as a gambling casino, though the casino was later destroyed by fire in 1897. A hotel was added to the site and has since become a luxurious destination and resort in Colorado Springs.

Broadmoor hotel makes for fun family adventures in Colorado Springs
Photo courtesy of Navita Lorenz

The distinctive pink stucco of the building blends into the landscape and adds a unique style to Colorado Springs.

The Broadmoor welcomes guests to a legendary Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond resort with impeccable service and distinctive amenities. Here, the spirit of the West inspires the adventurer within, providing endless opportunities to explore the picturesque mountains, streams, and canyons that have inspired generations. Experience an iconic Colorado Springs resort where personalized luxury offers an escape from the ordinary and modern details blend seamlessly with the timeless European elegance of our historic hotel.

Broadmoor Hotel

The hotel offers elegant rooms, conference space, a spa, golf course, an outdoor lake with a walking path, boutiques, restaurants, indoor and outdoor pools, and tennis courts, to name just a few of the amenities.

While visiting the Broadmoor or simply looking for family adventures in Colorado Springs, you can enjoy:

  • Broadmoor Soaring Adventure with 10 zip lines on two courses
  • Pikes Peak Cog Railway
  • Fly Fishing
  • Falconry
  • Hiking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Biking
  • Wild West Adventures
  • Even a Broadmoor Scavenger Hunt

6. Explore Pikes Peak

View from Pikes Peak and the Cog Railway

You can take the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, a 3.5 hour round trip experience beginning at the Manitou Depot and stopping at the Pikes Peak Summit, or choose to drive. Both options require a reservation.

Whether you take the cog railway or drive, prepare yourself for vistas of breathtaking scenery on your way to the summit of America’s most famous mountain at 14,155 feet. Why is it America’s most famous mountain? Katherine Lee Bates penned the lyrics to “America the Beautiful” during a visit to Colorado. The words came to her as she viewed the Rocky Mountains from Pikes Peak.

7. Visit Seven Falls and Hike

Seven Falls in Colorado Springs

Seven Falls is a natural wonder in Colorado Springs that has often been called the “grandest mile of scenery in Colorado”. That statement could apply to so many areas in Colorado, but Seven Falls is without a doubt pretty spectacular.

At the base of the falls, you’ll fine Restaurant 1858 featuring a rustic setting and authentic Colorado favorites (open seasonally). Chris and I enjoyed lunch on the patio on a beautiful Fall afternoon and listened to the sounds of the falls as we ate.

Seven Falls is located in a box canyon between the majestic Pillars of Hercules where the water plummets 181 feet to the base of the canyon.

Put on your hiking shoes for the 224 stairs you’ll climb to reach the top of the falls. From there, you’ll enjoy the stunning views of the valleys below, amazing rock formations, and hiking trails that follow the streams that feed the falls from the Pikes Peak watershed.

8. Tour the Olympic Training Center

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Of the three Olympic and Paralympic Training Centers in the United States—Lake Placid, NY, Chula Vista, CA and Colorado Springs, CO—the center in Colorado was the first to be built in 1978. The high elevation of Colorado has long been thought to be an effective benefit to athletes in their training.

If you are training at this facility, you have access to an indoor shooting range, an Olympic-size swimming pool, the velodrome, plus numerous gymnasiums, weight rooms, and a sports science laboratory. Additionally, athletes staying on the campus have access to the athlete center, dining hall, and dormitories.

Tours are offered to the public. Check for ticket prices before you go. All tickets must be purchased in person at the facility.

Schedule for General Public Tours:

  • October 1 – March 30: Monday to Friday 10 am to 4 pm, Saturday 9 am to 4 pm
  • April 1 – September 30: Monday to Saturday 9 am to 4 pm

Address: 1 Olympic Plaza, Colorado Springs, CO 80909

Also located in Colorado Springs is the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum.

Address: 200 S. Sierra Madre Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80903

9. Explore Manitou Springs and Hike the Manitou Incline

Manitou (/ˈmænɪtuː/) – …is the spiritual and fundamental life force among Algonquian groups in the Native American theology.” Wikipedia

Manitou Springs is located 6 miles west of Colorado Springs, 6 miles from the Pikes Peak Highway, and a half miles from Garden of the Gods.

This quaint Colorado town is popular among tourists who love to explore the historic downtown, drink the from natural mineral springs available to the public in the downtown area, explore art galleries, be entertained by street performers, attend festivals, shop at unique boutiques, and dine at restaurants along the creek.

Kids may enjoy fishing at the stocked pond in Schryver Park.

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Photo courtesy of Erica Stanworth

If you are feeling fit and adventurous, consider reserving your spot to hike the Manitou Incline. This “hike” is no joke as you ascend 2,768 steps up from the base of the Incline. The difficulty level is “Extreme” and you’ll be feeling it in no time.

You may wish to allow some time to acclimate to Colorado’s elevation if you are not native to the area.

You will need to make your reservation in advance for this popular hike. The distance is almost a mile (or 1.4 km) with 2,020 feet of elevation gain. Check the above link for parking information.

10. Visit the Ghost Town Museum

Colorado is home to a number of Ghost Towns.

Kids of all ages will love to mosey around the Ghost Town Museum in the Springs. It is another one of the perfect family adventures in Colorado Springs that has been preserved over time. “In 1858, the cry “Pikes Peak or bust!” opened the Colorado territory to the gold.”

While the term “Ghost Town” might conjure up spooky connotations, today it simply references a piece of Colorado’s history. The collections within the Ghost Town Museum include structures, artifacts and memorabilia. All work together to give a glimpse into what a “town” on the frontier might have looked like 100 years ago.

Address: 400 S 21st St., Colorado Springs, CO 80904

Plan your visit and get your tickets.

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Final Thoughts on The Top 10 Fun Family Adventures in Colorado Springs

Did you know that “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver was recorded in 1972 and was later adopted in March 2007 as the official second state song for Colorado? A visit to Colorado Springs might just have you humming the tune. Better yet, add it to your road trip playlist and sing along!

There’s just something about these mountains that inspires greatness and a desire to create lasting memories. Even better, there are so many family adventures in Colorado Springs that you will want to visit again and again.

Be inspired by these posts about Colorado…

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15 days ago

I’ll have to make some extra stops next time I’m there!

Karen Hosier
15 days ago

Wow, Seven Falls looks like an awesome place to visit. Will definitely go there when I make it to Colorado Springs. Thanks for sharing!

15 days ago

I can’t wait to make my next holiday trip plan! Thank you for the extra help.

15 days ago

I loved Garden Of The Gods, but missed most of these other amazing locations and ideas! Will definitely need to get myself back to Colorado Springs LOL!

15 days ago

This makes me want to plan a family vacation! The garden of the gods looks so beautiful!

14 days ago

This made me so happy to read! My husband and I had our honeymoon in CO and spent several days in Colorado Springs and loved it!! Brought back so many great memories! These ideas are great for any age!!

14 days ago

Wow. I think I need to make a trip!

10 days ago

Colorado Springs is on my bucket list. I took a very quick trip to Colorado and visited Denver but really think I would enjoy Colorado Springs even more, looks like there is so much to see and do there!

10 days ago

We missed Colorado Springs on our last trip. Glad to have reasons to return!

9 days ago

Forwarded this post to my brother who lives near Colorado Springs, I bet he doesn’t know half of these activities exist!

9 days ago

Wow such a great guide! The Garden of the Gods and the Pike Peak looks so awesome! Thank you for sharing!

9 days ago

What a great list of activities for anyone to enjoy in Colorado Springs. I would definitely want to visit the amazing Garden of the Gods.

Linda (LD Holland)
9 days ago

Your post has given me even more reasons to finally plan a visit to Colorado and spend some time in Colorado Springs. The lovely outdoor sites would keep us busy for days. And shows me that any time of year would be great for a visit.

9 days ago

Colorado is so beautiful and has so much to explore, but it’s good to know there is more to explore than just the landscape when I do finally visit! The Olympic training center sounds really cool. Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer Record
9 days ago

I regret not staying at the Broadmoor when we were in town! Everyone raves about it, including you! Time for another trip!

8 days ago

We have stopped in Colorado Springs a few times on our SW and 4 Corners road trips. I like that town! We visited 7 Falls but Garden of the Gods is definitely on my list for our next trip! Great post!

6 days ago

These photos are amazing! The Garden of the Gods has been on our bucket list for a long time.

3 days ago

Hahaha! That photo of yours with the Giraffe.

Sara Essop
3 days ago

Wow, there’s so much to do in Colorado. I’d love to go there one day!

3 days ago

I now understand why they call it the Garden of Gods — wow! 🙂 This is a very extensive and interesting itinerary, have saved it for future reference.

3 days ago

Colorado is such a beautiful state. Especially if you like to spend lots of time outdoors. I visited Colorado Springs a long time ago. But it was amazing.

tiffy roxxx
2 days ago

NIce list of things to do! Would love to visit the garden, wow wow wow