Colorado Springs is home to more than 60 man-made and natural attractions, which means there’s always something fresh to discover. Here are several shiny new offerings in this Rocky Mountain region for 2012.
Colorado Springs CO Offerings Range From Wolf Walks to Ropes Courses
Paving the Way
The Pikes Peak highway, which navigates the winding and scenic route to the summit of Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain, was first paved for carriages in the 1880’s followed by an automobile version in 1910. Only the first six miles of this scenic drive have been paved, but in 2012, the entire highway is marked with a gravel road to the summit of America’s most visited mountain.www.pikespeakcolorado.com
Boudreaux the Magic Dragon
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is now home to Boudreaux the Komodo dragon. On loan from the Oklahoma City Zoo, he is laid back, loves people and enjoys massages. Boudreaux’s favorite food at the zoo is rats, but in the wild, Komodo dragons eat deer, bore and goats. Komodo dragons are native to the Komodo Islands of Indonesia and are the world’s largest lizards, growing up to nine feet long and weighing up to 300 pounds. Komodo dragons are in danger of extinction due to natural disaster and habitat loss. www.cmzoo.org
Hops to it
Colorado Mountain Brewery is now offering Brewery tours including group beer education and beer pairing seminars. This one-of-a-kind mountain grill features Colorado cuisine and handcrafted beer and rootbeer. In addition to the new tours, they have a “Brewer’s Whimsy” that features a new flavor every Tuesday staring at 5pm with their brewmaster on hand to discuss each seasonal flavor.www.cmbrew.com
Walks on the Wild Side
What could be better than a walk in the beautiful Colorado mountains with a wolf? Start by walking with a guided walking tour through the Colorado Wolf & Wildlife Center and see the wolves, coyote and fox. Then walk with one of the wolves on a forested trail. Learn about native plants, trees and mountain ranges. Available Thursday and Sundays May though October. The Center also offers monthly full-moon tours when wolves are most active. At the end of the tour, guests will have the opportunity to interact with one of the ambassador wolves. www.wolfeducation.org
Learning the Ropes
The Cave of the Winds has a new attraction, the Wind Walker Challenge Course. It’s a combination jungle gym, maze and ropes course suitable for people of all ages and varying skill levels. It lets visitors experience the thrill and adrenaline rush of ascending into the structure — and then stepping out into what feels like thin air. Wearing a special safety harness, visitors cross swinging bridges, cargo nets, tightropes and more. www.caveofthewinds.com
The South Slope of Pikes Peak has been closed to hikers for more than 100 years. From late June through September guided tours in this pristine ecosystem are available for a nominal fee. The hike covers seven miles of easy terrain and takes about four hours. It is perfect for intermediate hikers, but hikers need to be acclimated to the higher altitude. www.trailsandopenspaces.org.
Discover one of the “10 Great Public Spaces in America”
The American Planning Association recently singled out Garden of the Gods Park for its 300 million years of geologic history, its impressive array of dramatic rock formations, and its use as a habitat by species as diverse as dinosaurs and honey ants. Now a city owned park, Garden of the Gods offers exceptional natural beauty, wildlife, hiking and biking trails, rock climbing and horseback riding. Start a visit at the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center to fully appreciate and enjoy this 230-acre urban park. www.gardenofgods.com
Colorado Springs hosts the first U.S. Open in July–not that U.S. Open, the Ultimate Disc Open. As many as 600 of the world’s best Ultimate Disc athletes will play on 24 teams in three divisions – Open, Women’s and Mixed. The inaugural international contest takes place July 4-8,2012 at the U.S. Air Force Academy. www.usaultimate.org
About Colorado Springs, CO
Founded as a resort town in 1871, Colorado Springs is Colorado’s second largest city with a population of 414,658. Offering over 300 days of annual sunshine and more than 60 man-made and natural attractions, Colorado Springs and the surrounding region is a popular destination for families, outdoor enthusiasts and couples. The region consists of El Paso, Fremont and Teller Counties, located in southern Colorado along the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies. Find out more or order a free Official Visitor Guide at www.VisitCOS.com.