Living in Colorado, we have exceptional travel experiences within walking distance or a short road trip. From its amazing zoo to riding the rails, Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region is a frequent destination for our multigenerational family travel because it offers so much to see and do. Here are our top things to do in Colorado Springs with kids.
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6 Things to Do in Colorado Springs with Kids
Multigenerational family travel is actually a present to me – time spent with the grandkids, just me, Papa and them. (Sometimes we even let our adult children come along!) Since we are still working grandparents, we don’t have the luxury that some retired grandparents do. A road trip to Colorado Springs is a short 90-minute drive from our home, allowing us time to chat with our grandkids and enjoy the beautiful Colorado scenery.
There are so many things to do in Colorado Springs that we usually run out of time before things to do. My multigenerational family is creatures of habit, and we love to return again and again to enjoy these top things to do in Colorado Springs with kids.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
As our first overnight multigenerational family travel adventure, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo will always hold a special place in my heart. The highest altitude zoo in the U.S. features up-close-and-personal visits with the giraffes, and this is our first stop every time. Because how can you resist giraffes?
After purchasing the affordable giraffe food, both grandkids fed the long-necked creatures with nervous excitement and an “ewww” from my granddaughter when the animal’s rough tongue claimed its snack. The giraffes are the first of many hands-on animal meeting. Feeding the birds and petting a baby wallaby were also met with fascination and giggles on our first visit. (Animal experiences vary.)
Since that first visit so many years ago, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo continues to be our favorite place to visit, and the experience is always different.
Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center
A National Natural Landmark, Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center is a not-to-miss stop in Colorado Springs. Dramatic views, 300-foot towering sandstone rock formations, and snow-capped Pikes Peak – and your visit to this magical attraction is always absolutely FREE. The Garden of the Gods is Colorado’s most photographed view, so be sure to take your camera.
For families who love hiking, Garden of the Gods offers 15 miles of trails to explore. Check at the visitor and nature center to determine which hike is best for your kids.
Got curious kids? Stop in at the Geo-Trekker Theater to find out how those red rocks got there, complete with dinosaurs, sea monsters, and more. Soar high above Garden of the Gods and see some of the most awe-inspiring aerial footage in the world.
Add a horseback riding adventure into the Garden of the Gods with Academy Riding Stables to truly make your visit memorable.
Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
As part of the Pikes Peak region, families should definitely add a road trip to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park in nearby Canon City, less than an hour drive away. Known as the “Grand Canyon of the Arkansas,” it’s a mini-theme park with rides and attractions, from zip-lining to the Royal Rush Skycoaster.
Stretching 1,270 feet in length and 18 feet wide, the Royal Gorge Bridge is the highest suspension bridge in America. Suspended high above Colorado’s wild Arkansas River, the view is astounding – and a little bit scary. (So scary that Papa won’t walk on or across the bridge to the other side due to his heights phobia.)
Whitewater Rafting with Echo Canyon River Expeditions
One of my first Colorado experiences was whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River, looking up at the Royal Gorge Bridge. This summer, I repeated that experience with my 4-year-old granddaughter. Like my other grandchildren, she is a little fishy and loves to get into the water. Yet I admit I was a little apprehensive about taking her rafting.
However, the folks at Echo Canyon River Expeditions made me feel way more comfortable with their attention to detail and safety. They also recommended a family float, a more laid-back whitewater rafting experience in the more mellow 5-mile part of the river. Our guide Chloe actually made the entire family rafting trip even more amazing. My granddaughter had a blast and caused us all to laugh with her belly giggles when we bumped along on some of the rapids. When we stopped, we all enjoyed a snack and the kids splashed safely (with lifejackets on) in the river near the shore before returning back to 8-Mile Bar & Grill for lunch.
All Aboard the Royal Gorge Route Railroad
Below the bridge and beside the Arkansas River is another set of adventures. Kids of all ages love the train experience on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. My granddaughter loved hanging out with her new “best friend” outside on the open car and checking out the amazing views.
Kids will love riding the holiday-themed Santa Express. My husband and I loved the dinner train especially when it’s a Murder Mystery dinner. I’ve also enjoyed dinner in the Vista Dome while sipping local wine from Holy Cross Abbey with a girlfriend. Seriously, you don’t need an excuse to ride the Royal Gorge Route Railroad.
TIP: Be sure to step out onto the open car to see a different view of the Royal Gorge Bridge.
Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway (Temporarily closed for repairs 2019)
Speaking of trains, you can’t miss riding the Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway! Ride the rails on the World’s highest cog train, ascending Pikes Peak year round. Climb to 14,115 feet and experience the magnificent panoramas that inspired the song America the Beautiful.
Pikes Peak Cog also offers a holiday experience on the Santa Train. The perfect photo opp is with Santa Claus while sipping hot chocolate and munching on cookies.
TIP: Save by checking the website for coupons!
And that’s only the beginning of all the things to do in Colorado Spring with kids. Did we miss your favorite things to do? Share with us in the comments below.