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Colorado Springs With Kids: 15 Top Things to Do

If you are looking for the perfect family getaway that has a combination of nature, history, and fun filled attractions, look no further than Colorado Springs! Colorado Springs is a city sitting at the foot of the Rocky Mountains that is home to the famous Pikes Peak and stunning red rock formations. You can also find many fun filled family attractions, such as the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. No matter what you are looking for in your next getaway, you are sure to find something everyone can enjoy when visiting Colorado Springs with kids!

You won’t want to stop there though! When visiting Colorado Springs with kids you will want to venture just outside of Colorado Springs to Manitou Springs or take a little further of a drive to Cañon City to make your Colorado Springs getaway complete! So, let’s dive in to fifteen of the best things to do in Colorado Springs with kids!

Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak
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Colorado Springs. Photo Credit: Photo by Alexis Gethin on Unsplash

15 Top Things to Do When Visiting Colorado Springs with Kids

Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center

If you are looking to see the natural beauty of Colorado, the Garden of the Gods is the perfect stop for you when visiting Colorado Springs. Garden of the Gods is a 1,300 acre national landmark that features stunning sandstone formations throughout the park with the famous Pikes’ Peak in the background. A visit to Garden of the Gods should involve a scenic drive through the park with plenty of pull over points for viewing and photo taking.

If you are an outdoorsy person you should also plan on taking at least one hike in the park. With fifteen miles of trails ranging from easy loop trails to longer, more difficult trails you will have plenty to choose from. You can also find some tours going through the park, including jeep tours, Segway tours, and horseback riding tours. For the adventurous you can join in on a rock climbing tour.

The nearby Garden of the Gods Trading Post is a great place to find local, handmade gifts, pueblo pottery, and souvenirs. At the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center you can view the various exhibits exploring the history and geology of the park. You can find a café in both the visitor center and Trading Post.

Cost: A visit to Garden of the Gods is also the perfect stop for those on a budget. Admission to both the park and the visitor center is free!

Hours: Visitor Center- 8am to 7pm, Park-5am to 10pm

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs with Kids
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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Navigation Junkie.

Drive Pikes Peak Highway

The towering 14,115 ft. tall mountain sitting 12 miles outside of the city is sure to catch anyone’s eye when visiting Colorado Springs. Pikes Peak plays a big role in the development of Colorado Springs and other nearby cities because of the Pikes Peak gold rush in the 1800’s. When visiting Colorado Springs with kids, driving the Pikes Peak highway is one of the easiest ways to visit the mountain and take in the stunning views.

The Pikes Peak highway is a 19 mile long paved road leading to the summit of Pikes Peak. Along the way you will find plenty of pull off options where you can enjoy the views and snap some photos. Along the journey be on the lookout for some native Colorado wildlife, including Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and yellow-bellied marmots. At the summit be sure to visit the Summit View House for their world famous donuts, coffee, and souvenirs while enjoying unparalleled views of the area around Pikes Peak.

Cost: Fees for the Pikes Peak highway are charged per person, at $15 for ages 16+ and $5 for ages 6-15. Vehicle discounts are available for up to 5, at $50 per vehicle.

Hours: Hours vary depending on the time of year. The highway is open 7:30am until 8pm May 26-Sept. 4th, 7:30am to 7pm Sept. 5-30th, and from 9am to 5pm Oct. 1st to Memorial Day. Also be sure to check prior to your visit to make sure you have the correct hours and are not disappointed!

Pikes Peak highway, Colorado Springs with kids
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Pikes Peak Highway. Photo by Joe Dudeck on Unsplash

Visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is a mountain-side zoo at 6,714 ft. elevation. The zoo offers an educational, interactive, and fun experience for all ages. The zoo features a Sky Ride, which takes you up to a small viewing area with a playground, places to relax, and views of the zoo and surrounding areas. The park is also home to a classic carousel.

The zoo offers lots of opportunities for interaction with the animals, including a giraffe feeding experience, a chicken feeding experience, goat encounters, elephant feeding, and rhino feeding. Kids will enjoy seeing their favorite animal species, from tigers, lions, giraffes, elephants, penguins, and hippos. You can also reach the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun just past the entrance to the zoo, a historic monument that will give you views of Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak.

Cost: Prices for the zoo range from $19.75 to $24.75 for adults depending on the day of the week, and $14.75-19.75 for children

Hours: The zoo is generally open 9am to 5pm

the Cheyenne mountain zoo, Colorado springs with kids
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The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo from the Skylift. Photo Credit: Navigation Junkie

Take a Day Trip to Cañon City

Historic Cañon City is located about 45 miles outside of Colorado Springs. With plenty of family friendly attractions, Cañon City should be on your list when visiting Colorado Springs with kids. Like Colorado Springs, Cañon City’s history dates back to the Pikes’ Peak gold rush. While in Cañon City, enjoy a ride aboard the Royal Gorge Railroad through the Royal Gorge with scenic gorge and river views. The dome seating will give you the best views while also enjoying a delicious, fresh cooked meal.

You will also want to visit the Royal Gorge Bridge and & Park for bridge views, ziplining, rock climbing, and ride the skycoaster. For some more scenic views drive the famous Skyline Drive. For the adventurous family enjoy a white water rafting trip along the Arkansas River. Take a jeep tour of the Royal Gorge or Red Canyon. Kids will love a stop at the Royal Gorge Dinosaur Exhibit for some interactive exhibits, dinosaur bone digging, and animatronic dinosaurs. Cañon City is the perfect day trip when visiting Colorado Springs with kids.

the royal gorge railroad near Colorado Springs with kids
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The Royal Gorge Railroad. Photo Credit: Navigation Junkie.

Visit the Ghost Town Museum

Colorado Spring’s Ghost Town Museum is a fun and interactive living history museum. The Ghost Town features preserved, historic buildings from the Pikes Peak region, authentic artifacts, and hands on exhibits to keep you entertained while providing an educational experience for the kids.

The museum itself sits within a historic stone structure that was built in 1899 as a maintenance facility for the locomotives that brought gold ore to the once standing Golden Cycle Mill nearby. The buildings were taken from ghost towns that were abandoned after mines were dried out and preserved to look like they would have 100 years ago.

On your visit to the museum, you can explore these buildings and the kids can enjoy interactive exhibits like cranking a butter churn, operating an old time arcade, and going panning for gold! There is also a gift shop on site for some old times souvenirs.

Cost: The museum is $7.50 for adults, $5.50 for kids, and free for under 6

Hours: The museum is generally open 10am to 6pm from June to August, and 10am to 5pm the rest of the year

Manitou Cliff Dwellings

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are authentic, relocated cliff dwellings located in Manitou Springs, just 6 miles or about 10 minutes outside of Colorado Springs. With the dwellings being open to visitors to explore and walk through the Manitou Cliff Dwellings are a great place for a fun and educational experience when visiting Colorado Springs with kids.

The cliff dwellings originally sat in the McElmo Canyon near Mesa Verde National Park, but were relocated between 1904 and 1907. The dwellings were created by the Taos Pueblo Indians. The dwellings were actually inhabited by a Native American family at the new location until 1984. A visit to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings should include time spent exploring and walking through the dwellings, a visit to the museum where you can learn more about the dwellings and Native American history, and a stop at the gift shop for some local, unique souvenirs.

Cost: $12 for ages 12+, $7.50 for ages 4-11

Hours: The dwellings are generally open from 9am to 4pm.

the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, a must see when visiting Colorado Springs with kids
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The Manitou Cliff Dwellings. Photo Credit: Navigation Junkie.

Explore the Cave of the Winds Mountain Park

Cave of the Winds Mountain Park is an underground cave system located about 7 miles outside of Colorado Springs. The caves were discovered in 1881 by George and John Pickett. The park features two different cave tours. The Discovery Tour is the most family friendly tour. It is a 60 min. walking tour through the caves along a 1/2 mile path past many of the most stunning formations within the cave system. If you have older children the Haunted Lantern Tour might be a good choice as you explore the caves and hear ghost stories.

Aside from a cave tour, you can also enjoy ziplining, a climbing wall, and adventure challenge courses. The Terror-dactyl is perfect for the thrill seeker, launching you off of a 200 ft. cliff. (Riders must be 48″ for this experience). For a milder experience, check out the Bat-a-Pult, a slower paced 1,200 ft. journey across Williams Canyon, or Frontier Ziplining over the canyon.

Cost: Prices vary depending on the tour chosen

Hours: Summer hours are 9am to 6pm and Winter Hours are 10am to 5pm

Visit the North Pole Colorado Santa’s Workshop

North Pole Colorado is not your ordinary amusement park. It has classic rides that kids love, but it brings the tale of Santa, his elves, and reindeer to life. The park is located at the foot of Pikes Peak, but will make you feel like you’ve stepped right into the North Pole (without the snow!) with over a dozen Santa/Christmas themed amusement rides. You can also find plenty of small gift/souvenir shops found located throughout the park and plenty of food options.

Cost: Entrance to the park is free, wristbands are required for rides with two options: an unlimited limited ride band which gives you unlimited access to 5 rides, or an unlimited band that gives you access to all rides. Under 2 are free to ride

Hours: The park is open May through December, generally 10am to 5pm, but be sure to check before visiting. The park is always closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Go Spring Hunting in Manitou Springs

Manitou Springs is well known for its eight mineral springs that are believed to have health benefits. The springs are easily accessible with a self-guided walking tour though downtown Manitou Springs. Because of the close proximity of the springs, with a trail only 1.4 miles long, and plenty of local shops, restaurants, and ice cream shops along the way, a visit to Manitou Springs should be on your list when visiting Colorado Springs with kids.

When going spring hunting, be sure to bring a cup for tasting. Each spring has a unique taste due to its unique mineral content. We found the spring waters in Manitou much more tasty than the spring water found in Saratoga Springs in our home state of New York. Each spring you come upon will also have a plaque outlining the history of the spring.

Cost: Free

Hours: No specific hours, but it is best done during daytime hours

Twin Spring in Manitou Springs
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Twin Spring. Photo Credit: Navigation Junkie.

Shop Downtown Colorado Springs

Downtown Colorado Springs is home to many unique, local shops and restaurants. After finding a spot to park (by metered parking), walk through the main streets of downtown Colorado Springs where you will find book stores, art studios, toy stores, candy stores, jewelry stores, souvenir shops, and local shops with homemade items including homemade chocolate, spices, and soaps.

You can also find plenty of restaurant options lining the streets with outdoor patios and rooftop restaurants for outdoor dining, with a wide range of options from Italian to Irish pubs to classic American to Nepal restaurants. Whatever you are in the mood for, there is something for everyone!

Visit the Manitou Springs Penny Arcade

The Manitou Springs Penny Arcade is the perfect stop for classic arcade games, from pinball tables to Skee-Ball. The arcade is home to over 100 games, both classic dating back to the early 1900’s to more modern games, spread over a full block. Game costs range from a penny to a quarter. When visiting be sure to bring plenty of coins. You can find change machines on site, but they only give you quarters and some of the machines take pennies, dimes, and nickels. You won’t want to miss out!

Outside the arcade you will find a few dozen kiddie rides in all shapes and sizes. You will also find plenty of classic fair food & snacks and souvenirs throughout the arcade. The Manitou Springs Penny Arcade is the perfect stop when visiting Colorado Springs with kids.

Cost: It all depends on how much you want to spend!

Hours: Generally open 10am to 10pm

the kiddie rides outside of the Penny Arcade, Colorado Springs with kids
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Rides outside the Penny Arcade. Photo Credit: Navigation Junkie.

Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center

The Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center is the perfect stop for the kid that loves anything to do with dinosaurs. The museum features displays of the bones of dinosaurs, prehistoric marine reptiles, pterosaurs, and fish of the late Cretaceous period in North America. Along with the bones, you will be treated to sculptures and graphics of these creatures.

While you are visiting the museum you can also view a working fossil lab and see newly discovered bones being removed from rock and restored. Another reason the museum is the perfect stop when visiting Colorado Springs with kids is the children’s area, where the kids can try their own hand at digging for dinosaur bones, kid friendly books, a coloring station, magnetic boards to create their own dinosaurs, and films to view. You will also find a gift shop within the museum.

Cost: Adults are $11.50, children 5-12 are $7.50, and under 5 are free

Hours: Generally open 9am to 6pm

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

While the Paint Mines Interpretive Park is a little ways outside of Colorado Springs (about a 50 min. drive), the colorful clay & rock formations, hoodoos, and spires make the trip worth it! The parks history dates back as far as 9,000 years when Native Americans collected clay from the site to create paint with, which would be used for painting pottery and paint for ceremonial purposes.

The park features a 3.7 mile loop trail that can be done by any skill level. The trail will take you past the rock formations, hoodoos, and spires and through a variety of eco systems including prairies,  badlands and wetlands. You may also run into some furry friends, including mule deer, songbirds, horned toads, falcons, rabbits, and hawks. The combination of the family friendly hike and all this park has to offer make it one of the best day trips when visiting Colorado Springs with kids.

Cost: Free

Hours: The park is open from dawn to dusk

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Photo by Intricate Explorer on Unsplash.

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

The Red Rock Canyon Open Space is another great option for families to get outside when visiting Colorado Springs. The Red Rock Canyon Open Space is a 1,474-acre park in Colorado Springs near Manitou Springs that is full of red rock ridges and eroded canyons. The park is home to 11 hiking trails of all difficulty levels and ranging from 1.7 to 5.4 miles in length. A hike through the park will give you some stunning views of the nearby Garden of the Gods and city of Colorado Springs.

Aside from hiking, other activities in Red Rock Canyon include bicycling, horse riding, and rock climbing. You can also enjoy a 13 mile scenic drive through the park. There is also a small dog park area where dogs are free to run off leash if you happen to be traveling with your four legged family member.

Cost: Entrance to the park is free

Hours: The park is open 5am to 11pm from May to October and 5am to 9pm from November through April

The Broadmoor Seven Falls

The climb to Broadmoor Seven Falls will take you up 244 stairs and past seven waterfalls. The top can be reached either by climbing or taking an elevator if you aren’t up for the climb, making it perfect for families with both younger and older children. The climb will take you through a 1,250-foot-wall box canyon located between what are known as the Pillars of Hercules.

Aside from the trail alongside the waterfalls you can also find plenty of hiking trails located at the top of the staircase of varying skill level. You can also enjoy some thrills with Soaring Adventure, which features ziplining courses, rope bridges, and rappelling. You can also visit nearby Eagles Nest, a gallery featuring minerals and fossils from Colorado and beyond with a deck offering stunning views of the Seven Falls.

Cost: $16.50 for ages 13+, $10.50 for children ages 2-12

Hours: 10am to 6pm, but days of the week vary depending on the season.

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Photo by Priscilla Gyamfi on Unsplash

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  1. We’ve been to CO Springs quite a few times, but never done the Royal Gorge Railroad. That looks incredible, and something my kids would love!

  2. i keep hearing such great things about Cañon City, but never thought about making it a whole trip to do with the kiddos. this whole trip looks amazing, really…. the Paint Mines Interpretive Park looks like a kid & adult-friendly place.

  3. I don’t even have kids and I would love to go! These activities all look and sound amazing, especially that train ride and visiting the Ghost Town Museum. Definitely an area to add to my list!

  4. I’m so glad I saw this post! My husband and I are planning a trip to Colorado Springs sometime in the next year, and I would love to try some of these unique things to do. I’ve heard the zoo is really cool! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. Hiking in the Garden of Gods as well as the hike along the Seven Falls both look incredible to me! I hope to get there sometime during good hiking weather. My only familiarity with Colorado is skiing.

  6. We are hoping to get to Colorado Springs on our return trip from the west coast. But we will see if the border is open. There are definitely lots of outdoor spots on natural beauty for kids of all ages. A jeep tour of the Royal Gorge sounds perfect to me. And maybe I would leave a Christmas list at Santa’s Workshop. Have kept this for our travel planning.

  7. To be honest, I haven’t expected Colorado Springs being this beautiful. Although you’ve listed these landmarks and places to be visited with kids, but I would love to see some of them like for instance the Garden of Gods, the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, or the rail….with or without kids 😉

  8. Oh my God each one of the things is better than the previous one. So stunning. I have never been to Colorado Springs but now I just want to visit the place soon. I especially would love to visit Garden of the Gods and see it first hand. I will also definitely visit the Cañon City.

  9. Sites with a combination of nature, history, and fun-filled attractions are most of my favorite places to visit. Therefore, Colorado’s second-largest city looks like an excellent travel destination. I wish to hike in the Garden of Gods!

  10. I have never been to Colorado Spring before, but this looks like the perfect outdoor vacation. I prefer to stay active while on vacation and walk everywhere when possible so this is right up my alley. The scenery of the springs is absolutely breathtaking.

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