Taking a staycation this year, or entertaining relatives? Colorado Springs, at the foot of America’s mountain – Pikes Peak – offers many FREE attractions. Here is a sampler: Garden of the Gods. A city park worthy of national recognition, its stunning red sandstone eruptions, spires and hogbacks make a scenic setting for a leisurely stroll. Check at the visitors’ center for advice on hikes, rock climbing, wildlife encounters and FREE programs. Don’t be surprised to encounter a group of Olympic cyclists out for a daily workout. http://gardenofgods.com/home/index.cfm?flash=1
U.S. Air Force Academy. This national landmark military institution is open to casual visitors. Drive through the grounds. Visit the architecturally acclaimed interdenominational chapel. Stop at the museum and take a short nature hike. http://www.usafa.af.mil/
Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. Housed in the beautifully preserved 1903 El Paso County Courthouse, the museum has both a permanent local history collection and fascinating rotating exhibits. But the real museum piece is the building itself. http://www.cspm.org/
Penrose Heritage Museum. Formerly the Carriage Museum, it is located in The Broadmoor hotel complex. This under-visited attraction was started in 1941 by the hotel’s founder and includes vehicles that carried local dignitaries and a few U.S. presidents, all dating from the early 20th century. Don’t miss the new permanent Pikes Peak Hill Climb exhibit. For more information about Colorado Springs, including additional FREE attractions, discount coupons and more, go online to www.visitCOS.com.