Colorado is the state that has been calling you to discover its riches. Colorado has so many places of natural beauty and historic interest it seems unfair to name a single city in it to visit. Denver is an incredible destination. It is famous for its beautiful weather and fresh air. You can see lofty mountain peaks from anywhere you stand. Do you like the idea of a “staycation”? Let me suggest you visit Colorado Springs. It is located about 60 miles south of Denver. Many people go there for its mild climate and drink the pure water from the mineral springs.
Colorado Springs was established as a resort in 1871 by the president of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, and tourism has been one of its leading businesses ever since. Pike National Forest, dominated by Pikes Peak, lies to the west. The view of the mountains is spectacular. Here are five historic places in Colorado Springs to see.
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is located on the same city block as the American Numismatic Association and the campus of Colorado College. In 1936 Alice Bemis Taylor contributed $600,000 and funded its construction during the Great Depression on property owned by the Broadmoor Art Academy. Taylor donated her extensive Indian and Hispanic art and her collection of 6,000 volumes of Americana. Here you can see a display of American art ranging from Native American prehistoric works to drawings, paintings, and sculpture by contemporary artists. European, South American, Pacific, Asian, and African collections have been displayed. The center’s program has included art classes, lectures, special exhibits, and plays. For details, see http://www.csfineartscenter.org.
May Natural History Museum of the Tropics is a fascinating place. It has the world’s largest private insect collection. The mounted insects include everything from tarantulas to Indian moths with 10-inch wingspans. For over 80 years, May Museum founder James May traveled the world finding over 100,000 fascinating specimens. Locally, it is known as the “Bug Museum.” For details, see https://coloradospringsbugmuseum.com.
Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is a granite building with a domed clock tower, the El Paso County Courthouse building from 1903 to 1973. The museum has fine arts, artifacts, and archival collections that document the Pikes Peak region since its exploration in 1806. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Exhibits include American carriages, pressed glass, portraits, photographs, smoking pipes, minerals, and Pueblo Indian relics. For detail, see: http://www.cspm.org.
U.S. Air Force Academy is as modern as the space age. It is a complex of aluminum, glass, and marble buildings backed by towering mountains. In 1954 the United States Air Force chose Colorado Springs as the site of an academy to train future officer of the Air Force. The Academy is one of the largest tourist attractions in Colorado, attracting approximately a million visitors each year. It has a multipurpose sports arena where visitors can watch the cadets playing sports and parading. The Academy also presents shows at the planetarium. Cadet Chapel is a modern building topped by 17 gleaming aluminum spires. For details, see http://www.usafa.af.mil.
Old Colorado City is a national historic district in Colorado Springs. Founded in 1859, it was the original capital of the Colorado Territory. In 1917, Colorado City was annexed by the fast-growing, neighboring Colorado Springs. The Historic District maintains its 19th-century “Wild West” ambiance. Old Colorado City has a shopping district featuring dozens of independently owned art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and unique attractions, which include Simpich Showcase and Magic Town, at The Michael Garman Museum and Gallery.