Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau
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Colorado Springs
Convention &
Visitors Bureau

515 S. Cascade Ave.
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

1.800.888.4748
1.719.635.7506

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Detailed Itineraries

Religious Tour

The first church in Colorado Springs was erected in 1872. It was not long until the city became known as the "City of Churches". City founders offered free land to encourage congregations to build their houses of worship, and as in most frontier communities, that promise of free land was the only way congregations could afford to build. As congregations grew, some churches found it necessary to enlarge their buildings, some were torn down to make way for newer designs, or sold for other uses. Several of the original churches in Colorado Springs still stand today. A drive around Colorado Springs offers a unique glimpse at the early architecture of these churches as well as those of more recent design.

A new basilica, recently completed in May 2002 by the parish of Saints Constantine & Helen Orthodox Christian Church, exemplifies the early Byzantine designs of over a thousand years ago and incorporates design elements, massing and sacred geometry from those ancient times. Its copper dome emphasizes the divine geometry of circle and sphere, representing the heavens, and is representative of the "domed and cross basilicas" of the Balkan region of the 8th-12th centuries, when those countries were converted to Christianity. Orthodox churches still use rich, biblical traditions of worship that were practiced in the first centuries, and everything in the service has heaven as its point of reference. Over the next few years, the parish will be painting illuminated icon/frescoes within this temple, and the basilica will represent a unique example of ancient Orthodox Christian architecture within the entire Rocky Mountain region. For additional information regarding worship services or the inspiration of this holy temple, call Fr. Anthony Karbo at 719-473-9238 or e-mail: frkarbo@codenet.net.

In recent years, Colorado Springs has become home to over sixty-seven evangelical Christian ministries. Focus on the Family, Compassion International, and the conference and retreat center Glen Eyrie, home to the Ministry of the Navigators, are all located in Colorado Springs.

In addition, one of the world's most famous places of worship, the Cadet Chapel at the United States Air Force Academy, is located just a short distance north of Colorado Springs on the Air Academy grounds. The Cadet Chapel is a 17-spire architectural marvel that required four years to build. The following quote is taken from the USAF Academy web site: "The Cadet Chapel is the architectural and spiritual centerpiece of our academy. As such, it plays a vital role in developing and nurturing the character of our cadets. It is a reminder that we are a nation under God dedicated to the promotion of peace and goodwill among all nations of the world. The young women and men who come to study here do so in order to prepare themselves to protect freedom - freedom which is God's gift to all people."

NOTE: Several itinerary options are listed to mix and match with the suggested Day 1 and Day 2 itineraries. Perhaps you will want to turn a religious tour of Colorado Springs into several days and enjoy the family/friendly environment of the city and its attractions. Call the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-888-4748 to obtain a list of local evangelical organizations. The bureau can also provide information on camping sites and retreats for church groups as well as information on Christmas and Easter celebrations. Check out the "Free Activities in Colorado Springs" located under the "Press" section on this web site. In addition, please refer to the "Group Restaurant" section of the web site in order to find a variety of restaurants located in all areas of the Pikes Peak Region.

Day 1:
Begin your religious tour in Colorado Springs at the United States Air Force Academy. The Academy is located on the north end of Colorado Springs west of I-25. Academy grounds are open from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Visitors will be stopped by security personnel at the gate and required to show a picture ID. The Visitor Center is open 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during the summer (Memorial Day to Labor Day) and 9:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. the rest of the year. The Center includes exhibits, a gift shop, snack bar, and a fifteen-minute film that discusses Cadet life at the Academy. For information on access to the United States Air Force Academy contact 719-472-0102. Allow approximately 2 and 1/2 hours for the Academy tour.

Focus on the Family Welcome Center and Campus is near the Air Force Academy on the eastside of I-25. Focus on the Family has over 20 ministries with international ministries located in over 95 countries. Take a tour of the recording studio where radio broadcasts are produced and hosted by Chairman and Founder, James C. Dobson, PhD. There are numerous activities to enjoy at Focus. They include: interactive displays; bookstore; tour of the campus; Kid's Korner; lunch or snack at Whit's End, a turn-of-the-century soda fountain; spacious theater in which to watch an inspirational video on the history and mission of Focus on the Family; ride the three-story slide and watch the popular children's series, The Last Chance Detectives; and other activities which educate visitors about the dedication of Focus on the Family to preseve the home and strengthen family values. In addition, take a lunch break at "Chapelteria" every Monday through Friday at lunchtime. Summer hours: day after Memorial Day through day before Labor Day; closed Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. Off season hours: day after Labor Day through day before Memorial Day. Closed Christmas and New Years Day. Call 719-531-3328 for information on tours and visiting hours.

Visit Compassion International, also located across from the Air Force Academy on the eastside of I-25. Compassion International began in 1952 and today assists over 400,000 children at more than 2,200 church-based centers in over 20 countries. Compassion works to break the cycle of poverty and exists as an advocate for children all over the world. Activities at Compassion International include: video presentations at the opening and closing of tours; story walls picturing children around the world that have benefited from Compassion's missions; listening to presentations by formerly sponsored children discussing how they have overcome difficult times with the help of Compassion's programs; viewing exhibits of artwork and replicas of typical homes in developing countries. Tour hours are 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Groups of 15 or more should make reservations. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Call 800-336-7676 for more information.

Make a stop at Chapel Hills Mall, located just minutes from Compassion International on north Academy Boulevard. The mall has a regulation ice arena, children's soft play area, 15-screen movie theater, food court, 40 ft. climbing wall and 150 stores. Call 719-594-0111 for more information on the mall and how to obtain their Value Card discount coupons.

The next stop is Glen Eyrie Conference and Retreat Center, home to the Navigator Ministry. The ministry has been at this location for almost 50 years and is the site of the unique castle built by General William Jackson Palmer, founder of Colorado Springs. Glen Eyrie sits on an 800-acre property that is the perfect spot to experience a personal renewal retreat, day events, group and church activities. Enjoy a quiet and reflective walk amidst peaceful surroundings, and abundant wildlife, including deer and bighorn sheep; participate in marriage retreats, family conferences, teas and tours, the Christmas Madrigal during the holidays, or any one of the many programs offered at the Glen that are geared to seeking God in prayer, reflection and quietness. Shop at the Castle bookstore and take a tour and English Cream Tea, and perhaps stay for the night or a few days in one of the beautifully appointed guestrooms. Call the Welcome Center at 800-944-4536 for room reservations. Castle tours are at 1:00 p.m. daily and advance reservations are required. There is a small cost involved. Call the above number for special group rates. Enjoy Victorian elegance at Glen Eyrie by participating in an English Cream Tea, Monday through Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Formal Victorian Teas are Sunday only from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Teas are offered twice daily beginning Memorial Day through Labor Day. Call 719-634-0808 for English Cream Tea cost and reservations. Visitors to the Glen may also take a drive-through tour while listening to a complimentary tape or CD obtained at the Welcome Center.

Colorado Springs has several retreat centers that will appeal to those seeking to enrich their souls and spirits. In addition to Glen Eyrie Conference and Retreat Center, featured above, the Franciscan Center at Mount Saint Francis (719-260-8044) offers a quiet, reflective atmosphere and beautiful scenery. Templed Hills Camp & Retreat Center (719-687-9038) is a restful sanctuary nestled in the foothills just 40 minutes from Colorado Springs.

Visit the beautiful, city owned park known as Garden of the Gods and experience the spectacular red sandstone formations that inspired the park's name over a hundred years ago. Two surveyors were in awe of the formations and their surroundings and one exclaimed that it would be a good place for a beer garden. The other person exclaimed in disgust, "Beer garden!" and stated that a better name would be "Garden of the Gods". The name stuck and today, this National, Natural Landmark is visited by over one million people a year. Stop at the Visitor Center and enjoy natural history exhibits, a 12-minute movie with surround sound that explains the geology of the park, and the three gift shops that offer southwestern jewelry and traditional Colorado-made items. Have lunch and perhaps go on a free nature walk with one of the many naturalists at the park. There are many hiking and biking trails within the park or you may wish to drive through, taking advantage of several parking areas and picture-taking spots. Call 719-634-6666 for information.

Stop at the Garden of the Gods Trading Post, located on the southwestern edge of the park. Enjoy a group lunch on the patio and entertainment provided by Native American Indian Flute music. Or enjoy a sandwich and soup in the Balanced Rock Café followed by shopping in this largest trading post in Colorado. The Southwestern Art Gallery features art works by many noted Native American Indian artisans. Call 800-874-4515 for information.

In the nearby historic district of Manitou Springs, visit the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. This is a unique opportunity to observe the ancient Anasazi culture of the American Southwest through the examples of its architecture, agriculture, ceramics and religious practices. See and learn about the kivas that were a part of this culture's religious ceremonies. Open year round, 7 days a week, weather permitting. Call 800-354-9971 for information.

Day 2:
Take an inspirational hike in North or South Cheyenne Canyons, located only 10 minutes from downtown Colorado Springs. These canyons are part of the city's extensive parks system. Stop at Starsmore Discovery Center, at the gateway to North Cheyenne Canyon Park. Get a free map of the canyon area, obtain regional information, experience the climbing wall, enjoy bird watching, observe wildlife, nature exhibits and visit with expert naturalists. Starsmore is free and open daily from early June through Labor Day. Call 719-578-6146 for hours and more information.

Travel up South Cheyenne Canyon to Seven Falls located just ten minutes from downtown Colorado Springs. Called the "Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado", these falls cascade 181 feet in seven distinct steps down a solid cliff of Pikes Peak granite. Constant erosion by water flowing off the Pikes Peak watershed has carved this very accessible scenic wonder. Visitors may take a stairway to the top of the falls where there are two hiking trails that offer panoramic views, or you may wish to take the mountain elevator to the Eagle's Nest observation deck over-looking the falls. Enjoy Seven Falls at night during the summer when lights illuminate the falls. Call 719-632-0765 for more information.

High above the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (719-633-9925) discover the Will Rogers Shrine and experience an inspirational and breathtaking view to the eastern plains from Cheyenne Mountain. Spencer Penrose, developer of the Broadmoor Hotel and the famous mountain zoo, built the shrine as a tribute to America's favorite humorist. Zoo admission includes access to the shrine.

Continue your spiritual journey in downtown Colorado Springs at the Fine Arts Center (719-634-5581). Recognized for its Native American and Hispanic art collections, the museum offers an expansive range of religious items associated with these and other cultures. Additional features at the center are the Tactile Gallery, Library, gift shop, traveling exhibits, Bemis School of Art, performing arts and ongoing community events. Visit the nearby McAllister House (719-635-7925), one of Colorado Springs' oldest landmarks. Built in 1873, this restored Victorian was the home of the influential McAllister family and was a show place of early Colorado Springs. Also while downtown, stop in at the Chinook Bookshop (800-999-1195) which carries several books on the city's history as well as a guide to the historical churches in the area.

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