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 Article

2004 - You Can't Top Our 14ers (Except One: Pikes Peak, of course!)

1. WEATHER/CLIMATE
Colorado Springs has over 300 days of sunshine a year. Its mild, dry and sunny climate classifies Colorado Springs as an alpine desert. We have dry, clean air and very tasty tap water. Our climate was what made Colorado Springs the ideal location for patients suffering from tuberculosis in the 1800s. Colorado Springs is a year-round destination for outdoor activities. Summers here are typically mild, with daytime temperatures hovering in the 80s and cool 60s in the evenings.

2. PIKES PEAK – AMERICA’S MOUNTAIN
Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain was the inspiration point for the composition of the song “America the Beautiful” by Katharine Lee Bates.

“O beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain. For purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain. America! America! God shed His grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.”

In 1893, Katharine Lee Bates, a professor and poet invited to lecture at the summer session at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, agreed to join a wagon expedition to the summit of Pikes Peak. Once at the summit of the mountain, the view she saw left her in complete awe and admiration. With pen in hand, she immediately wrote the poem that was years later set to the music for “America the Beautiful.” For these reasons, Pikes Peak is known today as “America’s Mountain.”

3. COLORADO SPRINGS AIRPORT
Easy come, easy go with over 100 flights per day with nine airlines and one of the countries best time records. The airport is growing as a national transportation gateway to the Pikes Peak Region and the State of Colorado by providing convenient, friendly, and readily accessible air and passenger support services in a safe and efficient manner. Owned and operated by the City of Colorado Springs, the modern facility opened in October 1994.

4. UNIQUE ATTRACTIONS FOR EVERYONE
Something for everyone, lots to see and do. The Pikes Peak region has over 50 major area attractions, many of which are free of charge!

Garden of the Gods
Imagine towering sandstone rock formations against a backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak and brilliant blue skies. That’s the view from the beautiful Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center terrace. This free center is the gateway to Garden of the Gods City Park. Here, the geology, ecology and cultural history of the area spring to life through hands-on exhibits.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
No visit to the Pikes Peak region is complete without a trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Here, you'll experience an unforgettable adventure combining our breathtaking mountain scenery with more than 650 animals from around the world. All your favorites are here...from the brand new African rift exhibit (giraffes), elephants, lions, monkeys, hippos and bears. It's also a rare opportunity to see more than 30 endangered species including the Siberian tiger, Mexican wolf, and Black-footed ferret.

Seven Falls
Dubbed “The Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado,” Seven Falls is located in South Cheyenne Cañon. Seven Falls cascades 181 feet in seven distinct steps down a solid cliff of Pikes Peak granite. Crystal clear water from the southern most edges of the Pikes Peak watershed have, over the ages, carved this unique scenic masterpiece in an easily accessed location.

Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Since 1891, the Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway, (the world's HIGHEST cog railroad, the highest Colorado railroad AND highest train in the United States) has taken passengers to the 14,110 foot summit of Pikes Peak. A must-do when in the Pikes Peak region.

The United States Air Force Academy
The U.S. Air Force Academy is currently closed to visitors, unless you have a Department of Defense issued identification card. For additional information contact the public affairs office at 719-333-7482 during duty hours or 719-333-2025 on weekends and holidays.

U.S. Olympic Complex
The Olympic Visitor Center is the primary support facility serving the general public and providing information about the USOC, U.S. Olympic Training Centers and the Olympic Movement. The $8 million building includes the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, and indoor reception area, and Olympic retail store and a 225-seat auditorium. Free public tours are conducted daily all year. Visit the roof-top terrace with an Olympic flame display, which offers panoramic views of the entire complex and beautiful Colorado Springs.

Royal Gorge Bridge
More than 360 acres of awesome rides, shows and attractions are at the Royal Gorge Bridge. The Royal Gorge Bridge & Park is Colorado's own world wonder. At 1,053 feet high, the panoramic vistas of the Gorge are as mesmerizing as the Grand Canyon. Spanning a quarter mile across is the world's highest suspension bridge. Other renowned man-made marvels include the world's longest single-span Aerial Tram and steepest Incline Railway.

ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy
To some, rodeo is a sport. To others, it's a business. But to most competitors, rodeo is simply a way of life. Professional rodeo is the only major competitive sport that has evolved from a working lifestyle, and its development over the years is brought to life in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Hall, located adjacent to the National Headquarters of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, is the only heritage center in the world devoted exclusively to professional rodeo — America’s original sport.

5. CULTURE AND ARTS
Colorado Springs has arts and culture for all: Pikes Peak Center (internationally acclaimed performing arts stage featuring Broadway shows), Colorado Springs World Arena, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration, Colorado Springs Dance Theatre, Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum and the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale. The Depot Arts District, as well as Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs feature local artists, painters, jewelers and potters. Colorado Springs is host to many annual special events such as the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, Colorado Balloon Classic and many music and art festivals.

6. COLORFUL AND ALIVE HISTORY
The Pikes Peak region’s first inhabitants were native Ute, Cheyenne, Kiowa and Arapahoe Indians. In the summer, these tribes gathered at their sacred grounds of what we now call the Garden of the Gods Park. In 1870, General William Jackson Palmer, a Civil War General from Pennsylvania, first came to the area. One year later, he founded the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad and the city of Colorado Springs. He laid out plans for the city, its streets and donated land for churches and schools. Palmer envisioned Colorado Springs as a resort destination, which is how Colorado Springs received its first nickname of “Little London.” Palmer’s home at the time was a 67-room castle called Glen Eyrie, which still stands today as a memorial to Palmer’s brilliant vision. The gold mining rush of the 1890s led to the settlement of Cripple Creek, a mining town just west of Colorado Springs. At the turn of the 19th century, Colorado Springs was the leading mining exchange center of the world and was called “the city of millionaires.” By 1904, Colorado Springs had 35 of the nation’s 100 millionaires from gold mined in Cripple Creek. The sunny conditions and dry, mild climate of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs made this area popular for people suffering from tuberculosis. It was thought that the climate of this region significantly improved the health of TB patients, and thus numerous sanitariums were built during the early 1900s.

7. THE BROADMOOR HOTEL (in its 86th year)
Located in Colorado Springs at the foot of the Rockies, The Broadmoor provides an environment of unparalleled beauty and luxury surrounded by the mountains and centered by Cheyenne Lake. One of the few resorts in the country to have earned the Mobil Five Star and the AAA Five Diamond ratings every year since the awards were established, The Broadmoor is proud to provide guests with the finest in accommodations and services. In 2002, the Grande Dame revealed her $75 million facelift to the world highlighting restoration of the historic artwork and the creation of The Hotel Bar, the best bar west of the Hudson.

8. STRONG MILITARY PRESENCE
In the 1940s, the Camp Carson Army installation (today's Fort Carson) was built, marking the beginning of what is now a strong military presence in this region. Today, Colorado Springs is home to several military installations including Peterson Air Force Base, NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), Shriever Air Force Base, the United States Air Force Academy and the US Space Command. The military is the largest employer in Colorado Springs, but tourism is a significant industry to Colorado Spring and the Pikes Peak region.

9. ONE OF TOP FIVE FITTEST CITIES IN AMERICA
Houston tops the list for an unprecedented third year in a row as America's blubber capital in MEN'S FITNESS Magazine's 5th Annual Survey of the nation's 50 most populous cities. Also returning to the overweight list are Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia, with St. Louis rounding out the list of the rotund. The "fittest five" are Honolulu, Seattle, Colorado Springs, San Francisco and San Diego.

10. NORAD: SANTA CLAUS TRACKING
There is nothing like watching a child’s eyes light up whenever there’s talk about Santa and his reindeer. But imagine being able to show a child where Santa’s been around the world and how many hours are left before he visits their house? This kind of “Santa tracking” can only be done one way: through NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) located in Cheyenne Mountain. While NORAD’s primary mission is to protect our homelands, deter, detect and defend against air and space threats to North America, they also provide a little bit of Christmas magic for kids of all ages around the world. Visit www.noradsanta.org and you’ll discover how you can track and monitor Santa’s progress in a variety of languages. The site also includes the history of online Santa tracking, downloadable Christmas music and photos and answers to many questions about the site. Recently, a toll-free number was set up for kids to call for a live report of Santa’s whereabouts, or maybe just to ask the names of his reindeer: 1-877-Hi-NORAD (this number is accessible on Christmas Eve.)

11. OPEN SPACE AND OUTDOOR RECREATION
The parks of the early 1900s were a vital component of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region, however, park users in the new millennium have 14 new large community and regional parks to choose from, with activities ranging from picnicking, swimming and soccer to hiking, biking and nature enjoyment. A large variety of open space areas are intentionally left as undeveloped parkland with natural environments for citizens to enjoy. Today, Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services manages 7 regional parks, 8 community parks, 123 neighborhood parks, 6 sports complexes and 40 open space areas. Combined, there are over 12,000 acres of parks, trails and open space, and we continue to acquire and maintain more, enhancing the quality of life for the citizens and visitors of Colorado Springs. Water adventures are another popular sport – from mild to wild whitewater rafting trips to fishing in our rivers and reservoirs.

Hosting over 300,000 visitors each year, Pikes Peak offers both the young and the young at heart scenic outdoor adventure and activities. Relaxed vacationers can ride through the clouds on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, the world’s highest cog railway. For those who wish to complete the journey themselves by driving up the mountain, Pikes Peak highway weaves 19 miles to the summit. And outdoor and exercise enthusiasts can hike the 12-mile Barr Trail to the summit.

Pikes Peak also attracts diverse athletes and spectators by hosting two very unique races each year – the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, second only to the Indianapolis 500 as the oldest car race in America and the Pikes Peak marathon is the second-oldest foot race, behind the Boston Marathon (runners ascend and descend the mountain on a 28.2 mile course.

12. TRAILS, TRAILS AND MORE TRAILS
With hundreds of hiking trails, the Pikes Peak region allows visitors to enjoy leisurely walks along the mountainous landscapes as well as challenging rock-climbing excursions on the mountain sides. One of the most hiked trails in the region, the Barr Trail, ascends to the summit of Colorado Springs CVB s most famous 14er – Pikes Peak. The region offers a tremendous variety for mountain biking enthusiasts as well, from casual to extreme. Riders can pick leisurely rides on the Santa Fe Trail (from Palmer Lake to the city of Fountain, Colorado, through the City of Colorado Springs in between) to extreme challenges up Gold Camp Road (a road you can even take to Cripple Creek, Colorado), as well as an adventure ride down Pikes Peak.

13. SPECIAL EVENTS
Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region is the venue for some very popular special events that happen every year. A sampling of these special events throughout the year include:

Territory Days: Popular three-day event that allows the area to champion its Old West past.

Colorado Renaissance Festival: The 16th century village and marketplace are festive grounds, indeed, for the magical theatrical entertainments, period arts and crafts, delicious foods, fine ales, games of skill and much, much more.

National Little Britches Rodeo: In 1952, a group of rodeo enthusiasts held the first of what would become an annual rodeo for kids. Today it is one of the most important annual events for the little cowboys on the rodeo circuit. Watch the youngsters roping and riding like the pros in this classic, Western-style show.

Rocky Mountain State Games: The Rocky Mountain State Games, an annual event of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation, features competition in 18 sports. In only its second year of existence, the Rocky Mountain State Games reached nearly 3,200 participants and 600 volunteers from 85+ Colorado cities and towns-a 60% increase from 2002. The U.S. Air Force Academy served as primary venue for the State Games.

Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo: The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, celebrating its 63rd year, continues to be a favorite of contestants and fans alike. The rodeo again ranks among the top 20 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rodeos in the country, which brings our fans the best cowboys and cowgirls in the sport to compete for more than $200,000 in prize money.

Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon, Triple Crown of Running: The Pikes Peak Ascent is the 2nd oldest footrace in America. It is a 13.4 mile run from downtown Manitou Springs, Colorado, 6280 feet above sea level, to the top of Pikes Peak, at 14,110 feet. This is followed the next day by the Pikes Peak Marathon, a 26.3 mile round trip run.

The Colorado Balloon Classic: The Colorado Balloon Classic (a division of Colorado Springs Balloon Classic, Inc.) was organized in 1977 and has grown to be the largest hot air balloon event in the State of Colorado. The Colorado Balloon Classic is an annual family event - free to the public - held each Labor Day weekend. More than 125 balloons are scheduled for Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings with a Balloon Glo® scheduled for Saturday and Sunday evenings. Each year a variety of concessions are available and entertainment is provided during each event.

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb: This annual automobile race to the 14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak, above the city of Colorado Springs, spans a grueling 12.5 miles along a gravelly road. More than 200 international competitors in cars, trucks, and motorcycles participate, along with thousands of spectators who line the winding route.

Pikes Peak Speed Week: June 23-July 4, 2004. Events and car races surrounding Pikes Peak International Raceway.

Great Fruitcake Toss: What do you do with that nasty fruitcake you get for Christmas every year? You can take it to the Great Fruitcake Toss, held every first week in January since 1995 in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Compete in any number of events, such as cake tossing (by hand), launching (by catapult), and hurling (by any other method); a Fruitcake Derby (fruitcakes with wheels); a Fruitcake Art Show (recent entries have been a stoplight and a Chia Pet); the Farthest Traveled Fruitcake (fruitcakes have recently arrived from Hong Kong and New Zealand); and the obligatory Fruitcake Relay.

Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival: The Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival is dedicated to celebrating the drive, spirit and diversity of women. Founded in 1988 by a small group of dedicated women, the RMWFF is one of the oldest and always “sold out” festivals profiling works by and about women.

14. FREE THINGS TO DO!
SPRINGSPREE: City festival, entertainment, downtown Colorado Springs. Crafts, exhibits, etc.

AMERICAN NUMISMATICS MUSEUM: Coin and paper money on display.

ARCADE AMUSEMENTS: West’s oldest amusement arcade, one city block big.

BEAR CREEK REGIONAL PARK CENTER AND NATURE TRAIL: Scenic trails, wildlife, displays and naturalist programs.

CHEYENNE CANYONS: The canyons include Helen Hunt Falls and entry to High Drive above the city.

CITY OF CRIPPLE CREEK: Visit historic mining district, museums, trail, mine and casinos.

COLORADO SPRINGS PIONEERS MUSEUM: Building was the old court house. Ceilings have elaborate carvings and paintings, and contains many antiques.

COLORADO BALLOON CLASSIC: Always first week in September, 125 hot air balloons.

COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL: Compassion sponsors and changing the world.

FINE ARTS CENTER: A large variety of arts-metal, fiber, pottery, paintings, etc.

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: Devoted to preserving the family. Judeo-Christian based.

FOUNTAIN CREEK NATURE CENTER: Wetlands, trails, walks, wildlife, exhibits, nature center.

GARDEN OF THE GODS PARK AND VISITOR CENTER: The 1,364-acre park features magnificent rock formations, including the famous Balanced Rock, Steamboat Rock, Kissing Camels and Three Graces.

I.A.F.F. FALLEN FIRE FIGHTER MEMORIAL: Located in Memorial Park. The mission of the I.A.F.F. Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial, which is located in the shadow of Pikes Peak, is to honor the sacrifice made by professional, union fire fighters and paramedics who have given their lives in the line of duty. Since its creation in 1976, the names of fallen IAFF members have been engraved into the wall of honor located behind the memorial. This memorial was granted Congressional approval.

MANITOU SPRINGS: Quaint and unique city with its own various shops, businesses, etc.

OLD COLORADO CITY: Restored shops and stone fronts from 1859.

PALMER PARK: Beautiful Scenery and spectacular overlook of the city.

SPACE MUSEUM: Space artifacts from Apollo 15 Mission.

U.S. OLYMPIC COMPLEX: Free one hour tour includes Olympic film and guided tour of sports center, shooting center, and track and field.

VAN BRIGGLE ART POTTERY: Pottery internationally known.

WORLD FIGURE SKATING HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM: Antique skates, costumes, and skating memorabilia.


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