Ok, Stepping Stone residents, just how well do you know our neighbors to the south? With Denver to the north and the Rockies to the west, Colorado Springs doesn’t always get the attention it’s due. And it deserves plenty, with a charming downtown and all the cool attractions that lie within and just outside its borders. Best of all, Colorado Springs is less than an hour from Stepping Stone. More fun than a staycation, without the hassle of a full-on vacation. Just right for these waning days of summer.
Soak up the downtown vibe
No wonder the downtown won a Creative District designation by the State of Colorado. Downtown Colorado Springs has its fair share of historic architecture and cool sculptures, plus it’s a lively place to hang out, with great restaurants and shops, art galleries and cultural attractions, such as the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum, and the Colorado Fine Arts Center. And when your kids need a little relief from all the grown-up stuff, let ‘em loose for some fountain splashing and romping on the playgrounds of Acacia Park and America the Beautiful Park.
Go wild at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Located southwest of downtown, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is the country’s only mountainside zoo, and hosts one of the largest giraffe herds in the world. Incredible views are the backdrop of this 146-acre home to more than 950 animals representing 150 species. Explore sections devoted to African and Rocky Mountain animals, plus a Mountaineer Sky Ride, carousel, and pony rides.
Travel back in time at Manitou Springs
Founded as a health resort in 1872, Manitou Springs certainly still has the capacity to put a spring in your step. Stroll the well-preserved, historic main street and hit the shops, restaurants, trading posts, and galleries. Play vintage games (think 1940s pinball, skeeball, Donkey Kong and Pac Man) at original, vintage prices at the Manitou Springs Penny Arcade. Hike or bike its many trails, including the famous Barr Trail to the summit of Pikes Peak (if you dare). And of course, don’t forget to soak up the healing powers at one of 11 natural springs spread throughout the town.
Wander through the Garden of the Gods
Fifteen miles of trails will keep you moving —and enthralled—as you explore this dramatic park, a registered National Natural Landmark. Striking, 300-foot sandstone rock formations tower against a backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak and vibrant blue skies. Be sure to stop by the world-class Visitor & Nature Center and watch the new 14-minute, HD show: “How Did Those Red Rocks Get There?” You’ll also find a glassed-in cafe and terrace for a little post-hike recuperation.
Explore the Cave of the Winds
Here’s one for you thrill seekers. Trek through two amazing caverns, experience total darkness and marvel at the beauty of formations hundreds of thousands of years old. Not-so-natural, but highly entertaining attractions include The Bat-a-Pult, a seated zipline that takes riders on a 1,200-foot round-trip flight across Williams Canyon at speeds of nearly 40 mph, and the Wind Walker Challenge Course, a three-story rope obstacle course balanced on the rim of a 600-foot drop into beautiful Williams Canyon.
Let the adventure begin!