3 Days in Colorado Springs with Kids

Hey Texan Friends! We found the perfect place to escape the summer heat!  Take your family to Colorado Springs, Colorado for a few days. We quickly fell in love with this great city, as it is filled with so many great outdoor adventures. We had so much fun there recently. Here is your itinerary for 3 Days in Colorado Springs with Kids.

3 Days in Colorado Springs with Kids

This past Spring Break, the kids wanted to go to Colorado.  And these Texas teens were insistent that we road trip to Colorado.  All of my kids had been to Colorado before to ski and the last thing I wanted to do for Spring Break was to fight the Texas crowds at all the Colorado ski resorts.  So we compromised.  I would take them to Colorado, as long as they let me plan the itinerary.  I wanted to explore an area of Colorado that we hadn’t seen before – and we chose Colorado Springs.

Truth be told, I had visited Colorado Springs twice before.  My brother-in-law had attended the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, and we had visited him twice.  Both visits were filled with Air Force activities, so we hadn’t done much in the area.  Knowing there was so much still to see, I set my Spring Break sites on Colorado Springs.

We spent three full days in the area and still didn’t see all that we wanted to see.  In fact, our visit left us wanting more.  Here’s how we spent our 3 days in Colorado Springs with kids.

Colorado Springs with Kids Stop #1: Garden of the Gods

Colorado Springs with Kids: Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, CO

One of the most beautiful spots in the entire city, Garden of the Gods was number one on my list to visit, which is why we drove straight to it when we arrived in Colorado Springs on a Sunday afternoon. This National Natural Landmark is filled with these gorgeous red rock formations that are breathtaking to see in person.  We took the mile & a half Central Gardens Trail to get up close to some of these formations, but there are many trails to choose from.  You can easily spend a whole day here.

Colorado Springs with Kids: Garden of the Gods

Balanced Rock in Garden of the Gods

RWeThereYetMom Tip: Make sure to get a fun picture at the balanced rock while you are there!  

Colorado Springs with Kids: Hotel

To really maximize your time in Colorado Springs, we recommend finding a hotel that is in the heart of the city. It’s a very easy city to get around, but the majority of attractions are located on the West side of the Interstate.

We stayed at the Hotel Eleganté Conference Center and was a terrific location, as we were 10-15 mins away from most attractions. We swam in the indoor pool each evening and they have a terrific breakfast that filled us up each morning.

Colorado Springs with Kids: Hotel Elegante'

Hotel Elegante’ Indoor Pool & Playscape

Colorado Springs with Kids Stop #1: The Broadmoor Seven Falls

Colorado Springs with Kids: Broadmoor's Seven Falls

The Broadmoor Seven Falls was still frozen in March

Intrigued by the chance to see seven waterfalls in one hike, we started our morning with a heart-pounding  climb up 224 steps to reach the top of the cascades. Being that it was March when we were visiting, most of the falls were frozen on top, but you could still see & hear the water flowing beneath the ice. The Broadmoor Seven Falls is the only Colorado waterfall on the National Geographic’s list of international wonders.

Once we reached the top, we spent an hour hiking the trail to Inspiration Point, stopping several times to take in the gorgeous views.  Being that we have very few trails of this magnitude in Texas, this was an incredible hike.  We loved the quiet time in nature and very often found ourselves alone on the trail – great for family connection and conversation.

Colorado Springs with Kids: Seven Falls Inspiration Point

The Broadmoor Seven Falls Inspiration Point

RWeThereYetMom Tip: Seven Falls also offers a Zip Line Adventure that takes you over the falls.  It looked incredibly fun!

Colorado Springs with Kids Stop #2:  Restaurant 1858

After working up an appetite, we enjoyed lunch at the bottom of the falls at Restaurant 1858.  Step back in time in the days of the Gold Rush era when you walk into this rustic yet elegant restaurant.  But don’t worry, you will be welcomed in your dusty hiking attire as we were.  We had a leisurely lunch with delicious nachos, burgers and salads.  And make sure you save room for the desserts – all hand-crafted and delicious!

Colorado Springs with Kids: 1858 Restaurant

Chili con Queso Nachos at 1858 Restaurant

Colorado Springs with Kids Stop #3: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

As a traveling family, we have been lucky to see many zoos – so many that we tend to not go to them when we visit a new city as we used to think that an elephant in San Antonio is pretty similar to an elephant in Seattle.  After visiting the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, we do not think this anymore.  In fact, all three of my kids felt that this zoo tops their list of best zoos they have every visited – even over the big one in San Diego!

Colorado Springs with Kids: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Feeding the giraffes at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

What made the visit to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo so great?  Hands-down, it was the animal encounters. We spent close to an hour feeding the giraffes.  Imagine getting eye-to-eye with a giraffe, their long, black tongue reaching towards you to grab the lettuce out of your hand, as you sneak a scratch behind the ears. It was incredible and I could have spent all day with the giraffes.

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is filled with animal interactions and presentations, all in the unique setting of the side of the mountain.  We fed birds, petted a kangaroo, and watched a mountain lion get fed.  The zoo, which has over 750 animals is shaded and has lots of places to sit down and rest. And make sure to take the Mountaineer Sky Ride to the Zoo’s summit for a unique perspective.

Colorado Springs with Kids: Mountaineer Sky Ride

Mountaineer Sky Ride at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

RWeThereYetMom Tip: The zoo is big and has many inclines, so bring a stroller for the little ones.  Plan out your time there to maximize every interaction. 

Colorado Springs with Kids Stop #1: Air Force Academy

Colorado Springs with Kids: Air Force Academy

Air Force Academy Chapel in Colorado Springs, CO

The United States Air Force Academy is located just north of Colorado Springs and being that I have a teenage son who may be interested in the Academy, it was worth a quick visit to show him this impressive school.  Visitors are allowed in certain areas and you can sign up in advance for a school tour.  It is absolutely worth the drive up to see the Academy Chapel.

Colorado Springs with Kids Stop #2: Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Colorado Springs has quite a bit of history, starting with the 800-year old Manitou Cliff Dwellings.  You can actually walk the rooms of these dwellings that were moved here in the 1800’s from the Four Corners area of the state. It was fascinating to see the American Indian cliff dwellings up close and then learn more about the people who inhabited them in the museum.

Colorado Springs with Kids: Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Manitou Cliff Dwellings

RWeThereYetMom Tip: A great history lesson for the kids, this stop can take as little or as long as you want.  

Colorado Springs with Kids Stop #3: Manitou Springs

We stopped for lunch and a bit of shopping in the quiet town of Manitou Springs at the foot of Pikes Peak. While there, we took a little tour of the town’s historical mineral springs – what Manitou Springs is best known for, it’s healing mineral waters.  Stop in the Chamber of Commerce when you first get into town for a cup and a map of the all the springs you can taste.  We got a laugh out of trying to find a few as we didn’t know what to look for and kept walking right past them (we wouldn’t make good Amazing Race contestants!).

Colorado Springs with Kids: Manitou Springs Mineral Water

Tasting the mineral waters in Manitou Springs, CO

I’ll give it to my kids for tasting a few of the mineral springs.  They all have a different mineral content, all proclaiming to have different healing benefits.  We can’t say we liked the taste of them, but it was definitely a cool experience.

RWeThereYetMom Tip: If you have the time, there are a bunch of fun shops to go into here. 

Colorado Springs with Kids Stop #4: Cave of the Winds Mountain Park

Colorado Springs with Kids: Cave of the Winds

Cave of the Winds Discovery Tour

Our last stop of the day was right around the corner from Manitou Springs, the Cave of the Winds Mountain Park.  In Texas, we are familiar with cavern tours, though all of our caves are underground.  The unique thing about Cave of the Winds is that the tour is located directly into the heart of the mountain.  We took the 45 minute Discovery Tour and had one of the best tour guides for a cave tour ever.  We learned so much about caves and discovery of caves on that tour and it was fascinating being inside of the mountain.

Afterwards, we spent a few hours playing on the outdoor activities they have available.  We took multiple rides on the Bat-a-pult, a mechanical zip line tour over-looking the canyon below the Cave.  We climbed all over the Wind Walker Challenge Course, which also carries you out over the canyon. But none of us were brave enough to try the TERROR-dactyl ride, which launches you off the 200-foot cliff.  Needless to say, we had a great time at Cave of the Winds Mountain Park.

Colorado Springs with Kids: Cave of the Winds Batapult

Cave of the Winds Bat-a-pult Ride

RWeThereYetMom Tip: For even more adventure, you can take the 2-hour lantern tour, which gives you the perspective of finding the cave for the first time. 

Colorado Springs with Kids: Pikes Peak

One of the most well known spots in Colorado Springs to visit is Pikes Peak and you will notice that it was not in our itinerary. While we were visiting, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway was under refurbishment and the only way to get to the top of Pikes Peak was by driving.  We decided to maximize our time while there to see other things and not do the 3 hour drive. However, we hear the view is spectacular from the top and we do plan to go back to see it one day!

Colorado Springs with Kids: Royal Gorge Bridge

Colorado Springs with Kids: Royal Gorge Bridge

Royal Gorge Bridge

Located a quick hour west of Colorado Springs, a visit to the Royal Gorge Bridge is a must do.  Plan for a full day of fun, as there is so much to do there. Not only can you walk across one of the world’s highest suspension bridges, you can take a gondola, zip line, and ariel swing over the canyon too.  There is a carousel, playground, theatre, dining and more.  We spent almost a full day here taking our time in the gorgeous weather.

RWeThereYetMom Tip: Get an early start to visit the bridge as it can be busy during the summer.  

3 Days in Colorado Springs with Kids: Planning Your Trip

If you are planning a visit to Colorado Springs, one of the most helpful resources that we found was the Visit Colorado Springs website.  You can browse lists of activities for all ages, see planned itineraries, and even easily create your own online.

Our three days in Colorado Springs was packed full, yet I feel like we barely scratched the surface of all the fun to be had in this great city. You could easily spend a whole week just hiking all the available trails, but that is what I liked so much about the city.  There was something for everyone.

More Colorado Articles you May Enjoy:

The Ultimate Guide to Keystone Resort with Kids

Dog Sledding at Good Times Adventures

Ultimate List of Best National Parks

Disclosure: My family & I were invited to visit Colorado Springs and were provided admission to several of the spots in the article.  I was not compensated for this article.  All opinions are my own.