6 Hidden Gems of the Pikes Peak Region
Marvel at the history of flight at the Peterson Air & Space Museum. Photo courtesy of VisitCOS.com.
Whether you’ve lived here for decades or are visiting the region, there are so many hidden gems to discover throughout Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region. Whether you’re a history buff or intrigued by the rough-and-tumble gold rush days, spending time at any of these off-the-beaten-path attractions will gift you with stories to tell your friends and family when you get home—even if it’s only a few miles away!
1. Peterson Air & Space Museum
At the site of Colorado’s first municipal airfield, the museum is named after 1st Lieutenant Edward J. Peterson, a decorated World War II pilot. The free museum allows you to board vintage aircraft like an F 47N Thunderbolt and see an underground launch control center simulator in action. The museum is open Tuesday-Friday and every other Saturday from April 1 through August 31 and closed during all Federal holidays. You can arrange for a guest pass at least one day in advance by calling 719-556-4915 or going online.
2. Iron Springs Melodrama and Dinner Theatre
For fun quality entertainment, head to this quirky dinner theater nestled in the hills of Manitou Springs. Make sure to bring your penchant for audience participation and a willingness to “ugly laugh and cry”—the vaudeville, comedy and skits are both silly and affecting. There are no-show and no-dinner options—just call ahead. However, if you come hungry, you’re sure to enjoy their traditional dishes like pot roast and roasted chicken that’ll make you feel right at home. Reservations are recommended. Visit the Iron Springs Chateau website for more information.
3. Fourth Infantry Fort Carson Museum
If your kids like tanks, you’ll want to drive out of your way for some unique exhibits at this military focused museum. See items like Saddam Hussein’s cash box (the 4th Infantry Division captured him). You don’t need clearance to access the museum as it’s outside of the base. Learn the history of the division ranging from World War I to present day. Visit them on Facebook for more.
4. The Edward C. Rochette Money Museum
If you want some numismatic knowledge, then take a visit America’s largest museum dedicated to coins, paper money, tokens and medals. Kids and parents can call ahead to enjoy free admission on Kids Zone days, but the rest of us can enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience of traveling and new, as well as temporary, exhibits that include a mini-mint and one of the most complete gold coin collections ever assembled. And that’s rare, indeed. 818 N Cascade Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80903.
Visit the Edward C. Rochette Money Museum website for more information.
5. CityRock Climbing Gym’s Secret Caverns
Underneath the CityRock’s climbing gym right smack dab in the center of town, you can become a cave dweller, creeping in narrow, manmade rock formations and tunnel your way to safety. A series of slim tunnels allows novice “cavers” to explore without damaging the natural formations found in a real cave. The cave is wired with trigger points and a signaling system that lets explorers know when they’ve navigated through the course safely, doing the least amount of damage to their environment as possible. Please check with CityRock before you visit to plan your descent.
6. Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine Tour
Head west to Cripple Creek’s 1,000-foot underground Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine tour. Budget at least an hour for the tour and time to marvel at the several exposed natural gold veins in what was once a real, working gold mine. Mollie Kathleen Gortner discovered her mine in 1891 in an area ironically named, Poverty Gulch. For more, visit them in person: Tours depart from 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day from mid-April through late October. For more information, visit their website here.
For more information about the many attractions that make the Pikes Peak Region so unique, check out VisitCOS.com.