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Southern Exposure


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Head out to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the only mountain zoo in the country and a unique Colorado attraction. Feed the giraffes, see bears and wolves in their natural habitat and ride the mountaineer sky ride. Visit the Will Rogers Shrine, which is included in the price of admission. Choose from Cave of the Winds, Seven Falls, Ghost Town Museum or the North Pole based on your kids’ ages and interests. Any of these could take most of the day, or you could combine two. Check out Il Viciono for lunch or dinner; it’s a delicious, friendly Italian restaurant with great pizza.

Days: Three
Roundtrip: A little more than 300 miles
Must-Have Souvenir: Orangutan-made art from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

On the Road:

  • At the Royal Gorge, your kids will totally dig the Wild West-themed amusement park: big horn sheep and bison, street shows and rides.
  • Check out Cañon City’s Mo Mo, a surprisingly delicious Japanese restaurant in a town known for prisons and white water rafting.
  • The family that screams together stays together. The Royal Rush Skycoaster sends participants down a free fall out over a 1,200-foot drop down to the Arkansas River. It’s said to be the scariest skycoaster in the world.

In Colorado Springs:

  • Cheyenne Mountain Resort opens its “beach” during the summer and hosts children’s programs that occupy kids while mom and dad hit the links or the tennis courts.
  • You need a filling breakfast if you are gonna be a proficient tourist. Visit the famed King’s Chef Diner, which looks like a little purple castle but serves up big, hearty fare.
  • Pike’s Peak is one of Colorado’s most popular 14ers, but that doesn’t mean it’s a piece of cake. Start early and come prepared.
  • It might be a bit pricey, but it’s worth it: Brunch at the Broadmoor is a worthwhile treat with ice sculptures, live classical music and lots of grub to nibble on.

The next day, drive to the Royal Gorge. Walk or drive across the world’s highest suspension bridge, 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River. Take the aerial tram across the gorge and try the world’s steepest incline railway to the bottom. You might want to book a dinner trip on the Royal Gorge Railway. The dining cars have bubble dome roofs so you can see all the way around as you chug through the bottom of the canyon on a historic train. The train also has special occasion trips, such as murder mystery dinners and holiday dinners.

Drive back to Colorado Springs and head to the resort pool: Cheyenne Mountain Resort hosts an outdoor movie pool side. Order s’mores. The next day, explore Garden of the Gods in the morning before it gets too hot. It’s a great place to picnic. Hike, drive or take the Cog Railway to the top of Pike’s Peak. There’s a visitor’s center at the top. Be sure to bring a sweater or jacket, as it can snow up there even in July or August. Hot chocolate and fresh doughnuts are the main attraction at the top—well… aside from the spectacular views.

Road Trips – And Countless Adventures on the Open Road

Author

Lacy is an award-winning food writer and blogger. She lives in Westminster with her family. Google

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