Having been born and raised Colorado Springs, I wanted to share with you the Free and Budget Things to do in Colorado Springs.
This list is intended for anyone who lives here and who might be taking a “Staycation” instead of a vacation this year. Or, if you are planning a trip to the area, I’d love to introduce to you all the free and budget things you can do in my hometown of Colorado Springs.
For your convenience, the attractions are arranged by area of town.
Garden of the Gods
Spend a day touring the rock formations at The Garden of the Gods. The visitor and nature center is free to explore and the park offers free guided tours and nature presentations. Explore the trails, enjoy a picnic, and try to find the Balancing Rock formation and the Kissing Camels.
Rock Ledge Ranch
Rock Ledge Ranch offers hands-on demonstrations, tours, and exhibits that bring history to life. Learn about the American Indians in the Central Front Range and about pioneer settlement in the Pikes Peak Region.
The ranch is situated across the street from the Garden of the Gods visitor center. Children 5 and under are free but adults are charged an $8 entrance fee.
Uncle Wilbur’s Fountain
If you are looking for a place to cool off and enjoy some water play, Uncle Wilbur’s Fountain is located in Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs. This sculpture has over 52 jets and unpredictable streams as well as music.
Also located in Downtown Colorado Springs, the Pioneer’s Museum is free. Let the kids dress up as Pioneers and take pictures and don’t miss the Snoopy in Space exhibit.
ANA Money Museum
You don’t need to be a coin collector to enjoy this museum. The museum has set up a a scavenger hunt for kids that helps them stay interested and focused. There is an entrance fee to this museum but if your kids do the scavenger hunt and turn in their answers, they get a free coin!
Olympic Training Center
Visiting the Olympic Training Center is free, but there are limited places you can go on the grounds. Free tours are often given by Olympic hopefuls and you might get to see some of the training that takes place.
North Cheyenne Canon
North Cheyenne Canon Park offers wonderful scenery, excellent hiking trails, and lots of wildlife. Trail maps are available at the Starsmore center (see more info below). Bring a picnic as there are plentiful picnic spots with BBQ grills. The creek that runs through the canon offers hours of entertainment for little ones. Chances are good you will see a deer or two.
Helen Hunt Falls
Helen Hunt Falls are at the top of the drive up North Cheyenne Canon. There is plenty of parking at the base of the falls as well as a newly remodeled visitor’s center. You can enjoy the view of the falls from the bottom, or choose to hike up along the falls and get the view from the top. Benches are located along the way for resting. It’s a great activity for hot days.
The Starsmore Center sits at the entrance to North Cheyenne Canon. It is small but provides interesting history on the canon and it’s wildlife. Stop in to get a free trail map and to enjoy the wildflowers and humming birds.
Starr Kempf Sculptures
You’ll find Starr Kempf’s sculptures in the yard of his home at the base of North Cheyenne Canon. The exact address is 2067 Pine Grove. They are unique and whimsical pieces that never fail to fascinate. When the wind blows, several of the pieces come to life.
Bear Creek Nature Center
Not far from North Cheyenne Canon is the Bear Creek Nature Center. This is one of my favorite places to visit. Inside the nature center is a working bee hive in plexiglass that allows you to view the bees coming and going. It also provides information on the wildlife in the area.
Old Colorado City
The main attraction to Old Colorado City is the old buildings filled with unique, local businesses. If you have the kids with you, the Colorado Creamery is the perfect place to stop for ice cream.
Simpich Showcase and Puppet Theater
Perhaps the best place in Old Colorado City to bring the kids is the Simpich Showcase. Handmade marionettes and dolls are on display. If you have the time/money, attend one of the marionette shows. They are unique and entertaining.
Focus on the Family Visitor Center
First, you need to know that Focus on the Family is a Christian organization but all faiths are welcome. The two-story slide, recording studio, and ice cream parlor can add up to hours of free fun for your family.
United States Air Force Academy
The grounds to the Academy are extensive so you’ll want to focus on getting to the Visitor’s Center to get a brief history, then hike over to the beautiful chapel.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Entrance to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is not free, but it is perhaps the best value for your money. I simply love our zoo. By far our family favorite is to feed the giraffes. We also love the Rocky Mountain exhibit. Helpful hint: the zoo is on a hill and there is lots of walking. Wear comfortable shoes!