39 OF THE BEST THINGS TO DO NEAR FORT CARSON
By Jamie Rogers
IntroductionWelcome to your new home at Fort Carson, where — just like prospectors during the Colorado Gold Rush — you’ll find golden opportunities waiting to be discovered. Whether your favorite free time activities lean toward communing with nature, cheering the crack of a baseball bat, or catching a movie in a quiet theater, there’s something for everyone either on Fort Carson or close-by Colorado Springs, Colorado. Kids will even appreciate the nuggets of knowledge they find at educational and entertaining events. In fact, there are so many prospects for pastimes, we’ve narrowed it down to just 35 to help get you started. In no time at all, you and yours will join so many before you in declaring, “Pikes Peak or bust!”
Suggested Read:Fort Carson Colorado: In-Depth Welcome Center
COVID-19 NoticeDue to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, many businesses, venues, and parks may be temporarily closed or operating under restricted hours. Many, if not all, of the ones listed here, are likely subject to health restrictions, though new re-openings and closings occur all the time. Check websites and call ahead to learn each listing’s current status.
39 Things to Do Near Fort CarsonKnow what you are looking for? Click the number(s) to get right to it: (1-3) Aquatics Program (4-9) Outdoor Recreation (10) Bowling (11-14) Gyms (15) Golfing (16) Leisure Travel Services (17-20) Parks, Rivers, & Lakes (21) Attractions (22-23) Museums (24-26) Performing Arts (27-30) Things to Do With the Kids (31-32) Movie Theaters (33-34) Shopping (35-39) Sports
Fort Carson Aquatics Program
1. Ellis Outdoor Pool5954 Ellis St. Fort Carson, CO 80913 1 (719) 526-4456 Get in a real workout or just get some summer sun at this 50-yard lap/open swim pool operating from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend. The facility includes deck areas, a handicap lift, a 1-meter diving board, a baby pool, a slide, and men’s and women’s locker rooms.
2. Ivy Indoor Pool6415 Specker Ave. Fort Carson, CO 80913 1 (719) 526-4093 This conveniently located 25-yard lap pool is perfect for both building up your fitness or cooling down with your family. Features include water aerobics and swim lessons, lap swim equipment, a handicap lift, 1- and 3-meter diving boards, pool slides, a zero-entry family pool, mushroom fountain for kids, women’s and men’s locker rooms, family changing rooms and more.
3. Nelson Indoor Pool1770 Nelson St. Fort Carson, CO 80913 1 (719) 526-3107 This 25-yard lap pool has equipment for lap swim, a handicap lift, a 1-meter diving board, men’s and women’s locker rooms, water aerobics and group and private swim lessons.
Fort Carson Outdoor Recreation
4. BOSS1532 Specker Ave. Fort Carson, CO 80913 1 (719) 338-0493 The BOSS program provides a variety of recreational programs, trips, and volunteer opportunities for single soldiers.
6. Outdoor Recreation Complex7093 Specker Ave. Fort Carson, CO 80913 1 (719) 526-1993 If you’re looking for outside adventure, you’ll find everything you could possibly enjoy under one roof at the Outdoor Recreation Complex. This multi-use facility is home to equipment checkout, Adventure Programs and Education, a Mountain Post Outfitters retail store, a disc golf course, RV storage, and much more.
7. Memorial Park1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave. Colorado Springs, CO 809101 1 (719) 385-5940 The multi-use park is filled with more features than you can imagine: multiple baseball fields, tennis courts, an aquatic center, a bicycle velodrome, an ice skating center, basketball courts, sand volleyball, and many multi-use sports fields. Plus, playground and picnic areas can be reserved for groups. Photo courtesy www.visitcos.com
8. Pikes PeakColorado 80809 1 (719) 685-5894 Lt. Zebulon Pike never claimed “his” peak, but another famous explorer, John C. Fremont, built the first trail to its 14,110-foot summit in 1843. The Pikes Peak Cog Railroad was completed in 1891. Nowadays, you can take a scenic three-hour trip up Pikes Peak on the railway, rising to an elevation of more than 14,000 feet. The line has the distinction of reaching the highest altitude of any scenic railway in the world, although the old, puffing steam engines have been replaced by powerful diesel engines. Visit the website for schedules, ticket prices, and more info. In 1916, an auto road was completed to the summit. To get to the Pikes Peak Toll Road, take I-25 North and continue for approximately 5.7 miles. Take Exit 141 for US-24/West Cimarron St. and continue west on US 24 for about 9.5 miles. The toll for the 19-mile road varies depending on the number of people in your party. Partway up the summit is a rest stop with a gift store and hiking areas around three lakes. Call 1 (719) 385-7325 or visit the official website for current road condition information.
9. Pikes Peak Greenway TrailColorado 80809 This popular 15-mile trail runs throughout Colorado Springs, from just south of the United States Air Force Academy to the El Pomar Youth Sports Park. With a mix of surfaces, including asphalt, concrete, crushed stone, and dirt, the path with beautiful scenery is perfect for cyclists, runners, walkers, skaters and more, while also being wheelchair accessible.
Fort Carson Bowling
10. Thunder Alley Bowling Center6391 Chiles Ave. Fort Carson, CO 80913 1 (719) 526-5542 Rolling balls and crashing pins along 36 lanes give Thunder Alley its appropriate moniker. Enjoy automatic scoring, bumpers for beginners, cosmic bowling nights, a pro shop, and special events spaces. Got an empty gut? Find tasty ways to fill it up at The Strike Zone snack bar/grill on site.
Fort Carson Gyms
11. Garcia Fitness Center6360 Porter St. Fort Carson, CO 80913 1 (719) 526-3944 Have fun while challenging your physical fitness at this center with free weights, cardio rooms, group classes, day lockers, a sauna, hot tub, and body-fat analysis.
12. Ivy Fitness Center6415 Specker Ave. Fort Carson, CO 80913 1 (719) 526-2706 Reach new fitness heights at this facility that features an indoor rock-climbing wall. Other amenities include an indoor pool with a dive tank, cardio and strength-training areas, multipurpose fitness rooms, basketball courts, a racquetball court, elevated indoor track, a cycling room, sauna, and more.
13. McKibben Fitness Center5785 Barkeley Ave. Fort Carson, CO 80913 1 (719) 526-2597 Catch your second wind at this center’s outdoor running track or grab a friend for a heated game of racquetball. Other amenities include free weights and plate machines, PT classes, cardio room, indoor cycling, group classes, a co-ed dry sauna, day lockers, and more.
14. Waller Fitness Center6946 Magrath Ave. Fort Carson, CO 80913 1 (719) 526-2742 Get your CrossFit WOD in at this center with multipurpose fitness rooms, weight rooms, a cardio room, group exercise classes, body-fat analysis, personal training info, day lockers, and more.
Fort Carson Golf Course
15. Cheyenne Shadows Golf Club1050 Titus Blvd. Fort Carson, CO 80913 1 (719) 526-4102 Set in the shadow of Cheyenne Mountain, Fort Carson’s golf course is a breathtaking 18-hole championship course. A state-of-the-art clubhouse/pro shop can supply all golfing needs or can special order items, while Mulligans provides beverages and a limited yet tasty menu of food. The course is open to the public but call ahead to check the status of civilian access.
Fort Carson Leisure Travel Services
16. Leisure Travel Services — ITR1532 Specker Ave. Fort Carson, CO 80913 1 (719) 526-5366 With so many entertainment options in the area, Fort Carson’s Leisure and Travel office can help you choose new diversions both nearby and worthy of a road trip — many with special military discounts. Find info on local Colorado attractions, entertainment and sporting events, ski resort lift tickets, and theme parks.
Parks, Rivers, & Lakes
17. Cave of the Winds Mountain Park100 Cave of the Winds Road Manitou Springs, CO 80829 1 (719) 685-5444 One of the highest caves in the world open to the public, Cave of the Winds is also one of America’s most spectacular pre-historic natural wonders — full of stalactites, stalagmites, and other formations. Daily tours are available of the caverns, which began forming more than 200 million years ago.
18. Manitou Cliff Dwellings10 Cliff Dwellings Road Manitou Springs, CO 80829 1 (719) 685-5242 Opened to the public in 1907, the Manitou Cliff Dwellings brings the wonders of authentic, historic cliff dwelling into the present. The site and Anasazi Museum portray the lives and architectural achievements of the Anasazi Indians of the great cliff dwelling period, 1100 to 1300. Photo courtesy www.visitcos.com
19. Garden of the Gods1805 N. 30th St. Colorado Springs, CO 80904 1 (719) 634-6666 The Garden of the Gods is a beautiful view of Mother Nature at her best. In this park, you can marvel at hundreds of natural rock formations such as Kissing Camels and Balanced Rock. Visitors are allowed to drive through the area on the roads or hike on the many trails throughout the park. A visitor and nature center offers presentations on the formations, a gift shop, and free programs.
20. Royal Gorge Bridge and Park4218 County Road 3A Canon City, CO 81212 1 (719) 275-7507 Hanging 956 feet high above Colorado’s Arkansas River, the Royal Gorge Bridge is North America’s highest suspension bridge. While bridge construction was completed in 1929, the Gorge itself is millions of years in the making. Today, you can thrill at 360-degree views, a zip-line ride, aerial gondolas, gifts, and more. Visit the website for tickets, tours, and weather info. Photo courtesy www.visitcos.com
21. Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road Colorado Springs, CO 80906 1 (719) 633-9925 Built by Spencer Penrose between 1934 and 1937, this historic monument to the renowned performer and humorist Will Rogers provides an impressive panoramic view of Colorado Springs and the surrounding area. The entrance to the shrine is included with admission to The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
Fort Carson Museums
22. Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center30 W Dale St. Colorado Springs, CO 80903 1 (719) 634-5581 The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center features not only unique art collections but also a theater and an art school. The center’s theater company produces musicals, comedies, and dramas, while the Bemis School of Art offers classes to the public.
23. Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum215 S. Tejon St. Colorado Springs, CO 80903 1 (719) 385 5990 History comes alive at this museum through period rooms featuring furniture, clothing, tools, firearms, toys, medical treatments, and more. Located in the former El Paso County Courthouse, the Pioneer Museum emphasizes the unique character of the Pikes Peak Region; a variety of rotating exhibits and special events — plus beautiful surrounding grounds — keeps the site fresh and enticing.
24. Colorado Springs PhilharmonicP.O. Box 1266 Colorado Springs, CO 80901 1 (719) 575-9632 The professional resident orchestra of Southern Colorado offers several series of music each season, showcasing everything from traditional classics to family-friendly pop concerts. Performances are held at the Pikes Peak Center.
25. Opera Theatre of the RockiesP.O. Box 8110 Colorado Springs, CO 80933 1 (719) 570-1950 This non-profit performance organization is committed to the advancement of opera in Southern Colorado through performance, education, and training. Visit the troupe’s website for information about performances, tickets, and more.
26. Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts190 S. Cascade Ave. Colorado Springs CO 80903 1 (719) 477-2121 Since its opening in 1982, the Pikes Peak Center has served as a regional entertainment and cultural hub for Colorado Springs. Known internationally for its incredible design and acoustics, the downtown center hosts more than 200 shows annually.
Things to Do With the Kids
27. Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole5050 Pikes Peak Highway Cascade, CO 80809 1 (719) 684-9432 Come experience the magic of the holidays all year round at this Christmas-themed amusement park that’s been spreading joy since 1956. More than 25 rides and other attractions, magic shows, organ music, and toy gift shops will delight kids of all ages, but the main attraction remains Santa’s house, where you can visit with the jolly old elf himself.
28. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road Colorado Springs, CO 80906 1 (719) 633-9925 One of the finest small zoos in the nation, this zoo is also a leader in conservation, captive breeding and animal care. At an elevation of more than 6,700 feet above sea level, you can enjoy more than 750 animals plus breathtaking views of Colorado Springs.
29. May Natural History Museum710 Rock Creek Canyon Road Colorado Springs, CO 80926 1 (719) 576-0450 With more than 7,000 species of butterflies, moths, beetles, giant spiders, deadly scorpions, and more, this collection is known as the “Bug Museum” to many children and families around the area.
30. Memorial Skate Park1315 E. Pikes Peak Ave. Colorado Springs, CO 80909 1 (719) 385-5940 Part of the larger Memorial Park grounds, this 40,000-square-foot skate park is packed with bowls, a street course, backyard-style pool, a unique “hole-in-the-wall” feature, and two vertical ramps: one 6-foot and one 14-foot. The free park is open to skateboards, inline skates, and BMX bikes.
Fort Carson Movie Theaters
31. Kimball’s Peak Three Theater115 E. Pikes Peak Ave. Colorado Springs, CO 80903 1 (719) 447-1945 Voted the best theater by locals for years running, Kimball’s Peak Three Theater is a first-run movie house showing the best of current independent and foreign film (with an occasional blockbuster). This cozy theater in the heart of downtown is a smart alternative to the megaplex movie experience and features a full bar serving liquor, draft beer, and wines by the glass.
33. Downtown Colorado Springs111 S Tejon St. Colorado Springs, CO 80903 1 (719) 886-0088 Nearly 75 dining choices plus more than 100 unique shopping destinations equals nearly endless options to explore each time you visit downtown Colorado Springs. Get started with Cacao Chemistry, Poor Richard’s Books and Gifts, Mountain Chalet, or Venice Olive Oil. Photo courtesy www.visitcos.com
34. The Outlets at Castle Rock5050 Factory Shops Blvd., Suite 437 Castle Rock, CO 80108 1 (303) 688-4495 With more than 100 name brand stores, this largest open-air shopping center in Colorado will have some bargains you just can’t pass up. Major factory shops include H&M, Polo Ralph Lauren, Coach, Columbia Sportswear, Ann Taylor, Mountain Hardware, and Nike. The pedestrian and pet-friendly venue also features an array of restaurants.
Fort Carson Sports
35. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC234 N. Tejon Colorado Springs, CO 80903 1 (719) 368-8480 Come get your kicks watching this United Soccer Championship League club, which is affiliated with the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer. Though the Switchbacks have traditionally played at Weidner Field, Switchbacks Stadium, 6303 Barnes Road, players, and fans will be facing opponents in a new 8,000-seat, downtown sports stadium, set for 2021.
36. Colorado Springs World Arena3185 Venetucci Blvd Colorado Springs, CO 80906 1 (719) 477-2121 Located just north of Fort Carson, the World Arena hosts concerts and sporting and special events throughout the year. It’s also home to the Ice Hall, where U.S. figure skating teams train and the Colorado College men’s hockey play. Public skating lessons, pickup hockey, and other programs are offered.
38. U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center1 Olympic Plaza Colorado Springs, CO 80909 1 (719) 866-4618 Nearly 500 of the best amateur athletes in the nation — representing sports such as boxing, cycling, figure skating, gymnastics, shooting, and more — train at this flagship facility. Tours of the complex, which include a short film and walk, are available starting at the visitor center.
39. World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame20 First St. Colorado Springs, CO 80906 1 (719) 635-5200 The World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame honors national and international figure skaters. Exhibits include art, costumes, and artifacts highlighting the history and science of the sport.
ConclusionWhile this may seem like a rush of information, these suggestions just scratch the surface of the fun things to do around Fort Carson. As seasons change, so will the many ways you can enjoy the region’s great outdoors or cozy indoors. No matter how long or short your stay here, you’ll want to explore Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas to make your own golden memories.
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.
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