Formerly Confluence Park, this 30 acre park was recreated and re-dedicated as “America the Beautiful” in 1992 as part of Colorado Springs Downtown Action Plan for assurance of the vitality of the downtown area. The Julie Penrose fountain was added in 2007 as a fabulous water park section with an slowly turning modern art piece in the center of a timed fountain that patrons can cool off in. The art piece reminds alot of people of the infamous “Stargate”. Its called the “Continuum”.
This beautiful park has become a weekly adventure for me and my son during the summer months for him to splash and play in the fountain waters. Lots of open grass fields for the kids to play,
an amazing kid’s playground very artistically done, and great recreational features such as picnic tables, benches, walkways, and restrooms. Rating 5 stars out of 5(Visited 7/20/2008; 7/1/2017; 7/20/2017 – formerly rated 4 stars in 2008).
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The infamous highway to the Rocky Mountain National Park gateway city of Estes Park from Loveland Colorady. It run from Granby, Colorado to the Nebraska Border east of Laird Colorado following the Colorado River Valley. It cuts through the Rocky Mountain National Park at Estes Park, going over Milner Pass, up into the Gore Mountain Range exiting the National Park at US 36 near Deer Ridge. It is considered the highest continous highway located in the USA. Headed east from the Rocky Mountains, it goes from Estes Park to Loveland, intersects I-25 and Highway 287. It continues into Greeley, past Highway 85, U.S. 34, and crosses the South Platte River, then heads east into Nebraska.
Located right on Manitou Avenue in downtown Manitou Springs, Colorado is a sweet tasting natural Artesian soda spring called Cheyenne Spring. This sweet tasting bubbly elixir is believed to be over 20,000 years old and healing for digestive issues and osteoporosis. Drinking water this old empowers the soul with the geology of the Earth and peps the spirit. It comes from aquifers located a mile below the earth’s surface. This is one of the 7 most popular springs in the area.
Most of the Springs of Manitou were known for their health benefits, especially with digestive systems. This was especially helpful to the tribes visiting the waters as their diets were rich with wild game, the meat of which was notable for acidic effects on the body when consumed. These mineral waters helped re-balance the stomach acids.
This magical spring of Manitou has added health benefits based on its mineral contents that are well known for helping with blood pressure, nerve transmission, muscle contractions, osteoporosis, the heart, bones, teeth, and blood coagulation. It is also good for helping release energy from food digestion, regulating fluids, and stimulating the kidneys to release toxins. Magically it is a blood, bone, and heart tonic. It’s year round temperature is approximately 49-55 degrees Fahrenheit.
The waters that create this spring are said to fissure up from a mile beneath the surface fed by aquifers created from rainwater and snow melt of Pikes Peak. When the water reaches these depths, they heat up from the Earth’s core, become mineralized, and flow up through fissures and cracks in the Ute Pass fault zone where they become carbonated within limestone caverns, to the surface where they are tapped as natural springs or wells.
This was one of the natural springs frequented by the Cheyenne, Arapahoe, Jicarilla Apache, and Ute Indians throughout history. It was held as a sacred site for healing, meditation, and peace. Plains and mountain tribes agreed to peace during their visits while frequenting the springs together. It was the white man to break the peace of the area.
Fur trappers, miners, and traders came to the area and discovered the magic waters. It became an area known for curative effects in treating tuberculosis. When the Europeans and white settlers came to the area, they pushed the tribes from this area. The spring became commercialized in the 1800s. During the 1870’s, this was one of three springs located in Soda Springs park: Navajo, Cheyenne, Shoshone, and Manitou Springs.
By 1872, the Town Company, owned by Manitou Springs founder Dr. William A. Bell and his friend General William J. Palmer built a rustic stick pagoda over it and created a park called Soda Springs Park on the spot. They made the first bottling plant that year with an associated bath house combining the waters with Navajo Springs to prosper from its magical health benefits.
By the 1890’s it was contained by the current sandstone spring house by the Manitou Mineral Water Company and bottled. The spring house was constructed of stone quarried from the Kenmuir Quarry where Red Rocks open space now sits just east of town. Within the spring house is a historic copper-clad, carbon dioxide gas collector settled in the center of the cistern which the water company boasted was the world’s first mechanism to capture natural gas emitting from the source and being able to re-introduce it during the bottling process for the production of the best naturally sparkling water on the market called “Manitou table water”.
As the region was commercialized, the park diminished in size and was taken over by businesses. It was flanked by Soda Springs and Navajo Springs. When the company collapsed, which many believe was caused by a curse placed by the Ute that no white business would every prosper from the springs, the font and housing fell into disrepair until restored by the Mineral Springs Foundation in 1990-1991.
The current public font was crafted by local sculpture artisan Paul Rogers in Bronze. In June of 2011, a coli form bacteria was found in the spring closing the spring until it was dealt with. It was cleaned and re-opened shortly after. It is one of the most popular springs visited in the area.
Cheyenne Spring, Manitou Springs, Colorado, USA
Cheyenne Spring is notable for its high Calcium, Chloride, Magnesium, Sodium, Sulfate, & Potassium content. Calcium for bones, teeth, heart, blood coagulation, helps control blood pressure, heart disease, PMS, and osteoporosis. Chloride is an electrolyte helping with fluid balances. Magnesium is good for bone and tooth formation, vital for nerve conduction and muscle contractions, and aids energy release from foods. Sodium helps with blood pressure & regulates fluids. Potassium also helps with blood pressure, nerve transmission, and muscle contractions. Stimulates the kidneys & releasing toxins.
Garden of the Gods is a unique natural geological park that is located in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs … and is a Registered National Natural Landmark. It’s open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the summer and 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the winter. The park boasts over a million visitors a year or more.
History and Mythology
Where the Great Plains grasslands meet the low-lying pinon-juniper woodlands of the American Southwest at the base of the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains a geological upheaval occurred along the Trans-Rocky Mountain Fault system creating these spectacular features over a million years ago. Horizontal ancient beds of sandstone, limestone, and conglomerates were pushed and tilted vertically when the tectonic plates pushed together. Glaciations, wind, and water erosion shaped the features over hundreds of thousands of years.
This geologic feature was seen as sacred grounds by the original inhabitants of the area, potentially visited and used for spirituality possibly over 3,000 years ago to present. As early as 1330 B.C.E. evidence of human occupation has been found from petroglyphs, fire rings, pottery, and stone tools have been left behind. The Ute Indians claim that their people always had lived where Garden of the Gods Park now stands and their people were created there and around Manitou.
The Kiowa, Apache, Shoshone, Pawnee, Cheyenne, and Arapaho also claim their peoples visited or lived here. It was known as a pivotal crossroads and meeting place for many indigenous peoples and nomadic tribes gathered together for peace. Rivaling tribes were said to even have laid down their weapons before entering the shadows of the sandstone features.
Two sets of petroglyphs were found here – the first hidden in a crevice on the east side of South Gateway Rock depicting a circular shield-like figure divided into four parts with a rain cloud terrace image, a Thunderbird image, zigzag lines, and image of wheat or corn and a faint flower-like image with a dozen dots forming a semi-circle over its top which some experts said was done recently in the last 100 years copying Indian designs from a book. The other petroglyph is pecking in the rock discovered in the 1980’s and estimated to date to 1500 C.E. most likely an Ute Indian design potentially depicting a deer, a third of a buffalo head, and maybe a stone tool seemingly telling a story.
Alleged Native American legends of the site have been told, their authenticity unknown. Marion E. Gridley wrote in “Indian Legends of American Scenes” telling a tale about a great flood that covered all the mountains nearby Pikes Peak. As the waters receded, the Great Spirit petrified the carcasses of all animals killed by the flood into sandstone rolling them down into this valley as evidence of the Great Flood.
The second was written by Ford C. Frick saying “… in the nestling ales and on the grassy plains which lie at the foot of the Great White Mountain that points the way to heaven lived the Chosen People. Here they dwelt in happiness together. And above them on the summit of the Mighty Peak where stand the Western Gates of Heaven, dwelt the Manitou. And that the Chosen might know of his love the Manitou did stamp uon the Peak the image of his face that all might see and worship him … but one day as the storm clouds played about the Peak, the image of the Manitou was hid .. and down from the North swept a barbaric tribe of giants, taller than the spruce which grew upon the mountain side and so great that in their stamping strides they shook the earth. And with the invading host came gruesome beasts – unknown and awful in their mightiness – monstrous beasts that would devour the earth and tread it down … and as the invading hosts came on the Chosen Ones fell to the earth at the first gentle slope of mountain and prayed to Manitou to aid it. Then came to pass a wondrous miracle, the clouds broke away and sunshine smote the Peak and from the very summit, looking down, appeared the face of Manitou himself. And stern he looked upon the advancing host, and as he looked the giants and beasts turned to stone within their very steps … “
If this site was in Australia or Europe, it would be named castles and fortresses associated with Gods, Deities, Spirits, or Faeries.
Westerners first discovered the features in 1859 by two surveyors who were here to build Old Colorado City. M.S. Beach, one of the surveyors thought it would be a great location for a beer garden. The other surveyor replied to him stating “A Beer Garden? Why this is fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it Garden of the Gods”. General William Jackson Palmer who was known for his contributions of building Colorado Springs convinced his colleague Charles Elliot Perkins to buy the 240 acres embracing the features. In 1909 his children donated the land to the city of Colorado Springs.
The original family that donated the land to the public required that it would always remain free, and that is what it remains today. Garden of the Gods stands as a great park for hiking, walking, bicycling, rock climbing, picnicking, special events, and weddings … The park has it all … protected as 1,387 scenic acres … and presents itself as a unique tourist / information center, with a theater and gift shop near the entrance. Within are 15 miles of trails ranging in various levels of difficulty from beginner to advance for hiking and exercise.
A historical video greets you at the welcome center and tells the tale that began in the 1870’s when the railroads carved westward, when General William Jackson Palmer founded the city of Colorado Springs and upon discovering this natural beauty, urged his friend Charles Elliott Perkins, the head of Burlington Railroad, to make his home where the park now stands. He lived there until he finished his railway from Chicago to Colorado Springs. His railroad project wasn’t a success and never made its destination in the springs.
His homestead eventually became his summer home in 1879. He purchased 480 acres and never actualized building on it, leaving the land in its natural state and for the public. When he died in 1907, he made arrangements for the land to be a public park, and this was enacted by his children in 1909 forever as the Garden of the Gods “where it shall remain free to the public, where no intoxicating liquors shall be manufactured, sold, or dispensed, where no building or structure shall be erected except those necessary to properly care for, protect, and maintain the area as a public park.” That is exactly what they’ve done …. and its a beautiful place to be.
The Orient Land Trusta.k.a. “Valley View Hot Springs” firstname.lastname@example.org, olt.org * PO Box 65, Villa Grove, CO 81155-0065 * 719.256.4315 * 9 am – 10 pm. Open to the public 7 days a week – closed December 1st – 28th.
This fantastic Land trust is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources, wildlife habitat, open space, historic and geologic features of the northern San Luis Valley for the enjoyment of current and future generations. The OLT protects a humongous bat colony, hot springs, alternative energy use, and is well known for its high altitude dark skies for astronomy, exposed active geological fault, limestone caves, numerous trails, historic buildings, town sites at an abandoned iron mine, and a working ranch. The OLT is a naturist community (clothing optional) with 24 hour access to the hotsprings when camping or renting their rustic lodging cabins. They limit the number of visitors based on space availability and environmental impact. For current pictures and views … visit their web site, linked above. The entire grounds are clothing optional – while the majority of the guests tend to swim and soak without swimsuits, there is no pressure either way. The OLT welcomes a diverse clientele of couples, singles, and families from all walks of life – children are always welcome, though require supervision. They offer camping and cabins, their indoor lodging have heat and electricity, though there are no telephones, clocks, radios, or tvs in any of the rooms. All of the ponds and pools are outdoors – there are no private pools or hot tubs – there are four natural ponds with temperatures ranging in the 90’s, an 80′ long spring-fed swimming pool (no chlorine) in the high 80’s, and a heated hot pool around 105 degrees. Our visit to this fantastic resort was over the weekend of 11/10-11/11. A must visit for any hot springs or naturalist enthusiast. Rating 5 stars out of 5.
One of my favorite parts of Colorado is its great diversity in the ranges of the Rocky Mountains. One of those hotspots of “oddity” is the vast Sahara-like desert of sand dunes in the San Luis Valley. Of course California, New Mexico, and Arizona has tons of sand dunes – but Colorado’s is very unique, especially at the foot of snow-covered mountain peaks and being the tallest dunes in the United States. This geologic feature extends 5 x 7 miles with a grand height of 700 feet above the valley floor (over 7,600 feet above sea level). As early as 440,000 years ago, the dunes were formed from the Rio Grande River’s and associated tributaries flowing through the San Luis Valley. Over a period of several thousand years, and continually growing today, the westerly winds blow the sand over the Rockies and down along the river flood plain, collecting sand, and depositing them on the east edge of the San Luis Valley before the winds rise up and over the Sangre de Cristo mountain range shaping these huge stable dunes. There are also some parts of the dunes where patches of black sand can be found made up of magnetite deposits as crystalline iron black oxide. Medano Creek winds through the dunes as it is fed by melting snow from the mountains. It extends roughly 10 miles, flowing from spring and early summer from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and disappears into the floor of the valley. An unusual feature of the creek is that it never finds a permanent and stable streambed causing small underwater sand dunes that act like dams are continuously formed and destroyed, causing what seems like “surges” with “waves of water” flowing downstream with intervals of a few seconds to a few minutes, and can appear as large as a foot in height with an appearance of an “ocean wave”. The geological area is known as a “High Desert” with summer temperatures not typical of normal high desert lands, varying from high and low temperatures of exceedly cold nights (even below zero). There are also alpine lakes and tundra in the park, with six peaks over 13,000 feet in elevation, ancient spruces, pine forests, aspens, cottonwoods, grasslands, and wetlands. The park is also notated as being the quietest park in the United States. The park, is managed by the National Park Service, and has been a place of enjoyment under their reigns since November 2000 with over 85,000 acres. In 2004 it became known as the “Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve”. It can be reached west from Mosca along country road 6 North, or from the south along CO road 150. The park hosts a great visitor center, a campground, four wheel drive trails, restrooms, and picnic areas. The park is great for hiking, wading, sand castles, sandbox play, sunbathing, sand sledding, rough play, skimboarding, photoshoots, and ATV sports. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Visited 7/12/2008. 2/16/2017. Review by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Leafworks and Technogypsie Research/Review Services.
The little touristy village of Manitou Springs is most famous for its mineral springs that well up through eight (previously 10, upwards of 50) fonts peppered throughout the town. These springs are free to visit and each holds its own variation of minerals, magic, folklore, and healing properties that visitors sought throughout the ages. Each has its unique flavor, natural carbonation, and effervescence. This valley was originally heavily frequented by various Native American tribes who visited fountain creek and its natural springs for its healing magic, offering homage and great respect to the spiritual powers that dwell here. They believed these magical springs were the gift of the Great Spirit Manitou, after which the town and valley was named from. They brought their sick here for healing. The aboriginal inhabitants and visitors of the area called the “Great Spirit” as “Manitou”, and felt these mineral springs was its breath, as the source of the bubbles in the spring water. This made the waters and grounds extremely sacred. The Ute, Arapaho, Cheyenne, and many other tribes came here to partake of the great spirit’s breath. They would heal their sick here, collect the waters, stay for winters, and share in the waters as a area of peace where no conflict was allowed. There was believed to have been 10 natural springs in the valley. The Euro-Americans caused conflicts and skirmishes with the Natives, pushing them out, so they could utilize the valley for business, resort, tourism, and commerce. It is said, after the Natives left, they cursed the area for the Whites that no business will ever succeed there. Ever since it has been an ever-changing valley with businesses coming and going, failing and closing, with new ones coming in and replacing those that left. One of the first white explorers to record the waters was Stephen Harriman Long in 1820. The expedition’s botanist and geologist Edwin James recorded in detail the healing nature of the waters. The explorer George Frederick Ruxton wrote in his travel about these “boiling waters” as well and that “… the basin of the spring was filled with beads and wampum, pieces of red cloth and knives, while the surrounding trees were hung with strips of deer skin, cloth, and moccosons”. This is a common practice to leave such similar objects, items, and cultural artifacts around the world at magical and healing springs, wells, and bodies of water.
Nearly 50 years later, Dr. William Abraham Bell and General William Jackson Palmer made plans to develop a health resort here during the Civil War with “a vision of dreamy summer villas nestled in the mountains with grand hotels and landscaped parks clustered around the springs” that they called “Fountain Colony” and “La Font”. It became Colorado’s first resort town. By 1871 white settlers came in and began developing the area for tourism, health care, and profit. A resort was soon developed here taking advantage of the waters and incorporating them into medicinal and healing water therapies. This brought great prosperity to the region. By 1873, a developer by the name of Henry McAllister who worked for Palmer, spread news about the medicinal benefits of the Springs and pushed for it to become a spa resort including “incomparable climate and scenery” as its backdrop.
Then came various medicinal practitioners, such as Doctor Edwin Solly who pushed the area as a resort for healing and therapy, preaching the combined waters to drink, soak in, and breath of the pure air mixed with the sunny climate would be the most effective prescription to treat tuberculosis. The commercial businesses began to lay claim to the various springs, enclosing some of them as the village grew. The first of which was the Cheyenne Spring House was established as a red sandstone bricked conical roofed structure. Over 50 wells and springs were drilled shortly after, many of which were enclosed. Once popularity disappeared and “dried up”, many of these springs were capped, paved over, and closed. However as the fad died, medical centers and hospitals around the United States improved, Manitou became forgotten and suffered abandonment. The Mineral Springs Foundation was formed in 1987 as an all-volunteer 501(c)3 non-profit to protect, improve, maintain, and manage the springs targeting to restore some of the springs and promote the popularity once again. They host walking tours called “Springabouts” every Saturday from Memorial Day to Labor Day, beginning in downtown, and can be arranged by visited the Tourist center or calling 719-685-5089. The visitor center will provide maps, brochures, detailed content charts, and sampling cups upon request. They can also be found at their website at http://www.manitoumineralsprings.org. The series of springs has been developed as a National Register of Historic Places district and is located in one of the country’s largest districts of its kind. It was originally called the “Saratoga of the West” and established as a resort community within a spectacular setting at the edge of the Rocky Mountains along the base of Pikes Peak. Numerous bottling companies moved into the are making profit on the waters, the most famous of which was “Manitou Springs water” and was sold globally.
Geology: The waters come from two original sources in the Rampart Range and Ute Pass, these “deep seated waters” travel through limestone caverns and drainage systems created by karst aquifers. The water dissolves the limestone and absorbs carbonic acid, carbon dioxide, and other minerals that make it “effervescent” or slightly naturally carbonated. It is heated by volcanic and inner core processes. Through time, the waters return to the surface naturally by means of an artesian process rising to the surface, collecting soda, minerals, and sodium bicarbonate upwards. The other source of the waters is from Fountain Creek and Williams Canyon, snow melt, rainwater, and surface waters. The warm water then flows up into a limestone cavern where it becomes carbonated and springs forth to the surface in natural as well as human drilled locations. Most of these waters take thousands of years to complete its voyage from the mountain snow-capped peaks down to inner earth and back up to the surface – freeing its content and solutions from being affected by industry, development, and atmospheric contamination.
Iron Spring – http://www.technogypsie.com/naiads/?p=3159 The Iron spring is named after its harsh foul iron-tasting flavor and content. It was a man-made spring drilled in the 1800’s and prescribed to patients for iron deficiency.
Navajo Spring – http://www.technogypsie.com/naiads/?p=3127 This spring is a natural soda spring over which commercial development was built. It is now within and beneath the popcorn and candy store. This was the most popular that was frequented by Native Americans and early Euro-American settlers and was the founding spring for the village. It originally fed a large bath house and bottling plant bringing fame to the town.
Seven Minute Spring – http://www.technogypsie.com/naiads/?p=3147 A man-made spring drilled in 1909 to enhance the neighboring hotel’s tourist attraction. Its unique carbonization caused it to erupt like a geyser every 7 minutes. It became dormant for many years until the 1990’s when it was re-drilled and the surrounding park was established.
Shoshone Spring – http://www.technogypsie.com/naiads/?p=3151 This was a natural spring that hosted sulphur content and was prescribed by various physicians for curative powers before modern medicine became popular and effective.
Wheeler Spring – http://www.technogypsie.com/naiads/?p=3155 This is another man-made drilled spring that was donated to the city by settler Jerome Wheeler of the New York Macy’s who resided and banked in the town during the mining and railroad period. His former home is located where the current post office is today.
An oddity overlooking the village of Manitou Springs, Miramont castle is a manor house, museum, and tea room that was originally built in 1895. It was the private manor house for french born Catholic priest Father Jean Baptist Francolon. He later donated his home to the Sisters of Mercy for use as a sanitarium for those seeking healing from the magical waters of Manitou’s springs. The Sisters of Mercy set up the sanitarium in 1895 as a house to heal tuberculosis. They expanded the building in 1896 to take care of additional patients. The sisters were known for their motherly care, cleanliness, and excellence. They not only cared for patients, but contributed to the town’s culture, offering piano, violin, mandolin, guitar, and banjo lessons for the towns folk. The castle fell vacant from 1900 to 1904. The Sisters were urged by Dr. Geierman to purchase the castle for use with workings and healings achieved by German priest Sebatian Kneipp who initiated a water therapy system involving drinking prodigious quantities of Manitou’s healing waters as well as bathing in them several times a day. The Castle experienced a devastating fire in 1907 caused by an electrical fire, destroying part of the Montcalme sanitarium. Patients were relocated to the Castle for the next 20 years. In 1928 the Castle and sanitarium experienced financial difficulties so the sanitarium was converted to a boarding house for the wealthy and tourists, retreat for clergy, and eventually closed. It remained empty until privately purchased in 1946. The castle has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 and has achieved national landmark status. Built by Father Jean Baptiste Francolon in 1895 with an eclectic style blending various architectural styles from Byzantine to Tudor styles. It today stands as a great example of Victorian Era design. The museum is fully accessible for tours and events. There is a climbing staircase as well as two chairlifts within. The castle is rumored to be haunted with numerous ghosts and poltergeists. Visitors can view all 42 furnished rooms, the gardens, and the tea room. Rated 5 stars out of 5
This year, for Halloween fun, we joined together with some close friends and high tailed it to the Rock Creek Farm for their miles of corn mazes to explore. It was my son’s first experience tromping around such custom-styled, aerial view famed mazes such as these. Rock Creek has hundreds of acres of pumpkin patches and corn fields ready to explore and enjoy for the Fall holidays. The U-Pick-Em pumpking fields are great places to get your festivity decor and pumpkins. They have a petting farm with pigs, ponies, goats, donkeys, chickens, and other farm animals. They have bouncy houses and inflatable slides, rolling balls, and other games to partake in. Many activities are free, others were a bit pricey. They did put a lot of work into creating these fields. We had a great time. Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Trick or Treating Celebration ~ Parker, Colorado ~
Each year, downtown Parker Colorado puts on a street block event along mainstreet closing off the streets for vendors and local businesses to hand out trick-or-treating treats and candies from their booths to the local kids and attendees of the fest. They have a mini-corn maze, performers, actors, music, and information/goods from the businesses in the area. Its a free event with a great attendance. My son came home with a bucket load of treats. Good times and a nice scenic downtown sector. This year (2016) was held on Halloween itself (10/31/16). Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Not a fan of Zoos, but when discussing great zoos that are in existence, Denver Zoo is pretty spectacular. I’ve been here a few times, the most recent was the free zoo day in October 2016. The Denver Zoo is located in a City Park, near downtown Denver, and is owned by the City and County of Denver. It is just behind the Museum of Natural History and Science. It consists of 80 acres of well maintained grounds housing an assortment of animals from around the world. It was founded in 1896 with the donation of an orphaned American Black Bear. To house the orphan, it became the first zoo in the United States to use naturalistic zoo enclosures rather than cages and bars. The zoo is accredited by the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums and a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, with ISO 14001 certification granted in 2009 and named the Greenest Zoo in the Country in 2012.
– Denver Museum of Natural History and Science – Denver, Colorado
One of Denver’s star attractions, the Museum of Nature and Science is a hallmark of the area, and an informal science education center for the Rocky Mountains. It hosts a variety of exhibits, programs, and activities for visitors to embark and learn from about the history of the Earth, the world, and most specifically Colorado. The building is roughly 716,000 square feet housing more than a million objects in its collections covering anthropology, archaeology, paleontology, geology, art, and the universe. It is also a repository for an incredible archives and library. The museum is independent and a non-profit with over 350 full time and part time staff, over 1800 volunteers, and a board of trustees with 25 member. It is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is a affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. There are six main areas in the museum – (1) The Exhibitions, (2) IMAX films, (3) lectures, (4) classes, and (5) programs based around anthropology, geology, health science, paleontology, space science, and zoology. They receive well over 300,000 students and teachers every year just in school groups alone.
The museum spread from the Edwin Carter Log Cabin Naturalist Museum in 1875 that was the private fauna collection of Colorado species gathered together by Edwin Carter from Breckenridge Colorado. In 1892 a group of Denver citizens declared interest in his collection to be moved to the capital for all to enjoy, and Carter sold it to them for $10,000. They added another collection of butterflies and moths as well a some crystallized gold. This combined collection became the Colorado Museum of Natural History and was incorporated in 1900. The Museum finally opened in 1908. By 1918 it opened another wing. In 1927 one of its teams discovered two stone projectile points embedded in extinct species of Bison in Folsom, New Mexico putting the museum in the spotlight.
There are several permanent areas of the museum, these are:
Discovery Zone – a hands on educational center for kids allowing them to build, learn about water, make crafts, and excavate dinosaur bones.
Egyptian Mummies – an exhibit with two mummies and their associated artifacts, depicting life in Ancient Egypt and an introduction to their belief systems.
Expedition Health – teaches museum patrons about the human body and the science of taste.
Gems and Minerals – welcomes visitors into a cavern of gems and minerals, both local and globally.
Native American Indian Cultures – an exhibit exploring the original inhabitants of North America.
Prehistoric Journey – a journey into paleontology with fossil collections and skeletons of great magnitude.
Space Odyssey – a collection and exhibit about space, exploration, and the universe.
Wildlife Exhibits – animal dioranams showing scenes of life of various animals on the planet, focused on Colorado as well as globally.
The museum also houses a large 50,000 plus object collection of anthropological, archaeological, and ethnological artifacts from North America. They also house over 800 items from an ethnological art collection, archival photographs, and documents. The Earth Sciences Collection contains six main groups of fauna, flora, and mineral components such as vertebrate paleontology, paleobotany, invertebrate paleontology, minerals, meteorites, and micromount. The Health Sciences Collection has rare an unique human anatomy specimens as well as pieces of medical importance. The Space Sciences Lab houses the museums Scientific Instruments Collection.
the Department of Space Sciences maintains a large digital collection of images and multimedia assets for space. The Zoology Collection houses over 900,000 specimens of species and creatures from around the globe. The
Bailey Library and Archives focuses on anthropology, archaeology, earth sciences, health sciences, space sciences, zoology, the Rocky Mountain West, and museum studies with over 53,000 publications, 2,500 rare books, and 9,000 volumes of scientific periodicals. Various temporary exhibits come in for a wide variation of subjects and collections. The Phipps IMAX Theater was built in 1940 originally used for concerts, films, and lectures. Then it was re-opened in 1983 as an IMAX Theater primarily.
The museum actually has various secrets as there are hidden paintings located throughout the museum such as Kent Pendleton, one of the diorama painters, placed eight elves hidden in his art for visitors to find, as well as some Star Wars related pictures by the IMAX lobby. Rated 5 stars out of 5
Just off of main street in historic Manitou Springs, at the back of the popcorn and candy store in front of the amusement arcade, coming out of the wall in a decorated font is a natural soda spring that is one of 7 popular natural springs that put this town on the map. Originally visited by Native American Indians who sought their healing and spiritual powers whom some believed were gifted by the great spirit called Manitou. They were then frequented by white Euro-American settlers, who pushed the tribes out and commercialized the area. It is because of the commercialization of this particular spring is the one where legend has it the Utes placed a curse on all whites that the westerners can never have a successful business in this place. By the late 1880’s, the westerners built a large bath house and spa, as well as a bottling plant on this former location, but did not succeed. The waters however were famous throughout American in that time and place. The spring waters are fissured up through rock fracures from the rainwater and snow melt coming from Pikes Peak. Water reaching the depths become heated and mineralized, flowing up through the Ute Pass fault zone, into limestone caverns which carbonate them, and tapped into by natural springs or wells. Each spring in the area has its own distinct taste and flavor. This particular spring originally had a bowl-like concretion of calcium carbonate that was large enough to dip or wash oneself in. From 1871-1972, Chief Joseph Tafoya – Chief Joe “LIttle Deer” and his family came to this spot to do authentic Indian dances and songs from the Tewa tribe of the Pueblo Reservation of Santa Clara, New Mexico. In 1889 Jerome Wheeler built a 3 story bottling plant east of the arcade and used these waters to bottle up to 5,000 gallons of water a day selling it throughout the world as table water of the popular non-alcoholic Giner Champagne. After collapse of the plant, the spring fell into abuse, and was restored in 1991 by Manitou’s residents and donors.
Navajo Spring: “Chief Joseph Tafoya – Chief Joe ‘Little Deer’ 1891-1972: Generations of the Tafoya family have presented authentic Indian dances and songs on this site and at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum since 1925. The Tafoya Family Dancers are members of the Tewa tribe from the Pueblo Reservation of Santa Clara, New Mexico, and descendants of the ancient Puye Cliff Dwellers. For 15 years, Chief Joseph Little Deer served both as governor of the Santa Clara Reservation and Chairman for the All Pueblo Indian Council. He introduced a democratic form of government on the reservation, opened his home to orphaned Indian children, and worked tirelessly to improve the living conditions of his people. Chief Little Deer married Petra Suazo, a great niece of Cheif Manitou so named for his active promotion of Manitou Springs at the turn of the century. Chief Manitou danced for 20 summers at the Cliff Dwellings museum. Navajo Spring is one of the seven natural soda-type springs that led to the settlement of Manitou. The early French trappers named the bordering creek “Fountaine qui Bouille”, the Boiling Water. Mineral deposits containing large amounts of carbonate of lime created a natural basin where the Indians bathed their sick and wounded. The white mineral basin now is hidden under the arcade floor. In 1889, Jerome Wheeler built a 3-story bottling plant east of the arcade and used Navajo Spring for bottling up to 5000 gallons of water a day. The water was sold worldwide as table water of the popular non-alcoholic Ginger Champagne. Navajo Spring was restored in 1991 by generous assistance from various donors” ~ sign outside the Spring.
A great little coffee shop and reading library right off of Colorado Avenue in historical Old Colorado City of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Old world charm with a great cup of Joe and spiritual benedictine monks chanting in the background. It is truly a place to the heart of what coffee shops began .. a place to discuss business, religion, politics, and philosophy. They take that trait to heart and not only serve great caffeinated beverages, but pastries, desserts, and cafe-style lunch dishes. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
A beautiful community garden, on the edge of Vermijo Park, downtown Old Colorado City where residents teamed up with the PPUG and funded by the Colorado Home and Garden Show/Care and Share have developed this small unused parcel for a community growing space. It was founded by community member Larry Stebbins who put it all together. Residents in the area can rent plots up to 400 square feet where they can garden and grow vegetables. Community gardens take more committment than a garden in one’s own yard, as the gardener has to visit a couple of times a week with their own tools and supplies rather than step out their back door. However, a perfect solution for the green-thumb types that want a garden but lack yard space to have one. I had the pleasure of seeing this nice space when I visited the wonderful garden as one of the resident Garden Faeries gave a deluxe tour of the plots and invited wanderers from the 2010 Colorado Faerie Festival to come in and offer the nature spirits a rock that they could paint. Very creative constructive idea that added blessings to the garden as well as the festival. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
* 1861 South Nevada Avenue * Colorado Springs, CO 80905 * (719) 635-5550 *
A great litle hole-in-the-wall down by Southgate in the southern part of Colorado Springs where you can get all you can eat sushi for a price. If you’re not up for that price of $24.95 all you can eat – then you can order a la carte. Quick delivery and sensational tastes. The little restaurant has a diner style with Elvis impressionism. It is open mondays through friday 11 am to 9 pm and saturdays from noon to 9 pm, and sundays noon to 8 pm. Its not a typical sushi restaurant as it has the kitch of the Elvis era. This is in part because the owner is a former “Elvis” impersonator known as Takashi “Elvis” Kishimoto. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. One of my favorites.
More or less a market rather than a festival … this gathering of vendors, costumed faerie folk, Renaissance faire enthusiasts, and wandering-bystanders came together in Vermijo Park in downtown Old Colorado City – a suburb area of Colorado Springs. It was the first event of its kind to hit Colorado Springs as it was focused to cash in on the faerie craze across the country. While poorly attended and not very advertised, it still drew a curious all ages. In its beginnings, it had a decent amount of vendors show and set up with an assortment of fine goods, crafts, and art. Several food vendors set up in the parking lot. Parking was a little difficult towards the late afternoon. As not much entertainment was scheduled outside of the vendors, the band “Radio London” played the ballfield diamond. As the event was billed for 10 am to 6 pm – afternoon winds and threatening rain storms dispersed the remaining crowds mid-afternoon. There were some great costumes. Sue of the Vermijo garden welcomed attendees into the garden for a nice tour and painting of rocks for the garden spirits. Overall it was a fun day. The event was free for the public and had pricey booth spaces for the vendors. Granted I might be biased as I’ve travelled around the world to many extroadinary faerie festivals, but this was not one of them. Rating: 1 star out of 5. Maybe 2011’s will be better.
This was the view unfortunately for most of the day
A little hole-in-the-strip-mall Sushi chain restaurant in the northern part of Colorado Springs with standard Japanese fare. Good atmosphere, good service, and for a lunch rush not bad timing. I went with the lunch Bento Box which consisted of 1 pc jumbo shrimp and 3 pcs of vegetable tempura, gyoza, miso soup and salad, 4 pcs California Roll, 1 Tuna nigiri, 1 Salmon nigiri, 1 Shirome nigiri, and 1 shrimp nigiri – not badly priced but the sushi and other dishes didn’t stand out as anything above and beyond most sushi restaurants. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
Thai Basil * www.thaibasil.us * 7882 North Academy Boulevard * Colorado Springs, CO 80920-3920 *
(719) 268-1688 *
A little hole-in-the-strip-mall Thai chain restaurant in the northern part of Colorado Springs with some intriguing delicacies, decor, and taste. Its more a higher priced “artsy” fusion restaurant than actually a place to get an affordable true Thai meal. The food has style and looks fabulous, but its pretty generic Pan-Asian cuisine. But that’s to be expected with a chain. Chains are notorious for cookie-cutter menus, food, and offerings. Not to say that this place is a cookie-cutter replica of its Denver counterparts … the food is good, just not above average. The menu selections however are a bit more variable than other Thai restaurants in town, especially if you like Thai seafood. They do know how to spice their dishes in an extroadinary Thai hot – hell the receipt even mentions ‘Kill me already’. The atmosphere is good. For lunch i was instantly seated and service was swift and friendly. I enoyed the Mussels appetizer, Pad Thai (thai hot), and a Thai Ice Tea. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
Mussels; Thai Basil, North Academy, Colorado Springs
Pranava Yoga Center * www.pranavayogacenter.com * 718 N. Weber Street * Colorado Springs, Colorado * 80903 * 719-444-8463 * A very modern and edgy Yoga Center near downtown Colorado Springs. Friendly, warm, hospitable, clean, and full of talent – this center welcomes their visitors with a smile, humor, and charm. That was my first welcoming experience. I signed up for the All-the-Yoga-You-Want First Week Free trial. I took the Saturday 10 am – 11:30 Jivamukti Open Level Yoga class. Wow, even after 10 years of not doing yoga, I quickly remembered some moves and stretches. We had Mike for a teacher (4/17/10) and he was absolutely amazing, funny, and a great teacher. Good music, good chants, good mudras, and good instruction. I was very impressed. I am also feeling it even today as I write this – I was gonna do a sunday class, but I’m a bit too sore. So monday it is instead. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Went back on Monday the 19th of April (2010) for the Basic Yoga class: by Charlotte – An amazing class. While the class space was smaller than the one I did on Saturday, it was a comfortable group and everyone talked and made friends. It was a really good ease-into-movements and breathing class, and Charlotte was really good – working with everyone. I was very impressed. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
Goth Skate Night is a newly formed hangout night for the Colorado Springs Hearse Club and local Goth Community that appears to happen every other month (alternated by a Gothic Bowling Night). While held during a general skate night on a saturday night at Skate City on North Academy, its more of a social mixer where Hearse club enthusiasts, Goths, and Lolitas can meet to rollerskate or hang out with one another. From 8 pm until 10 pm, put on your skates and roll around. The music that Skate City puts out is far from Goth or any similar music, but hopes of the group that more of their favorite songs might be played if more show up.