Colorado Springs with Kids: A Perfect Family Day

by Virginia Wesley, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Sep 13th 2010 04:17 PM

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Colorado Springs with Kids: A Family Vacation

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Being the grandmother of a 6-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy, I know something about what works for kids in my city of Colorado Springs, CO. With a backdrop of the breathtaking Rocky Mountains and weather that offers 300-plus days of sunshine yearly, one can hardly go wrong on a family vacation with kids in Colorado Springs. Parents and children alike will enjoy a fun-filled day with educational experiences as well as plenty of good food and exercise.

Here is my suggested itinerary for the best family vacation day in Colorado Springs with kids:


Morning


Starting out the day with a hearty breakfast at Bon Ton's Café patio always works well for kids. Located in Old Colorado City's National Historic District, Bon Ton's Café has a friendly staff and offers a kids' menu. The menu comes with crayons and is designed for the kids to learn interesting facts about Western history and, of course, color on as well.

Bon Ton's Café
2601 West Colorado Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80904
719-634-1007
Hours: Daily 6:30AM-3PM

After breakfast, bring your kids around the corner to Mountain Moppets, a children's boutique that has been around for over 25 years. Parents and children alike will delight in this fanciful and imaginative clothing, accessory and toy store. Mountain Moppets carries infant through size 14 in girls and size 10 in boys, and it has the most unusual assortment of toys and gifts for all ages.

Mountain Moppets
2532 West Colorado Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80904
719-633-3473

The next stop during the family vacation in Colorado Springs with your kids is the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. This zoo boasts the highest elevation for a zoo in the United States. It is an easy drive down 21st street from Old Colorado City; just follow the signs all along the way. Strollers, wheelchairs and electric carts are available to help manage the high elevation with kids in tow. The zoo houses 550 animals representing 110 species and features a tram sky ride, carousel and miniature train. The zoo offers healthy lunch options and very clean and modern restrooms.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
719-633-9925
Hours: 9AM-6PM, last admission at 4PM (Memorial Day-Labor Day), 9AM-5PM, last admission at 4PM (all other months)
Admission: $14.25 for adults 12-64, $12.25 for seniors 65+, $7.25 for children 3-11, free for children 2 and under


Afternoon


Before continuing on with your family vacation in Colorado Springs, perhaps you should rest back at the hotel or a stop at Bear Creek Park before heading to Manitou Springs for the remainder of the day.

Manitou Springs is a fantasy world for kids with its penny arcade and games that have been there for decades. A pocketful of change can last hours, and parents can reminisce about their own childhood. There are at least two dozen small electric rides like Tonka Dump Truck and Batmobile. When the kids have had their fill of rides and games, you can all walk next door to Patsy's Candies, where there is literally a smorgasbord of caramel corn, salt water taffy and ice cream or gelato. The city of Manitou Springs has undergone a major renovation creating a tourist-friendly shady stroll down the avenue. There are plenty of benches, and occasionally you come across water fountains that are famous for their healing properties and natural carbonation.

Manitou Springs Visitors Center
354 Manitou Avenue
Manitou Springs, CO 80829
719-685-5089

Patsy's Candies
1540 S 21st Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80904
719-633-7215
Hours: Mon-Fri 9AM-6PM, Sat 10AM-5PM, Sun 11AM-4PM


Evening


If anyone has any energy left, there is a free public indoor pool just outside of the tourist district of Manitou Springs on the way back to Old Colorado City. There are more things to do in Colorado Springs, but I would imagine the kids might be asleep in their car seats at this point. Maybe mom and dad just want to get takeout from Front Range BBQ or the best hamburgers from Meadow Muffins before heading back to the hotel for a well-earned night's sleep.

Front Range BBQ
2330 West Colorado Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80904
719-632-2596
Hours: Open daily at 11AM

Meadow Muffins
2432 W. Colorado Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80904
719-633-0583


This is just one way to spend a day during the best family vacation in Colorado Springs. Fortunately, the city has endless possibilities for everyone in the family, young or old, and a setting that is incomparable!
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