Colorado Springs is the way to go for the curious. Taking in the splendor of nature while exploring new landscapes and the fresh mountain air may satisfy you. But museums are the best teacher if you are curious about the culture and local history. Follow us with a quick tour of the top museums in Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum was initially constructed in 1903 as the city’s town hall structure.
And guess what? It almost became a parking lot!
The Pioneer Museum is only still standing today thanks to a community initiative in the 1960s when most of downtown’s historic buildings were scheduled for demolition.
The museum, established in 1979, proves that Colorado Springs still values its past.
When arriving here, riding in an old cage elevator from 1917 to learn more about the structure’s history is a must.
Stunning architecture with marble pillars and grand staircases will draw the attention of just about anyone.
From Elvira to the issue of Native American relocation are just some subjects covered in the constantly-changed exhibitions that highlight the history and culture of the Pikes Peak region.
Here are our favorite things to do in this museum:
- Explore the historic courtrooms.
- See Lady Justice murals and wall lanterns, where judges are still sworn in today.
- View the personal arsenal that General Palmer has amassed.
- Find out about the fascinating artists who have come from the Pikes Peak region or the history of the local Native Americans.
If you have limited time here, make sure you don’t miss the lobby’s functional old cash register. It is a worth-watching artifact that anyone should know.
Exclusively for kids, there is also an area in the museum called Wild West with a teepee and a rocking horse, making Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum an ideal destination for families to visit.
- Address: 215 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, CO 80903.
- Opening hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 am to 5 pm.
- Free Admission.
Ghost Town Museum
If you are a fan of both entertainment and history, Ghost Town Museum is a perfect blend.
Containing authentic structures and artifacts from the old west communities that formerly dotted this area in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the museum acts as a genuine preservation of the region’s pioneer legacy around Pikes Peak.
However, you won’t need to travel far into the wilderness to find this incredible piece of history because it has been painstakingly built indoors right in Colorado Springs.
Real buildings from early Colorado ghost towns will be present for you to walk amid as you travel back in time.
These tiny, deserted communities are all across our state, but they aren’t usually safe for ordinary families to visit because of things like hepatitis, venomous snakes, spiders, etc.
At the Ghost Town Museum, you may move through real buildings much more safely and pick up knowledge.
You can discover glimpses of pioneer life as you stroll along the wooden boardwalk, learn how the people of the past lived, explore thousands of more objects that are genuine pieces of Colorado history, look at real stagecoaches and wagons, and more.
The museum is filled with thousands of actual objects, providing a look into the lifestyle of long-ago miners and pioneers.
You may also pan for gold with the kids. Let them play in the arcade, go to the shooting range, and look at all the interesting and unusual historical facts.
- Address: 400 S 21st St Colorado Springs, CO 80904.
- Opening hours: 10 am to 6 pm (June – August) and 10 am to 5 pm (September – May).
National Museum of World War II Aviation
The museum, located not far from Colorado Springs Airport, was started by a group of pioneers who wanted to create a unique museum highlighting American aviation history’s significance.
The museum offers a balanced mix of artifacts, archival material, interpretive narratives, maps, and audio-visual systems.
All are intertwined with the museum’s collection of flying World War II-era aircraft, based on a concept developed by Gallagher and Associates.
Twenty fully restored World War II aircraft are kept in the house, and other World War II aircraft frequently stop there on their way across the country to airshows and other events.
Seven other flying aircraft, including pre-and post-war models relevant to World War II aviation history, are part of the museum’s collection.
Besides, there are a number of fully operational vehicles utilized by US forces and their allies during World War II that are on display at the National Museum of World War II Aviation.
- Address: 775 Aviation Way Colorado Springs, CO 80916.
- Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.
Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center
Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center in Woodland Park, Colorado, is a 20,000-square-foot museum of international renown and 12,000 of which are devoted to dinosaur exhibits.
The museum displays fossils from the Cretaceous Period of North America, including those of dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and marine reptiles.
You may read about each specimen’s history and see an active fossil lab where significant, recently discovered specimens are being extracted from their rock matrix and put through restoration.
If you visit with your family, the play area and practical teaching activities are always a hit with the kids.
If you need an expert to help you understand more, don’t hesitate to book a guided tour (included with admission).
You can learn more about the fossil skeletons on show from a member of this museum’s knowledgeable team.
The displays are enhanced with bright visuals and life-restoration sculptures to help you picture these amazing animals and the environments in which they lived.
- Address: S. Fairview Street Woodland Park, Colorado 80863.
- Opening hours: Monday-Saturday: 9 am to 6 pm, Sunday: 10 am to 5 pm. Closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year.
- Seniors (65+): $12.00
- Adults: $13.00
- Children 5-12: $9.00
- Children 4 and under: FREE
Peterson Air and Space Museum
Peterson Air Force Base, which lies in the southern suburbs of Colorado Springs, is home to the Peterson Air and Space Museum, the oldest aviation museum in Colorado.
The name of the base is a tribute to World War II aviator Edward J. Peterson, 1st Lieutenant, USAAC.
There are four original airport buildings at the Peterson Air and Space Museum, all of which were constructed between 1928 and 1941.
Three of these structures, including an airpark and a park honoring Medal of Honor recipients, are utilized by the museum, which shares and maintains Colorado Springs’ and Peterson Air Force Base’s rich aviation and space legacy.
One of the activities that you will enjoy here is entering through the 1941-built terminal structure that formerly served as the Colorado Springs Airport.
This structure houses the museum store, screening room, and a few exhibits focusing on the base’s service as a training station during World War II.
After leaving the main entrance building, you will observe the museum’s aircraft show at the Air Park, which is said to be one of the favorite things many visitors enjoy in Peter Air and Space Museums.
- Address: 150 E. Ent Avenue Peterson SFB, CO 80914-1303
- Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 3 pm.
- Free admission.
Penrose Heritage Museum
This museum, just a few steps away from the opulent Broadmoor Hotel, pays yet another homage to The Springs’ transportation heritage.
It houses the private artifact collection of Spencer and Julia Penrose, benefactors whose work resulted in the establishment of the Broadmoor Hotel, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Pikes Peak Highway, and the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, all of which are now well-known attractions of the Springs.
Over 30 carriages are kept in the Penrose Heritage Museum, most of which are shown alongside written histories of their previous uses.
Along with automobiles from the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and the Race to the Clouds, two of the oldest motorsport competitions in America, there are also a ton of Western cultural relics, including saddles and Native American antiques.
Make sure to take a seat and watch the motion picture about the hazardous race known as the Pikes Peak Hill Climb.
Even a historic crash is reenacted (don’t worry, everyone escaped unharmed), which is guaranteed to delight history aficionados.
Whether you are interested in automobiles, carriages, or relics, The Penrose Heritage Museum is the best site to learn about the history of Colorado Springs.
We recommend you spend at least an hour exploring this history-filled museum. It is a treasure!
- Address: 11 Lake Circle, Colorado Springs, CO 80906.
- Opening hours:
- Tuesday-Saturday: 9am-12pm; 1pm-4pm
- Sunday: 1pm-4pm
- Free admission.
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
As one of the few multi-discipline arts institutes in the US, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College was founded in 1919.
It is still a remarkable rarity today, integrating a museum, theater, and art school under one roof, effectively creating a whole art area.
It also offers epic parties in Smith Family Gallery and insider benefits for people to see the arts being made firsthand.
The original Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, created in 1936 by New Mexico architect John Gaw Meem, is one of Colorado’s top ten most significant structures.
After the expansion and renovation project by Tryba Architects in 2005, over 66,000 SF of the existing building was restored and added.
This resulted in a meticulously orchestrated ballet of contrasts between the old and the new, the earth and the sky, the solid and the emptiness, concrete and glass, sun and shade.
If you are going to visit this museum, make sure that you experience multi-form artwork such as plays, concerts, musicals, film festivals, and exhibitions.
Or do you prefer crafting art by yourself? Join Bemis School of Art. There are sometimes workshops and classes for both children and adults.
Before going, please check with the ticket office to confirm the timeline and workshop information.
- Address: 30 West Dale St. Colorado Springs, CO, 80903.
- Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm.
Exploring these 7 recommendations for museums in Colorado Springs, we know for sure you’re gonna be in love with this beautiful city as much as we do!