Like a fine wine, seven Colorado Springs attractions are only getting better with age. In 2011, Cave of the Winds, Pikes Peak Cog Railway, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Golden Bee, Cheyenne Mountain Resort, the Colorado Balloon Classic and El Paso County will celebrate milestones ranging from 150 years to a silver anniversary. Visit the Pikes Peak region this year and commemorate these momentous occasions with various special events and exhibits.
Pikes Peak Cog Railway – 120 years
The Cog Railway, the highest cog in the world, was built in 1891 by mattress tycoon Zalmon Simmons, a visitor to the region in the late 1880s, who envisioned a better way than a two-day mule ride to get to the top of Pikes Peak. Spencer Penrose, owner of the world-renowned Broadmoor Hotel, acquired and upgraded the cog in 1925. While the style of the railcar has changed several times over the years, the amazing experience remains the same for travelers bound for the summit of Pikes Peak. www.CogRailway.com
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center – 75 years
The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (FAC) opened April 20, 1936 during The Great Depression. The FAC is home to world-class art galleries, Broadway-worthy live theatre and an art school for all ages. The FAC carries the legacy of Colorado’s arts and cultural heritage. The FAC’s building is considered an architectural landmark in the Rocky Mountain region and is listed on the National Register for Historical Places. Throughout 2011, the FAC will celebrate 75 years of history with a series of events. www.CSFineArtsCenter.org
Cave of the Winds – 130 years
Cave of the Winds is celebrating 130 continuous years as a public attraction (1881-2011).Over the years, visitors have toured the subterranean passages exquisitely decorated with stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone and helictites. Cave of the Winds is an irreplaceable natural resource of scenic, scientific, educational and historic importance. The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is featuring a free exhibit of historical photographs, artifacts and memorabilia of the Cave in 2011. www.CaveOfTheWinds.com
The Golden Bee – 50 years In 1961, The Golden Bee originally came to The Broadmoor as a collection of panels and fixtures from a 19th-century pub shipped from England and reassembled in Colorado Springs. While it has stayed true to its authentic English pub heritage, “The Bee” has established several traditions of its own: flying bee stickers, yards of ale and a sing-along piano. “The Bee” will mark its 50th Anniversary on May 27, 2011. A partnership with Bristol Brewery will produce a special-release Golden Bee 50th Anniversary Ale at the May 27 Anniversary Party. After May, the new brew will be available at all Broadmoor outlets for 2011. www.Broadmoor.com/Golden-Bee-Anniversary.php
Cheyenne Mountain Resort – 25 years Cheyenne Mountain Resort opened in 1985 with a focus on delivering exceptional Colorado experiences to visitors from near and far. The AAA Four-Diamond-rated resort is enhancing the original vision of a Colorado lifestyle resort with a $23 million renovation to upgrade guest rooms and refresh leisure areas. Guests can enjoy numerous activities, including indoor and outdoor pools, a private 35-acre lake, indoor and outdoor tennis, an 18-hole golf course designed by Pete Dye and on-site dining. www.CheyenneMountain.com
Colorado Balloon Classic – 35 years The Colorado Balloon classic has grown to be the largest and the longest continuously running hot air balloon festival in the Rocky Mountain Region as well as the State of Colorado. This annual family event held every Labor Day Weekend is free to the public. Mass ascensions with over 100 balloons are scheduled for Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings with a Balloon Glo® scheduled for Saturday and Sunday evenings. Each year a variety of concessions are available and entertainment is provided during each event. www.BalloonClassic.com.
El Paso County – 150 years El Paso County celebrates its Sesquicentennial this year. The county has some of the most interesting parks in the region, including Interpretive Paint Mines Park with mushroom-like rock formations called “hoodoos” and Bear Creek Dog Park, frequented by many two- and four-legged visitors. Fountain Creek and Bear Creek Nature Centers serve as the interactive gateways to Bear Creek Park and Fountain Creek Park offering various activities and events for visitors of all ages. www.ElPasoCo.com