The second-largest city in the state, Colorado Springs has a little bit of everything: outdoor activities, arts and culture, and a strong military presence thanks to the nearby Air Force Base. You could spend weeks here and not run out of things to do, but here’s a selection of some of the top picks.

First, give yourself an afternoon to explore all that Royal Gorge has to offer. There’s an aerial tram, zip line tours, SkyCoaster, and suspension bridge, which is the highest of its kind in the world. Conveniently, one ticket to the park will grant you admission to all the exciting activities.

Royal Gorge Bridge Colorado, higher bridge of USA

Then, put on your boots and head over to the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame & the Museum of the American Cowboy. Even if country music and the honkey-tonk lifestyle aren’t your scene, you’ll get a kick out of the exhibits, which celebrate the sport and the people who love it.

See how some of the nation’s best protect the country at the Air Force Academy with a self-guided tour. The visitors center has exhibits, hometown maps, and an educational video about the Academy.

Friendly giraffe stops to say Hi at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

Kids and adults alike will love getting up close with the wildlife at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Among the animals are zebra, hippos, elephants, kangaroo, bears, monkeys, moose, and all sorts of reptiles, amphibians, and water creatures. Be sure to check times for special wildlife demonstrations with the grizzly bears, wolves and tigers!

The Ghost Town Museum gives a glimpse into the way life used to be, with a full recreation of one of the towns that were common back in the 1800s and early 1900s.

In the springtime, the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine also lets you take a peek into the past with tours that highlight the entire process that began way back when. You’ll descend 1,000 feet down the mineshaft and underground where the magic happened, and even get to walk away with your own gold ore souvenir!

Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs CO USA

It’s easy to get into the great outdoors with a whitewater rafting expedition through one of several providers in the area, like Echo Canyon River Expeditions. Yet, you’ll never feel more at one with nature than at the Garden of the Gods, a park that boasts 300 sandstone structures and an on-site visitor and nature center. You can also marvel at the beauty of the world around you as you take a hike or bike ride through Red Rock Canyon, which spans nearly 800 acres.

Quick Guide to Colorado Springs