Colorado Springs – horseback riding in the Garden of the Gods and Manitou Cliff Dwellings – more family fun!

On to day two of our exploration of the Colorado Springs area! If you want to see what we did on day one, check out this post!

Woodland Park

One of the stops we made on our first day  I forgot! However, it’s a “must see” if you have a dinosaur fan or Jr. Paleontologist in your household and that’s the Dinosaur Resource Center.

The Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center is a fairly new 20,000 square foot museum located in Woodland Park. We found it while eating at a restaurant across the street!

The museum features fossils from North America’s Cretaceous Period including marine reptiles, pterosaurs, dinosaurs, a working fossil lab viewable by visitors, children’s play area and hands-on educational activities. It’s open all year and boasts very knowledgeable tour guides who are great with all ages!

More in Manitou Springs…

Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Quite amazingly these fantastic cliff dwellings are right outside of downtown Manitou – I found it particularly amazing that they’ve been so well preserved so close to modern society. It really feels like you step back in time the second you go through their gates.

The cliff dwellings were first opened to the public in 1907.   The tour is self-guided and you get to explore each room of these carefully preserved structures.  One downside is this leaves children free to run and play around the structures and so it’s difficult to listen to the recordings and even the piped in music in each room and area. There are descriptive plaques that tell you about each area that are highly educational.

Below the Cliff Dwellings is a three-story Pueblo-style building which houses the museum and a simple astounding gift shop that covers two stories of the building and seems to go on forever (seriously block in some time for shopping!)

The Pueblo that houses the museum and gift shop was built so visitors could see and appreciate the building style of some of the descendants of the Anasazi.  While a newer structure, the first six rooms of the Pueblo were built in 1898. It has been expanded three times since then. Until 1984 it was occupied by Native Americans.

This was a fun stop and the kids really enjoyed learning about the Native Americans who lived so close to where people are today! Hours and more visitor information can be found on the website:

Academy Riding Stables – horseback ride through the Garden of the Gods

No candid shots here because we were busy riding – however they do take these shots of each rider and you can purchase them at the end of the ride!

This was our second horseback ride of the year and I have to say we had a great time on this one. As beginning riders, we opted for the short one hour tour, but the ride was really satisfying fulfilling a wonderful tour of the Garden of the Gods and we were guided by real cowboys who payed tour guide by pointing out some of the interesting red rock formations of the Garden of the Gods Park including; the Sleeping Giant, Snakehead Rock, Kissing Camels and Siamese Twins. They talked about the history of the park and we came out with not only a great ride, but a fantastic way to see and learn more about the Garden of the Gods!

It was a gorgeous ride with lovely horses! Several things to know before you go is that they are Open year round (Weather Permitting).  Riders must be 8 years or older – however, they do have pony rides available for little kids. And there’s a maximum weight limit of 250lb.  Reservations are recommended and you’ll need to arrive 45 minutes before your scheduled ride to fill out paperwork and receive instructions. Be sure to visit their website for more information!

Silver Saddle Motel

That night we spent the night at the Silver Saddle Motel – very kid friendly with a fantastic pool and clean with a good continental breakfast! I’d recommend it in a heartbeat!

For more information about the Silver Saddle Motel, see my review on Mid-Century Style.


Colorado Springs always amazes me. It’s like the perfect vacation just an hour from Denver. We’ve never run out of things to do there. Adding to my bucket list: horseback riding Garden of the Gods. Awesome!

Thanks for these lovely ideas. I am planning a trip to Colorado springs soon, so I’ll keep these in mind 🙂

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