Published on Thursday, September 29, 2011 06:46
Written by Traveling Grandmom
Explore Garden of the Gods as your Colorado vacation was meant to be enjoyed – by horseback. At Academy Riding Stables, cowboys and cowgirls are your guides as you ride into the Garden of Gods Visitor & Nature Center, a 1,400 acre park, for your Colorado family vacation. You take it all in – rugged, plush landscape, dramatic views, 300 foot towering sandstone rock formations with a backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak, while astride a horse matched with your riding experience.
Your cowboy guides will also point out interesting red rock formations in the Garden of the Gods, such as Sleeping Giant, Kissing Camels, and Balanced Rock. You’ll hear stories about how the Garden of Gods might have been a beer garden. How in 1879 at the urging of his friend General Palmer, Charles Elliott Perkins, head of the Burlington Railroad, purchased 240 acres in the Garden of the Gods for a summer home, later adding more property, but never built upon the land. He loved the natural state of his land, and ultimately bequeathed it to the city to become a public park, known forever as the Garden of the Gods…and “where it shall remain free to the public…”
Open year-round (except Thanksgiving and Christmas), Academy Riding Stables caters to the whole family. Riders 8 years or older are welcome to enjoy guided one or two hour trail rides in Garden of the Gods. Kids under 8 can still enjoy the experience with a 15-minute ride in the enclosed “pony carousel.” Kick up your special occasions a notch by hiring their hay wagon, surreys or stage coach.
Academy Riding Stables is just minutes from the family-friendly, historic Manitou Springs, approximately 90 minutes from Denver. Manitou Springs is tucked between the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak, America's most famous mountain, and Pikes Peak area is a destination touched by Mother Nature.
Explore the historic Manitou Avenue (Main Street) of Manitou Springs before or after your horseback ride. Manitou Springs offers year-round activities and attractions. The main street is lined with boutique shops, souvenirs, and restaurants. Keep the adventure going and take the kids to Balanced Rock Café or Castaways, the Pirate Restaurant. Book another cowboy adventure at Flying W Chuckwagon Suppers & Western Stage Show. On Main Street, be sure to stop at Old Tyme Photography to create your own “historic” photos.
Stop by the Manitou Springs Visitor Center for a free map and tasting cup. Taste the mineral springs, fed by the snows from Pikes Peak. Or Ride up, up, up on the Pikes Peak Cog Railroad to the highest heights of Pikes Peak at 14,000+ feet. Visit a place where history is frozen in time at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings.
WHERE TO STAY:Manitou Springs’ lodging
caters to all budgets, ranging from historic motels, many still family-owned, lining the busy Manitou Avenue.
Surround yourself in history with a stay at the historic Cliff House at Pikes Peak
, built in 1873 before Colorado became a state! Decorated in late 1800’s style, The Cliff House at Pikes Peak has just 54 hotel rooms – and the luxury suites are named after guests from the past, such as Clark Cable, Buffalo Bill and Teddy Roosevelt. Roam the hall of the hotel, checking out the antiques, old pictures and historical pieces, such as guest registries from the 1800s,
Order your free Manitou Springs Guide, or for more information, visit www.manitousprings.org
Other area attractions: Royal Gorge Bridge & Park