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  • Writer's pictureElyse Marie

Manitou Springs, Colorado

Beautifully situated about 10 minutes from Colorado Springs, sits Manitou Springs. This is a must do adventure for any thrill seeking family. We started with the highlight, a journey up 14, 115 feet to the top of Pikes Peak. Did you know that the Pike's Peak Cog Railroad IS the World's Highest Cog Railway? We chose to take the Cog railroad which costs a good bit more than driving your car up, however it's a straight shot, there are no turns, and it goes slow and steady allowing me time to adjust to the altitude along the way. While others chose to drive up to the top, drive with care. I've heard a rumor from an insurance agent that traveling to the top of the peak in your vehicle can put the equivalent of 10,000 miles of wear and tear on your car! WOW! But that's a personal choice. Either way, be safe, and take your time journeying to the top.

For us, taking the Cog railroad was the way to go. At first, we were not thrilled about the last available tickets being the first train of the morning, but that actually is something we recommend now. The first train in the morning is a shorter ride to the top, you don't have to sit and wait for an oncoming train to pass, the journey was about an hour for us instead of the warned 1.40. There is no restroom on the train so please be sure to make everyone take a trip to their restrooms prior to boarding. But as you journey up and break through the timberline soaking in the sunrise views of the world below, you'll understand why 'America the Beautiful' was inspired and written for this view.

At the top, there is a restaurant, a museum, plenty of photo points, and a gift shop. The famous Pike's Peak donuts are served hot and help many travelers settle their stomach from the adjustment some. Now, if you find yourself in need of medical attention, there are plenty standing by to help, so have no fear! While I didn't check the museum this time, I can tell you a fun fact that in 1929 a man actually pushed a peanut with his nose all the way to the TOP OF Pike's Peak! Can you believe that? For more fun facts, visit

You'll be able to see an active Gold mine on your way up, which got me to thinking, let's take a mine tour next! However, traveling to the top of Pike's peak, it's wise to give yourself a few days between the drastic change in altitude before you head underground.

Now supplementing your children with academic lessons for the trip should not be a problem. With a little careful planning, you should be able to create history worksheets, lessons, art lessons, geology lessons for the journey up. This will pass the time on the Cog and allow you to get your teaching out of the way in time for donuts. The ride down will keep their minds busy as they finish up their work and search for big foot. Don't forget to count the animals, we were fortunate and had quite the show.

When you've finished your journey to the top, remember there are many other things to do nearby. Now, this trip we did not find ourselves with enough time to see everything but I can point you in a few extra adventure directions below.

For Pike's Peak Information and Tickets, visit

Also for visiting:

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Western Museum of Mining

And so many more Gold Mine Tours!

Looking for an educational family vacation? Colorado can keep you so busy you'll make another reservation for a follow up trip.... enjoy!

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