The city of Colorado Springs features a rich local history, in addition to its beautiful landscape and hiking trails. Colorado Springs museums have an important role to play in educating both long-time residents and newcomers about the heritage of our beautiful region, while providing a perfect activity for those looking to escape the summer heat for a day. We have compiled a list of our local favorite museums in Colorado Springs for you and your family to visit and explore. Some of these museums are even free which is a bonus for large families.
Please note: some museums may require reservations to help maintain social distancing or be adhering to other COVID-19 restrictions, so check out these museums’ websites for important information before you go.
Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is located in the historic El Paso County Courthouse built-in 1903. Dedicated to preserving and sharing the cultural history of the Pikes Peak Region, CSPM features exhibits on Native American history, women’s suffrage, and the founding of Colorado Springs. You can also check out their lecture series if there is an aspect of Colorado history that you want to explore further. CSPM offers free admission, but donations are gladly accepted.
McAllister House Museum was built in 1873 as home to the influential McAllister family. Henry McAllister Jr. accepted a position working for General Palmer’s Colorado Springs Company around 1866 and moved his family to Colorado Springs, where his descendants still live today. Their home is now a historic site detailing the family’s history and their role in the founding of Colorado Springs. Reservations are currently required to visit this charming cottage on N. Cascade Ave. Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children.
Miramont Castle is an 1895 chateau owned and operated by the Manitou Springs Historical Society and contains an eclectic and colorful collection of local artifacts, from an exhibit on the Manitou Springs Fire Department to Judge Young’s (presiding judge during the Nurnberg Trial) office display. After exploring the museum, make sure to stop by the tea room for a Victorian-style lunch. The gift shop also provides everything you’d need to take tea home with you. Admission to the castle is $12 for adults and $8 for children.
Manitou Springs Heritage Center educates local residents and guests about the unique history of Manitou Springs. Current exhibits discuss the education system in Manitou from 1872-1957, the Pikes Peak Railway, and Manitou Incline, as well as featuring collections from influential local artists. Their newest exhibit, opening in June, will display photos of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb from a Pulitzer-winning photojournalist. You can also check out their virtual exhibits to learn about Manitou from the comfort of your own home. Admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted.
Penrose Heritage Museum showcases the contributions of the Penrose family to the heritage of the Pikes Peak Region, such as the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and the Broadmoor Hotel. The museum houses 30 carriages, authentic artifacts from the history of the American West, and 15 race cars that competed in the Hill Climb. Admission to this museum is free.
The Pikes Peak Trolley Museum preserves historic streetcars from the Pikes Peak region, and their ultimate mission is to restore a working street railway system to Colorado Springs using those cars. To that end, the museum features a trolley ride, which is unfortunately temporarily out of service, exhibits of restored streetcars, and a restoration shop where their current projects are displayed. Admission to the museum is $9 for adults and $5 for children.
National Museum of World War II Aviation, appropriately located on Aviation Way in Colorado Springs, explores the technical advances of the United States in aviation during the WWII period. The museum features 18 fully-restored WWII aircraft, as well as 10 aircraft from the pre-war and post-war periods. Check out their special events to see some of these amazing aircraft fly! Regular admission is $15 for adults and $11 for children.
ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum explores the impact of cowboys and rodeo on the American West while telling the stories of 279 rodeo legends and the 35 remarkable animals that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Exhibits include the Heritage Hall, Hall of Champions, and Rodeo Livestock, which houses retired rodeo bucking horses. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children.
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center features 15 galleries of rotating exhibitions with a few permanent collections, such as the southwest collection and masterworks by O’Keefe, Kuhn, Sargent, and others. The Fine Arts Center partners with Colorado College to educate children and adults about art, offering special events, painting classes, and theater productions to appeal to the widest possible audience. Admission costs $10 for adults, and students are free with a valid school id, or visit on the 2nd Saturday or 3rd Friday of the month for free admission.
Michael Garman Museum and Gallery houses Garman’s most fantastic creation--a 3,000 square ft town built to 1/6 scale. Magic Town located in Old Colorado City was inspired by Garman’s travels through North, Central, and South America as a hitchhiker and vagabond and is meant to showcase the ordinary people Garman met along the way. Garman uses holographic technology to create his special brand of magic, which allows his cityscape to change before your eyes. Adult admission to Magic Town is $7.50, and children’s admission is $4.
The Money Museum, run by the American Numismatic Association, is the nation’s largest museum dedicated to the history of currency. In addition to boasting an impressive coin and paper money collection, including a nearly complete collection of real gold U.S. coins, guests will also enjoy the monthly demonstration of a 19th-Century style minting press. Admission for adults is $8, but free for children under 12.
Western Museum of Mining and Industry is dedicated to educating visitors about the contributions of ranching, mining, and other supporting industries to the development of the American West. This museum in Northgate has interactive exhibits that allow you to walk through a mine shaft and try your hand at panning for gold, the Museum of Mining is a perfect place for both children and adults to learn about a crucial piece of Colorado history. Visitors can also inspect mining machines up close and see a working blacksmith shop. Admission is $11 for adults and $6 for children.
May Natural History Museum, affectionately known as the bug museum, contains over 7000 species of insects from butterflies and beetles to spiders and scorpions. Museum founder, James May, amassed the largest private insect collection in the world, which is now open to the public. If you enjoy creepy-crawlies, this museum is a great value, as you’re sure to get your fill. Admission to the Museum is $8 for adults and $6 for kids.
U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum details the history of Team USA in the Olympic and Paralympic games. This new museum in downtown Colorado Springs features 12 galleries with artifacts, interactive exhibits, and media on the nation’s finest athletes. Explore the hall that holds every Olympic torch, or visit the Lab to dive into the science and technology behind our athletes’ equipment, using gesture-controlled screens. Admission for adults is around $25 and $15 for children.
Peterson Air and Space Museum was founded in 1982 as the NORAD Visitor Center and now includes the original Colorado Springs Airport passenger terminal, City Hanger, and Broadmoor Hanger. All exhibits are part of the U.S. Air Force’s Heritage Collection. Visitors to the museum will enjoy Barnstormers from the 1920s, exhibits on World War II aviation, and modern spacecraft. Make sure to obtain a base pass to Peterson Air Force Base before attempting to visit the museum.