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Colorado Springs Attractions and Things to See

Colorado Springs is located in the southern region of the state of Colorado, by Fountain Creek, and some 61 miles from the state's capitol of Denver, more than a mile high, with some areas higher. It is close to one of the most famous American mountains, Pikes Peak, that is located at the eastern end of the great Southern Rocky Mountains. It is the second most populated city in the state, but covers more than 186 square miles, making it the biggest city in area, and voted the number 1 Best Big City in the "Best Places to Live" by Money magazine in 2006, as well as Outside's 2009 list of the country's best cities.

It has a marvelous history that goes back to the 19th century, when William Jackson Palmer, a Civil War general and Medal of Honor winner, arrived here to survey the country with the Kansas Pacific Railroad. He would realize that a city in the valley of the shadow of Pikes Peak would be the perfect place, and although he couldn't convince the railroad to come here, he did found the city in 1871, hoping to build a resort city and would eventually create a town that was nicknamed "little London". He also didn't want a city to become littered with saloons, like the close by Colorado City, that is now Old Colorado City, and it would be a dry town until prohibition ended in 1933. In its earliest period, it would become a significant center for mining supplies to South Park, where the important gold rush at Pikes Peak brought in droves of people from all walks of life, and after the discovery at Cripple Creek in 1891, his railroads would bring the gold ore to Colorado City at the Golden Cycle Mill to process most of the gold. Winfield Scott Stratton would discover and develop one of the richest gold mine in the earth in 1891 at Cripple Creek and Victor that would become the most generous benefactor to the communities around it and Colorado Springs.

As the gold mines played out, the area would become crippled, until the health benefits of the mineral waters, dry climate and magnificent natural beauty was advertised and the city became a tourist attraction and favorite recuperation destination for tuberculosis patients, since the waters around Colorado Springs had such a high concentration of fluoride that caused many folks' teeth to develop what would be called Colorado stain. Dr. Frederick Mckay of the city discovered that the Colorado stain was caused by the fluoride in the water and that a small amount would help prevent cavities, which can be viewed at the health exhibit at the Pioneers Museum.

The city has been trying to attract a military installation for many years to help with the local economy, and by 1942, it would witness the results of this attempt that would become Fort Carson, and use the city's municipal airport for training, after renaming it Peterson Field. At the close of the Korean War, President Eisenhower would select the city, out of 300, to become the home of the United States Air Force Academy, and in the 1960s, the area would enjoy another boom with the creation of NORAD, constructed in Cheyenne Mountain; right next to Colorado Springs. In the 1970s, Ent Air Force base would be closed and converted into the US Olympic Training Center, and in the 1980s, Falcon Air Force base would be opened to handle missile defense and satellite control.

Today, besides the military presence and the arrival of high-tech industry, tourism has become the third major attraction for people coming here to vacation and live. Located at the base of the Rocky Mountains, the city has more than its fair share of parks, trails, outstanding scenery, unique geological features, rock formations that include the Cave of the Winds, Garden of the Gods park, Pikes Peak and Seven Falls, that bring folks here to enjoy all the natural beauty and adventure. The city has become the home of many historical, cultural and educational attractions that include the American Numismatic Association Money Museum, the US Air Force Academy, Peterson Air and Space Museum, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Cheyenne Mountain Heritage Center, the Colorado Fine Arts Center and the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy.

There are many religious institutions located here, where this is a large number of transportation options, education and outstanding cuisine.