Without much opportunity to travel last year, we decided to rent a hotel room in Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs from the 26th of December through the 30th. I have never been to Colorado before, and neither had Beau, surprisingly.
He’s the world traveler out of the two of us. With our wedding anniversary (the first to be exact), my birthday, and Christmas all together, he decided to plan a special five-day trip out there.
I should start off by warning you, that if you have never been to any part of Colorado before, be prepared. The mountains, the scenery, it’s the most beautiful thing I have seen to date. We actually took the 8-9-hour trip by car as we are both suckers for road trips. Colorado Springs is an artsy, down to earth city.
GARDEN OF THE GODS HOTEL
We ended up staying at the Garden of the Gods Hotel and Resort, and let me tell you guys, it’s GORGEOUS. I’ve stayed in quite a few hotels over my lifetime, but nothing like this. On our first night there, we arrived with some day light left.
The hotel room itself was beautiful. It had the huge bathroom area, pristine white bed sheets, a fireplace, and a sliding glass door to the outside. Everyone at the hotel is so kind, and it’s a really gorgeous hotel. We went during Christmas, so they had this fantastic gingerbread castle in the middle of a hotel that had just won a prize in a local contest.
I was in awe the moment I opened up the sliding door. The Garden of the Gods park was our literal backyard. The sprawling mountains and ridges in the background were unlike anything I had ever seen before. I’ll tell you walking up to that every morning was the highlight of my day. We did hike through the snow-covered hills of the Garden of the Gods park, and it was my absolute favorite moment of the trip, and we got some gorgeous photographs!
ROYAL GORGE TRAIN RIDE
One of our first days there included going to Canon City and riding the Royal Gorge train through the Colorado Rockies. I have to mention the drive to Canon City was just as beautiful as the ride into Colorado Springs and it was SNOWING! If y’all don’t know, I have never seen real, beautiful snow before, so this was such a fun experience.
The Royal Gorge Railroad has different cars and areas (and they are kid friendly)! They have first class, coach, club, and dome seating. I had never been on a train before, and when I mentioned how I might want to try it to Beau, he booked it. We ended up in the Club Class car with no kids, and it was epic, specifically because we ended up in the Teddy Roosevelt Car.
The whole trip is about an hour and a half, but totally worth it. I got some incredibly beautiful pictures from this trip. One of the best parts for me was that they have “open air cars,” where you walk out to a moving train car that is uncovered and you can watch the scenery in real-time instead of through a window. If you go during Christmas time, they have special “Santa Express Trains,” which are loads of fun for kids and adults alike.
That same night, we wandered into the Rabbit Hole, a local hotspot. My husband had told me before the trip that he had booked a really fun place for us to eat. In typically Beau and Kristina fashion, I had been researching restaurants, and he was so excited to tell me where we were going, he spilled the beans.
He was taking me to an Alice and Wonderland themed restaurant…But it was also the cities FORMER MORGUE! Again, if y’all know me (a licensed funeral director,) you cannot imagine how giddy and excited I was. To top it off, the restaurant is underground and you get in my walking down these stairs in the middle of the sidewalk.
If you go, I highly encourage you to get a reservation as they are extremely busy. Their menu is just as exciting as their back story. They have a litany of drinks, but we ended up with a Key Lime Martini (which tastes JUST like a key lime pie), and the White Rabbit, their signature martini. Their menu is also an interesting mix of items, and we ended up with the roasted Brussel sprouts (full of bacon bites and maple syrup.)
Beau had the Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf and said it was pretty good. I am not a meatloaf kind of girl, so I had the Chorizo Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Prawns and it was good too. The only complaint, for some reason, Colorado likes their bacon fatty (and I like mine crispy,) so I pulled it off of the prawns, but I would give the restaurant a solid 8/10. It really is a cool atmosphere, and reminds me of a speakeasy. This place is a MUST if you’re ever in Colorado Springs. You will not be disappointed.
YOU GUESSED IT, THE ZOO
On to one of my favorite things we did, and it was the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Yall, I know what you’re thinking, it’s just a Zoo, but it was amazing! It has more than 750 animals, its at a 6,800-foot elevation making it the highest zoo in America, and it was recently ranked the 4th best zoo in North America, and there’s so many reasons why! We went early in the morning, and when we showed our tickets, we were given coins to put in machines as soon as we walked in which was “Quarters for Conservation,” which allows guest to choose what zoo programs they support.
Mind you, we went to the zoo at 10:00 am, in the freezing cold, (it felt like 7 degrees out,) so a lot of the animals were in their enclosures indoors, but it was a cool experience never the less. We walked the entire zoo and saw silverback gorillas, orangutans, various birds, rhinos, elephants, kangaroos, anything you can think of!
One of our favorite moments was when we walked around a corner in the zoo, we were greeted by this huge glass window with five female and one male tigers in it. We were so close to them, it was kind of scary. Beau also happened to capture one of the male tigers growling and making loud noises in his outer enclosure, and that was an interesting moment.
IT’S A SHRINE
A lot of people don’t know this, but above the zoo on the mountain is something called the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun. When you’re done at the zoo, you get in your car, drive all the way up the mountain and you’re at your destination. Keep in mind at the point it had been snowing pretty heavily at the zoo and the snow was getting thicker and sticking.
The Shrine is a “commemorative tower” named after Will Rogers, a humorist, who died in a 1935 plane crash in Alaska. It was so quite up there, it was almost creepy. I will say however, it was one of the coolest things we had done.
Standing in complete silence, on top of this 100-foot, five-story towers looking out over the city of Colorado Springs. The inside of the shrine has painted pictures from different time periods and a chapel on the bottom.
Lastly, if you’re in the area, you should also definitely check out the 7 Falls of Broadmoor which is this incline, where you hike up to the falls, look out from an observation deck, and hike some more. I will tell you, they highly encourage you to hike up these piles of stairs to some trails, but I would encourage you NOT to do that during the winter time.
Your first trek is of 224 stairs, and it’s not for the faint of heart. I made it up 20 stairs before my anxiety and sheer panic set in. I went to step down and slipped on the icy, wet stairs. So, ALWAYS be careful, but it was also an extremely majestic and beautiful place.
Overall, Colorado Springs and the surround areas have SO MUCH to offer you guys!! Beau and I did so many things that I would have never thought of doing, but they were so much fun. It’s such a quaint, beautiful city with a lot of hidden gems, and we highly, highly encourage you to check it out if you’re in the market for some new trip ideas.