For a spectacular and energized “day” in Colorado, head to Woodland Park: “The City Above the Clouds.”
At an elevation of 8,465 feet, the sun generally shines, even when there is cloud cover at low elevations. Breathtaking panoramic views of Pikes Peak are ubiquitous from almost anywhere in the city.
The starting point is the Visitor Center, located at 210 E. Midland Ave. Debbie Miller, president of the Greater Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce, points out that visitors are not only given information about what to see and what to do, but are also engaged by center staff to glean individual interests for a personalized perfect day.
Next on the agenda is some morning food to get ready for the day. Time-tested local favorites include the Hungry Bear Restaurant (111 E. Midland Ave.) for a full and hearty breakfast, or a stop at the famous Donut Mill (310 W. Midland Ave.), for fabulous homemade treats. The newcomer to town Java Haus (116 W. Midland Ave.) offers a warm and relaxing atmosphere to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee or a cup of the best hot chocolate around, while savoring the spectacular view of Pikes Peak from the patio.
Now is the time to saddle up and explore the city. The wide variety of entertainment possibilities are endless. A few places for kids of all ages include the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center (201 S. Fairview St.) and the indoor, state-of-the-art Woodland Aquatic Center (111 N. Baldwin St.). The aqua center is very nice with water fun for all ages and includes a water play structure, lazy river, slide, lap lanes and leisure pool. Framed by a wall of glass is another world class view of Pikes Peak, America’s Mountain!
Take an eternally fascinating journey back in time by spending an hour or two at the Dinosaur Center. Impressive fossils of prehistoric creatures, colorful graphics and life-restoring sculptures spark the imagination with a glimpse of another time. These eras are brought to life through a working fossil lab, interactive kids’ zone, guided tours and videos. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop, Prehistoric Paradise, to purchase a memorable dino souvenir.
After working up an appetite after the morning activities, it’s time for a welcome break at Memorial Park (200 N. Park St.). Stop first at Joanie’s Deli and Bakery (110 E. Midland Ave.) for a picnic lunch of gourmet sandwiches and decadent desserts. Find a picnic table in the park that offers more fabulous views of soaring Pikes Peak. Children can have fun on the playground or on the basketball court, then take a walk on the paved path around the picturesque mountain lake. At this point, Fido might enjoy a dog park located in the Meadow Wood Sports Complex (2000 Evergreen Heights Drive), where large and small dogs enjoy the safety of their own space.
Now that you’re feeling relaxed and refreshed, it’s time to explore other fun options available. Maybe play a round of golf at the Shining Mountain Golf Course. Rumor has it that the bullet flies farther at high altitude. Stop at the Ute Pass Historical Society & Pikes Peak Museum (231 E. Henrietta Ave.) to browse historic buildings and learn about the traditions and history of Teller County. Nearby is the Woodland Park Public Library (218 E. Midland Ave.), offering civic services in a small-town atmosphere.
Shopping in Woodland Park is a real delight! Check out Colorado GearLab (108 W. Midland Ave.) for a wide range of new and used outdoor gear and apparel for all ages. The store offers a wonderful opportunity to try out a sport without a huge upfront outlay of cash. Snowshoes can be hired and quality new and used branded goods at affordable prices are available.
Nearby is the Miss Priss Women’s Clothing Store (110 W. Midland Ave.), a boutique that offers unique clothing, shoes, and accessories. After getting thirsty, head to 110 Reserve next door. Comfortable outdoor seating is available in see-through plastic shelters heated by heaters and fire pits – or relax in the courtyard. Every seat at 110 Reserve offers stunning views of Pikes Peak. Enjoy local draft beer or the best old-fashioned beer in town, along with tasty apps, lunches, and dinners.
The bustling and hugely popular Woodland Park Farmers Market has been around for over 30 years and is a weekly Friday tradition in the summer. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays, from the first Friday in June through the last Friday in September, head to Memorial Park Market (200 N. Park St.) to browse the freshest fruits and vegetables, baked goods , honey, coffee and more. Another not-to-be-missed event is the old-fashioned 4th of July celebration, also held at Memorial Park. It’s a day of fun with musical performances, refreshments, arts and crafts, a fishing tournament and a basketball tournament.
Woodland Park vibrates with energy, has a flair for Old West vibes, and proudly sports modern amenities. And those constant, breathtaking views of Pikes Peak can’t be beat! End the day with a lager or German beer on the outdoor patio at local brewery BierWerks (121 E. Midland Ave.) and enjoy a delicious meal at one of the city’s many fine restaurants. Sated and full of memories from a day of adventures, it’s time to end a perfect day of fun.