With summer just around the corner, there are many adventures to be had! If you are looking for something different to do — check out these fun, strange, and interesting places to visit in Colorado. Each one is worthy of a nice long stop. Classic Colorado eccentricities await!
Carousel of Happiness in Nederland
Nederland’s Carousel of Happiness is a magical menagerie featuring 56 whimsical, hand-carved animals on a restored 1910 Looff carousel! This lovely carousel turns to the music of a 1913 Wurlitzer band organ. Witness the 100-year-old gears churn by watching from the upper observation window. Wheelchair ramp available. Rides are just $1!
The Carousel of Happiness is located at 20 Lakeview Dr, Nederland, CO 80466.
Bishop Castle in Rye
Love castles?? Check out Colorado’s Bishop Castle, made of stone and iron and built by a single man – Jim Bishop. He has been working on this incredible stone monument for 60 years. Located just West of Pueblo, Colorado, this castle stands a whopping 160 feet, complete with a grand ballroom, soaring towers, bridges, and a fire-breathing dragon! The castle welcomes visitors every day FREE of charge. For the full story of Jim Bishop and his castle, click here.
Bishop Castle is located at 12705 CO-165, Rye, CO 81069.
Coney Island Hot Dog Stand in Bailey
This iconic, giant hot dog is a favorite stop for drivers along Hwy 285 on the outskirts of Bailey, Colorado. The structure itself is a 42-foot-long wiener complete with mustard, relish, and bun. Built in 1966, the hot dog stand has moved from Lakewood to Aspen Park to its current home of Bailey. Coney Island Boardwalk continues to serve classic NY Coney Island hot dog stand menu items with a Colorado twist: Continental Sausage‘s antibiotic-free dogs and bratwurst and all-natural soft drinks from Rocky Mountain Soda Company. Even the condiments and potatoes for the french fries are sourced locally when possible. Stop in to try out the classic coney, a footlong hot dog smothered in meat, chili, and onions.
Coney Island Boardwalk is located at 10 Old Stagecoach Rd POB 973, Bailey, CO 80421
May Natural History Museum in Colorado Springs
May Natural History Museum, in Colorado Springs, houses the world’s largest private insect collection! 7,000 species of stunning butterflies, moths, beetles, spiders, scorpions, and other creepy crawlies are on exhibit. James May, the museum founder, collected bugs while traveling all over the world for over 80 years. His collection of over 100,000 specimens includes bizarre beetles like the adorable acorn weevil (pictured above, right) and the Australian peacock spider (pictured above, left). Admission fees: Adults $7, Seniors 60+ $6, Children 6 – 12 $5, 5 and under are FREE.
May Natural History Museum is located at 710 Rock Creek Canyon Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80926.
Matchless Mine in Leadville
Leadville, a Victorian-era boomtown during the Colorado silver rush, was founded by silver miner Horace Tabor. Tabor famously caused a scandal by divorcing his wife of 25 years to marry Baby Doe McCourt, who was half his age. Tabor become one of the wealthiest men in Colorado with his silver mines, including the Matchless Mine. Tabor’s fortune was lost when the price of silver collapsed after the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in 1893. He died completely destitute. On his deathbed, he pleaded with Baby Doe to hold on to his precious Matchless Mine, believing that the price of silver would rebound. Baby Doe spent the rest of her days alone in a cabin next to the now quiet silver mine for the next thirty years, where she eventually froze to death. Surface tours are available. For more information, click here.
The Matchless Mine and Baby Doe’s Cabin are located in Leadville, CO here.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg
Majestic wild animals roam at The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado. The sanctuary has cared for over 1,000 animals since it opened in 1980. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the 460 animals who reside at the sanctuary now by taking a stroll along the “Mile into the Wild Walkway” overlooking the sprawling habitats. Wild animals include wolves, lions, tigers, grizzly bears, black bears, lynx, and many more. General admission: $30/adult, $15/child, Children under 3 are FREE. For more information, click here.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary is located at 2999 Co Rd 53, Keenesburg, CO 80643.
The Tank in Rangely
The TANK, which might look like a plain old water tank from the outside, is known for its amazing acoustics, drawing musicians and music lovers alike. The TANK is a fascinating oddity — it began as an unused fire-suppression system tank whose floor became bowed out underneath the weight of the structure, creating a “gentle parabola” that resonates sound beautifully. The TANK is now a venue for musicians as well as an acclaimed recording space for artists. You can visit The TANK and experience its wonders every Saturday during the summer from 9 AM – 1 PM for FREE.
The TANK is located at 233 Co Rd 46, Rangely, CO 81648.