In the Mile High City of Denver, the majestic Colorado State Capitol is a must-see. The Neoclassical gem, built in 1886 using the world’s entire reserve of rose onyx (a rare and precious stone quarried in the town of Beulah, Colorado), features a rotunda reminiscent of the U.S. Capitol. Appropriately, the Capitol rests at exactly one mile above sea level, noted by a marker on the 13th step of the building’s entrance.
Nearby, the U.S. Mint is one of only four mints in the country and one of only two where the nation’s coins are made, a minting process that visitors can watch once they’ve requested a tour, three weeks in advance, from their congressional representative.
The city’s Wings over the Rockies Museum explores the state’s aviation history. Housed in a hanger at historic Lowry Air Force Base, the museum’s exhibits include a B-1 bomber, a space capsule and fighter jets. On the second Saturday of each month, kids get cockpit access to some of the museum’s aircraft.
A National Historic Landmark, the Kit Carson County Carousel in Burlington, named for the legendary frontiersman, is one of the oldest merry-go-rounds in the country. Built in 1905, this beautifully restored treasure features 46 hand-carved animals, ranging from zebras and giraffes to lions and horses. At 25 cents a ride, it’s also a bargain.
At the Four Corners Monument, visitors can literally stand in four states at once: Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. The Monument is a man-made topographical bronze disk set in granite that marks the exact point where the states converge. Split into quadrants, each section is engraved with the seal of the state, laying claim to its parcel of disk.
The 1,110-foot Rainbow Arch Bridge, listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks, is the only rainbow arch design in the state. Built in 1923, its 11 concrete arches span the South Platte River.
The world’s highest suspension bridge, the Royal Gorge Bridge is an awe-inspiring sight. Located near Cañon City, the dramatic quarter-mile bridge is a testament to human imagination and achievement.
In Colorado Springs, the U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel is one of the most dramatic, architecturally noteworthy buildings in the state. Seventeen razor-sharp spires are a highlight of its unique design, which features five different areas to fulfill the spiritual needs of all faiths. The city also features the nation's largest Olympic Training Center, home of the U.S. Olympic Committee, where visitors can watch the country’s top athletes train for competition.
For dino-lovers, the Dinosaur National Monument is a must-see. It features an exposed rock face of over 15,000 fossilized dinosaur bones. The Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center offers a well-designed dinosaur display. Just south of the monument lies the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway, a scenic highway featuring Fremont Indian rock art and a scattering of dinosaur dig sites.