Surrounded by lush alpine scenery and rushing rivers banked by boulders, brush, and thicket, rafters ride the rapids during Performance Tours' half-day, full-day, and multi-day trips. The company requires their guides to complete training beyond the state's requirements, ensuring a crew with exceptional rafting prowess in addition to a special affinity for the Arkansas, Clear Creek, Blue, and Colorado Rivers. During tours, groups take in the scenery, spotting wildlife including bighorn sheep, while navigating river regions with names such as "Devil's Punchbowl". Now with more than 25 years' experience taming the bucking local waterways, the team can craft experiences ideal for families and rookie rafters, as well as the seasoned boater looking for a challenge and an impressive story to tell their salmon buddies.
Rock walls tower 1,200 feet on either side of you as you drift on a raft far below a suspension bridge. The rocks echo with the sound of rushing water as your raft heads toward churning Class V rapids. Once you start the plunge into the Royal Gorge run’s Sunshine Falls, Sledgehammer, and Narrows, experienced whitewater-rescue-certified tour guides set to work steadying your paddles and guiding your every move. On any excursion you choose, you’ll also be joined by safety kayakers, who provide support in tough areas and stand by ready to capture photographs of the day’s events.
Out of the water, you can still find an adventure with Royal Gorge Zip Line Tours’ eponymous course of nine ziplines spanning a 1-mile path through open air and tree canopies. The thrilling course lies at the end of a scenic hike through mountain terrain and historic stagecoach trails. Whether your expedition takes place the water, on a zipline, or on a mountain trail, you’ll end the excursion at the rustic Whitewater Bar & Grill, where guides will compile the day’s photos into a slide show so you can reminisce about your adventures and whether those grizzly bears were actually just large deer in bear costumes. Even when not adventuring, you can get a thrill playing volleyball and horseshoes outside the bar or dancing to live music each weekend.
An experienced staff of former military personnel, pilots, and fun-loving adventurers at Skydive Colorado strap into tandem harnesses with customers before plunging into 30-second free falls. Staffers may also snap photos or film and keep customers guarded from nesting eagles as they scream into the blue, free-falling and canopy-gliding over the Colorado countryside's hills, mountains, and cliffs. Many of the instructors can also guide visitors through static-line training and skydive licensing.
Pikes Peak Athletics founders Anna and George Heidinger are a real power couple: he's worked for years as a strength conditioning and swim trainer, she as a swim club coach and former Olympic Trails qualifier. But their decades of aquatic achievement haven't made them narrowly focused swimmers whose skin starts shriveling on dry land. In small-group and private lessons, they view even the most advanced students not as swimmers but as "people who swim," and, consequently, take a relationship-first approach to instruction.
The Heidingers are aided by a squad of experienced junior and senior coaches, each certified in CPR, first aid, and water safety—and each extensively shadowed by a head instructor and a benevolent water spirit before being turned loose to instruct on their own. Beyond basic lessons and intensive coaching, staff also organize seasonal swim teams, and lead an annual swim camp that helps students hone the four major strokes and other aquatic competition skills using video playback.
Pueblo Zoo originates in three places, all within the city of Pueblo. At the start of the 20th century, three parks around the town displayed a menagerie of exotic animals, but during the 1920s, the zoo consolidated in the current 25-acre City Park location. The space gradually improved throughout the Great Depression as the Works Progress Administration added an animal house, tropical birdhouse, and bear pits. Now open year-round, the zoo houses its 120 different species in modern facilities, allowing visitors to peer at boa constrictors in the rainforest exhibit or watch penguins dive from an underwater viewing room. Favorite animals on display include playful otters and penguins as well as the majestic african lion.