Echo Canyon River Expeditions' whitecap wunderkinds have rafted swashbucklers through Colorado's thrilling and picturesque valley rapids for more than 30 years. The half-day Bighorn Sheep Canyon/Parkdale Run trip through the Arkansas River's Bighorn Sheep Canyon remains a popular choice for families, first-time floaters, and vacationing fish-people. After the friendly staff outfits guests with equipment, each voyager will board a buoyant apparatus and take to 10 miles of the river's surging swells for a healthy mix of exciting paddle action and serene sightseeing. During the approximately three-hour trip, one of Echo Canyon River Expeditions' knowledgeable guides will dish on the natural and historical wonders of the environs, including the local bighorn sheep and their fascinating hopscotch tournaments, while helping rafters dodge the rapids effortlessly and safely.
Rocky Mountain Batting Cages challenges softball and baseball lumber-luggers with six batting cages that use four semiautomatic fast- and slow-pitching machines. Once inside the cage with a free helmet and bat, batters set themselves in the new turf of the batter's box, simulating on-field experience with pre-at-bat rituals such as tightening gloves, loosening shoulders, or singing the refrain from "U Can't Touch This." For ace hurlers and infield clamberers, throwing tunnels and two pitching mounds make for a spot to hone in on an unhittable knuckleball. Rocky Mountain Batting Cages uses video analysis equipment and MotionPro! software to crunch cage-culled data and dispense digital feedback on swing technique and pitch fluidity.
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.
The outdoors enthusiasts at Rock-N-Row lead rafting trips beneath the 1,100-foot walls of Royal Gorge and fly-fishing excursions in Bighorn Sheep Canyon so visitors of all fitness levels can experience the playground that is Colorado. In addition to rafting and fishing, Rock-N-Row's team plans outings that range from trail riding through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to rock climbing. Organizers also coordinate adventure combos to pack in more awe-inspiring moments and opportunities to show off extreme knot-tying skills. Seeing to clients' safety, Rock-N-Row's guides run daily equipment checks, and also claim certifications in CPR and first aid.
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.
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.
Thanks to its impressive selection of varietals from more than 95 local wineries, The Wines of Colorado has been lauded as "one of the most unique wine shops in the country" by Wine Trail Traveler and featured in the Wall Street Journal. Inside, a mural of larger-than-life bottles lines one wall, and an adjacent room houses an expansive tasting counter that stocks a lineup of bottles filled with Colorado reds and whites, which are often compared to Californian vinos. Their food has received it’s fair share of recognition as well, earning numerous awards, including Best Creekside Dining from the Gazette in 2010 and 2011. The chefs sizzle up signature buffalo wine burgers and creamy dill mahi-mahi, which guests can enjoy on the pine-tree-lined outdoor patio as they sip wine mere steps away from the burbling Fountain Creek.