More than 4,000 artifacts. A 27-acre campus and 5,000-volume research library. These numbers just begin to describe the massive collection gathered at Western Museum of Mining and Industry. The institution's staff delve into history as miner's burrow into the ground, finding and preserving the stories and items that fueled the industrial revolution. The standing collection focuses largely on artifacts; visitors can see operating steam engines or pan for gold.
The venue also regularly hosts special presentations in its multipurpose center, featuring events in the past such as The Gold King's Legacy, an exploration of Winfield Scott Stratton's Cripple Creek mining operation. Some events also include the Pikes Peak Gem and Mineral Show, the Reynolds Ranch Harvest Festival, and Haunted Mines. Discussions on topics revolving around the Industrial Revolution and mining are led by appointed speakers to educate visitors.
Students gather amid the golden glow cast onto Marmalade at Smokebrush’s exposed brick walls by rectangular floor lamps, awaiting instruction from the studio’s capable staff under the decorative flock of origami whooping cranes swooping overhead. Instructors pull from previous experience as dancers, movement therapists, and artists as they guide students in fitness sessions, including Latin-inspired Zumba, a dance-fueled workout that enables students to torch calories while learning dance-floor-ready skills.
The studio’s yoga classes range from spinal-alignment-focused Iyengar yoga to dubstep yoga, which swaps normally serene background noise with thumping electronic beats. Aside from its yoga focus, Smokebrush’s expansive space also plays host to artwork exhibitions, environmentally focused workshops, and speed dating for ex-claustrophobics.
Garden of the Gods Trading Post was built in the 1920s by trader Charles Strausenback and continues to sell goods today, with an array of updated offerings such as keepsakes, Native American art, and café sandwiches. The Manitou Outpost feathers necks with gold leaf pendants ($12.99+), sheaths feet in soft suede and moosehide Minnetonka moccasins ($38+), and enlivens shelves with keepsakes such as miniature painted ponies ($32.99+), whose neighing registers as soprano squeaks. After walking among the Pueblo pottery ($465+) and Navajo weavings ($310+), guests at the Balanced Rock Grill can indulge in a buffalo burger ($7.50) or unwrap a dried tomato tortilla gorged with spicy chicken and cheddar cheese ($7.95). Patrons can also people-watch at outside tables while sipping from a tap beer ($4.50) and discussing the complications of fashioning mukluks from Yeti hide.