Aviation Xtreme's simulators let land-locked folk fly aboard jetfighters and WWI- or WWII-era aircraft in aerial missions or close-range combat. Aspiring aces strap into the cockpit of their simulator and choose from aircraft such as an F-15A Eagle, F-4 Phantom, or P-51 Mustang. After a short instructional video, they take off into the realistic blue yonder on a chosen mission, which can include an anti-ship mission or ground-attack mission. Each simulator is part of a larger computerized network, allowing friends to go head-to-head in a dogfight or team up to carve clouds into self-portraits.
Aviation Xtreme is housed inside Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, the former locale of the 1930s-built Lowry Air Force Base that closed in 1995, reports Frommer’s. These days, the 150,000-square-foot hangar houses more than four dozen airplanes, including five Century Series fighters and one of two B-1A Lancers on display in the world. The museum is even home to a full-size X-Wing Starfighter from Star Wars and the Harrison Ford Welcome Theater, where the staff starts each day in hiding to surprise Mr. Ford in case he visits.
In addition to aircraft from films, the museum’s space and rocketry exhibits include full-scale replicas of boilerplate spacecrafts used to train Apollo missions to the moon. Others models recreate planes in all their glory, such as the 16-foot Titan II launch vehicle, while hands-on exhibits replicate the conditions of space travel.
Today, Challenge Unlimited captains biking and hiking tours all over the globe, from the vineyards of Tuscany to the Incan towns of Peru. More than two decades ago, however, the business was simply known in Colorado for its signature Pikes Peak by Bike tour. During this 20-mile excursion, guides and up to 35 followers descend 20 miles from a summit of 14,110 feet, infiltrating five zones with distinct climates, plant life, animals, and altitude-based baking methods. Riders often encounter eagles, deer, elk, and even the occasional mountain lion or black bear along the way. Guides can also escort Colorado's athletes across the Gold Camp Road—a 17-mile railroad bed once rattling with railcars filled with gold—and through breathtaking Aspen groves. Pit stops are made over the course of three nights and four days at the Victorian Hotel and a nearby dude ranch. Beyond domestic borders, international trips explore Nepal's Annapurna Foothill on foot and the bustling pubs and haunts of Ireland by bike or skateboards strapped to sprinting leprechauns.
Ghosts and evil clowns may elicit outright screams, but the story behind Aurora's 13th Door Haunted House is equally bone-chilling in its own way. According to legend, local millionaire John Barrington was throwing his annual All Hallows' Eve ball at the Barrington Hotel when his nephew, Andrew, came to him for help.
Andrew, a gambler with a streak of bad luck, had amassed some serious debts, and his life now depended upon financial aid from his wealthy uncle. Hoping to teach a hard lesson, Barrington refused his nephew's pleas for money and threw him out of the party. He could hardly have suspected the severe consequences that would follow.
Driven to rage by his uncle's response, Andrew blocked the doors to the ballroom and set the hotel on fire. The lavishly dressed guests all perished?all, that is, except for one. The sole survivor of the party had managed to find one door that Andrew failed to block: the 13th door.
Today, those who enter the infamous ballroom can still hear the screams of the souls trapped inside, and they may even come face-to-face with the ghost of Andrew Barrington himself. In order to escape, they'll have to find the 13th door while making it past the haunted hotel's countless horrors, which include a slew of zombie residents and a pile of unwashed bath towels.
The Urban Assault Ride challenges cyclists to speed from obstacle course to obstacle course across their city during eco-friendly scavenger hunts that benefit local charities. Teams draft a road map to try to thwart the competition and be the first to complete the race, pausing at a series of checkpoints, where they must surmount such active roadblocks as slip 'n' slides, bike jousting, and reciting the Iliad in Pig Latin. The first team to conquer each challenge and cross the finish line is declared the victor, but all participants celebrate their efforts at a lively after-party stocked with snacks, beer, nonalcoholic drinks, and prizes.
D-Tours' on-foot expeditions cater to tourists, as well as longtime residents who want to learn the secrets of Denver's past. Haunted tours make stops at time-worn cemeteries and historic buildings that are allegedly occupied by ghosts, including Hotel Teatro, where voices have been heard coming from vacant rooms. Some of D-Tours' jaunts are self-guided, allowing participants to travel at their own pace and on their own horses.
There's something magical about the pink volcanic stone that makes up Rosemount Museum's exterior. Step inside, and you're instantly transported back to a mansion from the late 19th century. Original furnishings and artwork sprawl everywhere as visitors walk through this dream home, which was built in 1893 for John Thatcher, a banker and businessman, and his wife, Margaret, Pueblo's first public school teacher.