Colorado State

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Historic Sites
Tourist Attractions

Historic Sites

Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site
William and Charles Bent and Ceran St. Vrain built the original fort on this site in 1833 to trade with plains Indians and trappers. The adobe fort quickly became the center of the Bent, St.Vrain Company's expanding trade empire that included Fort St.Vrain to the north and Fort Adobe to the south, along with company stores in Mexico at Taos and Santa Fe. The primary trade was with the Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians for buffalo robes. For much of its 16-year history, the fort was the only major permanent white settlement on the Santa Fe Trail between Missouri and the Mexican settlements. The fort provided explorers, adventurers, and the U.S. Army a place to get needed supplies, wagon repairs, livestock, good food, water and company, rest and protection in this vast "Great American Desert." During the war with Mexico in 1846, the fort became a staging area for Colonel Stephen Watts Kearny's "Army of the west". Disasters and disease caused the fort's abandonment in 1849. Archeological excavations and original sketches, paintings and diaries were used in the fort's reconstruction in 1976. For information call: (719)383-5010

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison's unique and spectacular landscape was formed slowly by the action of water and rock scouring down through hard Proterozoic crystalline rock. No other canyon in North America combines the narrow opening, sheer walls, and startling depths offered by the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. For information call: (970)641-2337

Colorado National Monument
Established May 24, 1911, and on 20,453.93 acres, Colorado National Monument consists of geologic features including: towering red sandstone monoliths, deep, sheer-walled canyons, and a variety of wildlife (bighorn sheep, golden eagles, mule deer and mountain lions). For information call: (970)858-36l7

Dinosaur National Monument
This is Echo Park, named by John Wesley Powell in 1869 during his first scientific expedition into the Colorado Plateau. It is here that the Yampa River, the last free flowing river in the Colorado River System, joins the Green River. This is home and critical habitat for the endangered peregrine falcon, bald eagle, Colorado pike minnow, and razorback sucker. Indian rock art in Echo Park testifies to the allure these canyons and rivers had for prehistoric people. In 1825, William H. Ashley and his fur trappers were the first Europeans to enter Echo Park. In 1883, Patrick Lynch, a hermit, was the first to homestead in this canyon. Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center contains exhibits on the Jurassic dinosaurs that lived here, their ecosystem and the science of paleontology. Ranger talks are given during summer months and there is a fine book store. For information call: (970)374-3000

Tourist Attractions

Ghost Town Museum
Turn your watch back 100 years and journey into this 1800s Old West, gold-mining-era town complete with a fully stocked general store, saloon and Victorian home. Enjoy a theater presentation of this boom-to-bust period. The Museum Trading Company offers a huge variety of Western gifts. Open year-round, daily. For information call: (719)634-0696

Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens offers an oasis in an urban setting. Inside, the lobby houses tropical plants, and outside visitors can see world-renowned gardens. The gift shop offers books, gifts, live plants and decorative items. Helen Fowler Library offers an extensive collection of horticultural books and catalogs. Seasonal special events are planned throughout the year. For information call: (303)331-4000

Denver Zoo
Explore Colorado's wildest cultural attraction. Visit Primate Panorama, a seven-acre exhibit featuring some of the world's most endangered species of primates. See Tropical Discovery, a giant indoor rainforest! Open every day. For information call: (303)376-4800

Elitch Gardens Amusement Park
The new Elitch Gardens is conveniently located at I-25 and Speer Boulevard in beautiful downtown Denver. With over forty exceptional rides and attractions, including the popular section called Kiddieland. New 1997 attractions included: The Mighty Mind Eraser, an inverted, suspended, looping coaster; The Tower of Doom, a 22-story white knuckled free fall ride; and Shipwreck Falls, featuring a 50-foot waterfall dive. Plus, Island Kingdom, a gigantic water adventure park! In 1998, look for an all-new interactive Kiddieland play area! Visit the all-new Elitch s today. For information call: (303)595-4386

Anasazi Heritage Center
Discover the Anasazi story through exhibits, films, hands-on activities, and a replica pithouse. A 1/2-mile nature trail leads to the Dominguez and Escalante Ruins and spectacular views of the Four Corners area. For information call: (970)882-4811