Ladies and gentlemen, we're here to show you all the places to play while the sun's still up, going east to west. Ready?
Let's begin with Old Colorado City, home to numerous galleries, shops and restaurants. You can find information on the latter two elsewhere in this section; here we'll focus on places like Hunter-Wolff (2510 W. Colorado Ave., hunterwolffgallery.com) and Laura Reilly Fine Art (2522A W. Colorado Ave., laurareilly.com) galleries, places where you can find a variety of diverse paintings, sculpture and more. Nearby, Kathleen McFadden's Range Gallery (2428 W. Colorado Ave., longshotphotography.com) offers photography workshops and McFadden's unique take on scenic photography.
There are almost too many other spots to name, but expect more traditional work at Arati Artists Gallery (2425 W. Colorado Ave., aratiartists.com); Southwestern fare and jewelry at the Squash Blossom (2531 W. Colorado Ave., squashblossom.com) and Velez Gallery (2506 W. Colorado Ave., velezgalleries.com); and a mix of everything at Cucuru Gallery Cafe (2332 W. Colorado Ave., cucuru.santuario.com). There's also the Michael Garman Museum (2418 W. Colorado Ave., michaelgarman.com), home of Garman's signature sculptures and his miniature "Magic Town" world.
A good way see these and other spots at once is with OCC's art walk, held from 5 to 8 p.m. on the first Friday of the month, April through December (bestartontheavenue.com).
Zen and Zoltar
For a hookup to local history, head to either Ghost Town Museum(400 S. 21st St., ghosttownmuseum.com), where you can pan for gold, or Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site (3105 Gateway Road, rockledgeranch.com), a semi-working historic site with livestock, a blacksmith's forge, and live demos of pioneer life. Fast-forward to General Palmer's day at Glen Eyrie (3820 N. 30th St., gleneyrie.org), his palatial home north of Garden of the Gods, where you can tour the castle and have tea. Another kind of old-school entertainment comes at Simpich Showcase Theatre (2413 W. Colorado Ave., simpich.com), where David Simpich puts on marionette versions of The Pilgrim's Progress and Beauty and the Beast.
Before we go much further, you'll want to clear your mind. The Celebration Metaphysical Center (2209 W. Colorado Ave., celebrationstore.com) offers myriad opportunities for those seeking psychic advice, but perhaps most notably, $35 gets you 30 minutes. For a second opinion, you can go to Mountain Metaphysical Shop (1708 W. Colorado Ave., 632-4422).
Now that we all have a taste for the, um, mystical, we're ready for Manitou Springs.
Arm yourself with funnel cake and quarters for the Manitou Arcade (900 Manitou Ave., 685-9815) a gorgeous indoor-outdoor place with an incredible assortment of games from the '70s forward, including Skee ball. Feeling big? They have a Zoltar.
If by now that cake is making you crash, slow down a bit and visit the Miramont Castle Museum (9 Capitol Hill Ave., miramontcastle.org) for a peek at Manitou Victorian life and early firefighting equipment.
Get high the family-friendly way and visit the summit of Pikes Peak via the Pikes Peak Highway (pikespeakcolorado.com) or the Pikes Peak Cog Railway (515 Ruxton Ave., cograilway.com). The former you pick up in Cascade for a nice paved ride; the latter in Manitou for a leisurely, educational climb.
Now, for the art. Start at the Business of Art Center (513-515 Manitou Ave., thebac.org), an impressive complex of galleries, a bookstore, artist studios, and a venue for live performances and art workshops. Commonwheel Artists Co-op (102 Cañon Ave., commonwheel.com) stocks a gallery devoted to helping all that is local (and has since 1974), as does the vast Mountain Living Studio (741 Manitou Ave., mountainlivingstudio.com).
Elsewhere, there's art and gifts galore at Green Horse Gallery (729 Manitou Ave., greenhorsegallery.com), where you can find art by two-time Indy Best Artist winner Liese Chavez. Fred Darpino and Bill Duryea have eponymous galleries up the road (934 Manitou Ave., darpinostudiogallery.com; 1003 Manitou Ave., duryeafineart.com), which is also about where Fare Bella Studio and Gallery (16 Ruxton Ave., farebella.wordpress.com) sits. At the latter, you can also sign up for painting classes.
Manitou has a less regular art walk schedule, but keep your eyes open for summertime weekend night events and festivals.
Hunting and howling
Now we're headed into the mountains, to spots in Cascade, Green Mountain Falls, Woodland Park and Divide. Here, nature is still the biggest attraction, and that includes fossils and wildlife.
The former you'll find at Woody P's Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center (201 S. Fairview St., rmdrc.com), a museum and working fossil laboratory, and the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument (15807 Teller County Road 1, nps.gov/flfo), with its thousands-of-years-old petrified tree stumps and insect fossils. Of the latter, there's the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center (4729 Twin Rocks Road, Divide, wolfeducation.org), where with a reservation you'll see wolves up close.
For straight-up kid fun, find the North Pole and Santa's Workshop (5050 Pikes Peak Highway, Cascade, santas-colo.com). For something more year-round, Woodland Park is home to a bevy of galleries, like the Seven Arrows Gallery (118 W. Midland Ave., 7arrowsgallery.com), the unofficial headquarters of the arts in the town. If you can, hit it up on the third Friday of the month, for that area's art walk (woodlandparkarts.com).