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August 22, 2022

Cave of the Winds? A perfect Colorado fall day trip

The Terror-Dactyl ride swings you over the canyon!

I asked my husband recently if he had ideas for one last day trip I could take our boys on. School was around the corner, and I could feel shorter days and colder weather creeping up on us. I wanted one last fun day alone with the kids doing something that didn’t involve pools, playgrounds, or kids sports.

“Cave of the Winds,” my husband said. He told me he’d been spelunking in the caves long ago when we was a Boy Scout.

Inside the Cave of the Winds

“The caves are bigger than you think, cooler than you think … and maybe a little scary too depending on how deep you want to go. And they’re also close to town.”

That was enough for me. Off we drove to Colorado Springs. It took us only about 1 hour and 15 minutes from my office a couple blocks away from Stanley Marketplace.

Cave of the Winds has grown up a lot since my then 10-year-old husband was shimmying through narrow crevices in the pitch black undeveloped depths of the caverns. From a 3-story obstacle course to axe throwing to panning for gemstones to a 1,200-foot aerial attraction, there are plenty of fun activities for kids of all ages.

Climbing structure at Cave of the Winds

And then, of course, there are the cave tours. Are they kid friendly? According to Cave of the Winds, the caves are a “natural attraction that can be enjoyed by everyone in your family, from toddlers to grandparents.”

The most family-friendly cave tour is the Discovery Tour. This 45 – 60 minute guided walking tour includes 15 rooms, a 1/2 mile of concrete walkways, and 196 stairs. This is the tour I took my boys on and it was fun and easy … and left us all excited to come back and try the more “advanced” tour.

The Caver’s Challenge

Curious about pricing for the Discovery Tour? Littles up to age 3 are free, ages 4-12 are $17, and 13+ are $26.

The more advanced tour? Try the Haunted Lantern Tour. Here’s what you’re in for if you try this tour:

“Explore, by candlelight, the mysterious and unimproved Manitou Grand Caverns on a 90-minute guided tour which includes nearly a mile of walking. Like the adventurers of the past, you will navigate dark narrow tunnels, low passageways, uneven stairs, and rooms with muddy, original floors. Along the way, you will learn the history of Cave of the Winds as well as the frightening folklore, scary ghost stories, and unexplained phenomena of the Manitou Grands.”

Mariel and her son at Cave of the Winds

You need to be over 8 years old to go on the Haunted Lantern Tour. Ages 8-12 are $24 and ages 13+ are $34.

After checking out the Discovery Tour and grabbing some food at the Canyon Rim Grill, our kids played on the different rides and explored a few of the features. And we resolved that closer to Halloween, I’d take our oldest son on the Haunted Lantern Tour. Halloween sounds like a great time to go, right?

We had a lot of fun on the ride back to Denver talking about how the caves were formed, what lives in caves, and most exciting for the kids, exactly how “haunted” the caves actually might be.

We had a blast at Cave of the Winds and definitely recommend making the drive. Cave of the Winds is open year round. The address is 100 Cave of the Winds Rd., Manitou Springs, Colorado.

Inside the caves

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