Pan for gold, see working mining machines and learn about the life of a miner in a museum dedicated to the area's mining past.
With steam engines, interactive exhibits and antique mining equipment, the Western Museum of Mining and Industry is a fascinating look at Colorado's mining heritage. Browse more than 4,000 historical items spread out across the 27-acre (11-hectare) complex.
Start your visit in the main building where there are exhibits related to the life of a miner below and above ground. See clothing, helmets, safety equipment, pneumatic drills and photographs of underground mine operations. Observe 19th-century steam engines and other large pieces of machinery being operated.
Look at the scale model of an old mining town and visit the recreation of an assay office, the place where the gold content of iron ore was determined. Try panning for real gold ore and gemstones. At the mine reclamation exhibit, discover how land is restored after mines have been closed.
The Western Museum of Mining and Industry also hosts revolving hands-on science exhibits and lectures about mining history, processes and geology. View the museum’s website to see what is going on during your stay in Colorado Springs.
Tour the museum’s grounds to see the functioning gold stamp mill, the steam shovel and barns from 1891. There are also many picnic spots by the museum’s stream and natural spring.
If you are here during September and October, brave the Haunted Mines. The seasonal charity fundraising exhibit attracts a supplementary fee and features old mining buildings, a swamp and lots of ghouls and monsters.
The Western Museum of Mining and Industry is open every day except Sundays major holidays. Take advantage of the twice daily guided tours that are included with the price of admission.
Situated opposite the North Entrance of the United States Air Force Academy, the museum is approximately 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of the historic center of Colorado Springs. There is no public transport access to the museum and on-site car parking is free.