Vibe: Energetic, inspiring, and heartwarming, like the Olympic torch’s eternal flame
Drive time: About 1.5 hours from downtown Denver, a few blocks from downtown Colorado Springs businesses
Tip: Only Visa cards are accepted at the museum, due to the longstanding partnership between the games and the company. Bring cash for the reverse cash ATM on site in order to obtain a prepaid Visa card.
Set in the foreground of Pikes Peak, the sleek and stately U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum invites families to follow the centuries-old epic of elite athletes and discover the details of Olympic competition.
Interact With Exhibits
Upon entering, guests receive a coded badge to customize with sporting event preferences, and a stylus to use with touch screens. Badges unlock a personalized experience throughout the museum, including deep dives into Olympic event history and interactive training modules.
The exhibits begin with the foot race won by a cook in 776 B.C. Greece, the game said to have started it all. Peer at some of the Olympic torches carried hundreds of thousands of miles. Meet folks who made history in the games, including U.S. wheelchair basketball coach Junius Kellogg; Muslim American sabre fencing medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad; and track star Jim Thorpe, first Native American to win U.S. Olympic gold.
Training and Tech
Moving on to the athlete training section, guests find a strip of track for racing, bows and arrows to test sharp-shooting skills, and ski jump simulations. Gather tips for technique and form while learning what it takes to compete at high levels.
Tech-brains and designers will savor the collection of sports equipment innovations. Learn about specialized chairs for different player positions in wheelchair basketball, Admire the carbon fiber blade technology enabling runners like Scout Bassett to compete in Rio. Gawk at the shining glory of 1996 sprinting legend Micheal Johnson’s golden track spikes.
Heart of the Games
View a wide variety of artifacts from gymnast scrunchies to hockey masks, plus captivating stories, lining the summer and winter games exhibits. Kids can ask athletes questions (virtually with prerecorded answers) about their personal journeys, and build knowledge of world events during the Olympic competition years. Finish the visit in the art gallery filled with paintings by LeRoy Neiman, and watch a short film that drives home the passion and camaraderie of the games.
Good To Know:
- The museum was built with guidance from Paralympic athletes. Screens stretch floor-to-ceiling or are mounted at wheelchair and child height and they include audio-described video, text-to-speech readers, high contrast, and larger font sizes.
- Sensory-sensitive visitors might find the interactive training section, opening ceremony video display, and short film overwhelming. Connect with a museum team member for low-sensory options.
- Stroll or roll over to America the Beautiful Park. An accessible bridge complete with an elevator down to the grounds will be available in the spring.