The Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs is host to almost a million visitors a year, being a top tourist attraction for the area as well as a training institution for future officers in the U.S. Air Force.
In order to be selected as a candidate to attend the Air Force Academy, cadets have to be some of the top prospects in the Air Force, not only demonstrating academic prowess, but also providing their strength of character, leadership, as well as being nominated and passing the necessary physical requirements. The good news for tourists is that you don’t have to do any of that in order to both see the cadets train as well as some of the other highlights of the academy. While the Academy is open to visitors daily, certain parts, like the visitor’s center and Cadet Chapel, are closed on holidays.
The Cadet Chapel is probably the single greatest sight that every visitor should take in before leaving the Academy for the day. This 150-foot tall building is a stunning piece of architecture where cadets can go to pray, including separate chapels for Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist, and Jewish worshippers. There is also a separate “all-faiths” room, to make sure that cadets of other faiths have a place to worship as well. The outside of the chapel also has a great view of the Cadet Area.
The Cadet Chapel is only one of the sights that you should try to take in on your extended self-guided tour of the Air Force Academy. One thing that you’re likely to see on your way into the academy is the authentic B-52 bomber on display, one of the staples of America’s air arsenal during the 20th century. The Barry Goldwater Visitor Center is also a great place to pay a visit to, with a large gift shop to bring home a memory of your trip as well as a short movie showcasing everyday cadet life.
Arnold Hall has a dual purpose both as a theater, ballroom, and student union, but also has a food court that is accessible to the public for you to grab some lunch, as well as displays on important figures in aviation like astronauts, trailblazing women as well as the Tuskegee Airmen. To cap off your trip, there are also several hiking and biking trails available for visitors, but make sure you are ready for mountain weather.
Travel to Cave of the Winds