United States Air Force Academy

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Top Academy experiences to enjoy this summer

family in front of planetarium, top Academy experiences

By Rachelle Stoll, U.S. Air Force Strategic Communications
Photos by Joshua Armstrong

The U.S. Air Force Academy, 60 miles south of Denver in the city of Colorado Springs is a must-see on your Colorado trip. Whether an out-of-town visitor, cadet parent, or frequent local guest, here’s our top Academy experiences to add to your summer itinerary.

Free Planetarium show

Enjoy an immersive experience featuring high-tech surround sound and projection capabilities in the Planetarium’s state of the art, hemispheric dome. The Planetarium is open to the general public on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Movies start at noon and 4 p.m. Mondays and Fridays, and 4 p.m. Wednesdays. At 1:30 p.m. Mondays and Fridays, you can also enjoy an astronomer-guided journey through space and the solar system. A Defense Department or military ID is not required for entrance. For more information and the latest schedule, visit webpage.

Scavenger Hunt

Kids and adults alike will enjoy our Search the Academy scavenger hunt, designed to show even the most frequent guests something new on campus. You can begin your scavenger hunt by picking up a flyer at the Visitor Center front desk. The hunt will lead you along the chapel trail to the honor court and cadet viewing Area so bring water and good walking shoes. Once you’ve solved all eight clues, return to the Visitor Center front desk for a prize.

Falcon mascot in front of Polaris Hall

Visit our favorite Instagram spots

There’s no shortage of scenic views and awe inspiring architecture at the Academy. We’ve rounded up the most eye-catching spots for your Instagram grid. With our mascot, The Bird, as your guide, our handy favorite insta-worthy Academy locations will take you to the honor court, cadet viewing Area, Doolittle Hall and the impressive display of aircraft at the Thunderbird Overlook. Be sure to tag @af_academy on your Instagram photos for a chance to be featured on our account.

Self-guided tour

Did you know our iconic campus sits on 18,500 acres? Our self-guided tour is a fun and easy way to see the main areas. Starting at the North Gate entrance, the tour guides you through the Academy’s most interesting displays, scenic locations, public facilities, and places to eat. During your tour, you can download the KAFA app for the best in music, Falcon sports, and Academy updates.

Take a selfie with the Falcon spirit mark

You might notice that the famous Fighting Falcon looks different these days. We recently unveiled our new modern Falcon spirit mark, which represents our continued commitment to developing leaders for the world’s greatest Air Force and Space Force. If you’re planning to visit this summer, you can take a photograph with a five-foot falcon mural at the Visitor Center. The mural will be unveiled this summer and will be located on the wall immediately behind the cadet dormitory exhibit.

Academy trails

The Academy is the perfect gateway to outdoor recreation in the Pikes Peak region, with over 30 miles of mostly single track trails where you can go hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding. Check out our guide to the Academy’s most popular trails, which includes a detailed map, terrain descriptions and difficulty ratings.

If you enjoyed this curated list of our top Academy experiences, check out our Visitors Page. We have included year-round activities, places of interest as well as important information for base access and business hours. If you can’t take a trip to Colorado this year, you can always access our virtual tour from the comfort of your home.