Weird Colorado


We all know Colorado is pretty wonderful, but some parts of Colorado can be pretty weird as well. Consider some of the lesser-known places to visit in the Centennial State and take a walk on the weird side.


Swetsville Zooopens a new window

Just a few minutes off I-25 in Fort Collins, you can visit a zoo that's not filled with animals, but rather with 180 metal sculptures crafted to look like giant creatures. Swetsville Zoo's future is uncertainopens a new window, so if you're considering a visit, don't delay!

Get started with your own metal menagerie by trying Upcycling or other Cool Metal Projects.


B-17 Bomber Crash Siteopens a new window

If you're a hiker looking for a unique adventure, this 6-mile out-and-back trail near Bellvue offers the opportunity to explore the wreckage of a World War II era bomberopens a new window. This B-17 went off course during a training mission in 1944 and crashed into a mountainside in an area known for strong winds.

Watch this streaming video to delve deeper into the history of the B-17 Flying Legend, or do more Hiking Through History Colorado.


Bishop Castleopens a new window

In the mountains southwest of Pueblo, you'll find a castle constructed by the ongoing efforts of just one man. In 1969 Jim Bishop began building what would become Bishop Castleopens a new window. The stone and iron castle is now a 3-story spectacle that includes a ballroom and a fire-breathing dragon. Visitors are welcome free of charge.

Discover more about castles from the inside out with Castle or take a tour of Great Castles of Europe.


Rainbow Fallsopens a new window

You may have gone OVER the bridge linking Manitou Springs to Highway 24, but if you've never gone UNDER it, you're in for a surprise. Rainbow Fallsopens a new window is a waterfall tucked beside the overpass, but this site is famous for the large amount of graffiti painted on the canyon walls and nearby bridge.

See more graffiti from around the world with streaming videos Spray paint Beijing and DocoBANKSY.


Coney Island Hot Dog Standopens a new window

What could be weirder than a diner shaped like a giant hot dog with all the toppings? This 42-foot-long roadside novelty was originally built on Colfax Ave in Denver in 1966. The Coney Island Boardwalkopens a new window is now located in Bailey just off Highway 285.

Learn more about the original American Experience: Coney Island with this streaming video, or find out how some of your favorite foods came together with How the Hot Dog Found Its Bun.


UFO Watchtoweropens a new window

The only pay exhibit on this list is the UFO Watchtoweropens a new window in Saguache County, to the west of Great Sand Dunes National Park. A sight infamous for alien encounters, you can camp overnight or just spend some time UFO-watching from their observation platform.

Join the search with other UFO Hunters or check out a UFO film to get you ready for a possible extraterrestrial encounter!


Frozen Dead Guy Daysopens a new window

Every March the mountain town of Nederland celebrates their resident dead guy, Bredo Morstol, aka Grandpa, with a three-day festival that includes coffin races and a polar plunge. Find out more about Frozen Dead Guy Daysopens a new window.

Listen to a real life account of working in the cryonics industry with the audiobook Frozen available from hoopla, or get all your weird questions about death answered with Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?


Mike the Headless Chickenopens a new window

In 1945 a farmer in the small town of Fruita beheaded a chicken he was planning to serve for dinner, but oddly, the beheading didn't kill the chicken. Mike the Headless Chickenopens a new window lived for 18 months during which time he toured the country and was featured in Life and Time magazines and dozens of other publications. You can view a sculpture dedicated to Mike on the corner of Aspen and Mulberry Streets in Fruita.

Read about Mike and dozens of other oddities in Weird U.S or learn how to raise your own backyard chickens.

Backyard Chickens


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Stanley Hotelopens a new window

Rumored to be haunted and the inspiration for Stephen King's Overlook Hotel in the novel The Shining, The Stanley Hotelopens a new window in Estes Park is a Colorado landmark sure to give you goosebumps.

Read more about the history of the Stanley Hotel or try this book for kids about the Stanley Hotel.


Cheyenne Mountain Complexopens a new window

Did you know that the air defense center for all of North America is right here in Colorado? Buried deep in the heart of a mountain next to Colorado Springs, the Cheyenne Mountain Complexopens a new window is a super bunker designed to withstand a nuclear onslaught.

Read more about this bunker with NORAD and Cheyenne Mountain AFS or read The Evolution Underground for a look at the history of survival below ground. 


Sculptured Houseopens a new window

Better known as the Spaceship House or Flying Saucer House, this futuristic structure located atop Genesee Mountain can be seen from I-70 just west of Denver. Featured in Woody Allen's comedy Sleeper, this landmark was renovated in 2018 and is now used to host private events.

Discover more Mountain Modern homes, or read about 10 Buildings That Changed America.


More to Explore

You can find more weird destinations around the globe with Atlas Obscura or The Atlas Obscura Explorer's Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid. Or, explore more library resources about the great state of Colorado.

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