The United States Air Force Academy (USAF Academy) is a premier educational institution located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Academy offers a unique blend of military training and rigorous academics, producing some of the world’s most talented and disciplined leaders. In addition to its academic and military programs, the USAF Academy is also a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world. Here are some of the top things to see and do at the USAF Academy:
Here are my recommendations of things to see at the USAF Academy
Cadet Chapel is one of the most iconic and recognizable landmarks at the USAF Academy. Completed in 1962, this stunning architectural masterpiece is a must-visit attraction for anyone visiting the Academy. The Chapel’s soaring 17 spires that shoot 150 feet into the sky and its modern design are breathtaking, symbolizing the Academy’s commitment to excellence and innovation. The Chapel serves all faiths and is capable of holding services in all rooms simultaneously. The Chapel is open to the public and offers guided tours.
- Note: If you need wheelchair access, you must go to the back of the Chapel to the elevator.
- Note: The Cadet Chapel is currently under renovation, so it is estimated to reopen in 2027.
Terrazzo (The Airplane Display)
Below the Chapel is a large area; called the Terrazzo, where you can see a collection of historic aircraft and read about their importance to the United States. The name comes from the walkway’s terrazzo tiles set among the checkerboard marble strips.
Interesting fact: As a freshman (C4C), you can only walk from one building to the next on the outer marble strip walkway. Standing at the Chapel, you will see a small hill called “Spirit Hill.”
- The exhibit is open year-round and is free to the public.
Honor Code Tour
The Honor Code Tour is a unique experience that takes visitors through the history and culture of the USAF Academy’s Honor Code. The tour includes visiting the Honor Court and discussing the Academy’s core values of integrity, service, and excellence. Additionally, this tour is an excellent opportunity to learn about the Academy’s commitment to ethical behavior and leadership.
Directly below Cadet Chapel, you will see the Class Wall, where USAFA class ring plaques are displayed, each with its unique design. In the center is the current graduating class ring plaque until after Ring Ceremony, and then the new graduating class ring plaque is mounted there for one year. If your cadet is with you, you may want to take a picture of them standing under the plaque.
The USAF Academy’s Falconry Program is one of the most unique and fascinating aspects of the Academy. Home to one of the most extensive falcon breeding programs in the world. Visitors can attend falconry demonstrations and learn about the Academy’s mascot, the Pere.
If you enjoy complex architecture, you may want to see Polaris Hall. Pointing directly at the North Star, Polaris Hall is home to the Center for Character and Leadership Development. It is not open to the general public but worth observing from the outside.
Air Gardens – The Fountain
The Air Gardens are located east of the campus, where you will find a series of reflecting pools and sunken planting beds divided by a walkway.
Once a “firstie” (a senior cadet) finishes his last final, jumping into the water fountain, a 700-foot shallow pool, is a tradition.
Our cadet’s squad was hosting their commissioning ceremonies at the Air Garden. Under the bright sun, a gentle breeze, and the occasional flicker of water from the fountain, it was a great experience to see these cadets become 2nd lieutenants.
Barry Goldwater Visitors Center
The Visitor Center is an approximately 31,000-square-foot building that contains exhibits, a snack bar, and a gift shop. Inside you can watch a movie that tells the story of the graduating class, highlighting their experiences from their first day on campus to the last day. The exhibit area features the history of the Academy, cadet life, and statistical information of those attending the Academy. You can learn the “Pillars of Excellence.” Tour a display of a cadet’s dorm room and what the expectations are to keep it clean and tidy.
- A self-guided tour with maps is available or contact the front desk ((719) 333-2025) for a guided tour.
- Hours: 9:00 – 15:00 weekends, in the winter months; 9:00 – 17:00 daily starting March 13.
National Museum of World War II Aviation
The National Museum of World War II Aviation is outside the Academy. It is the large military aviation museum. If you love aviation, you will love a visit to this museum.
- Hours: Daily, 10:00 – 17:00
- Admission: $17 pp
PSST: HERE ARE SOME OTHER BLOG POST YOU MAY WANT TO CHECK OUT IF VISITING COLORADO SPRINGS:
The USAF Academy offers a unique and exciting experience for visitors of all ages. Whether you are interested in history, sports, or the great outdoors, there is something for everyone at the Academy. So, if you are planning a trip to Colorado Springs, add the USAF Academy to your itinerary!
Enjoy your travels! Please read my blogs about other exciting places around the world at Traveling Lens Photography.