Just north of Colorado Springs is the sprawling Air Force Academy. I was a student here in the early 70's and the longer I'm away the fonder my memories become. There is a visitor's center and I would recommend going there first.
Be sure to visit the chapel. This was my escape as a cadet as it was the only place the upper class cadets couldn't harrass us. Down in the lower level is the Catholic chapel and while not particularily religous at the time I spent many an hour there. The architecture and the stained glass really are worth the visit.
A walk around campus (only in summer) is very interesting. Lots of static displays of aircraft that are much better tied down than they were in my day. A long story, but some squadrons took great pride in nocturnal shifts of the aircraft. The terratzo is the large open parade ground next to the cadet wings. It is here we would fall out to first thing in the morning, not always pleasant in the winter. It was also here that I marched many a "tour" (sixty minutes of squared off marching with rifle) for various infractions.
For those who have ever wondered what a United States military academy is like, you can visit one in Colorado Springs. The Air Force Academy is open to the public (at least the Visitor Center, Chapel, the Field House, Arnold Hall and the Honor Court are open for public visiting – the rest is secure areas requiring identification). Open every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
The Visitors Center has a museum and historical displays as well as information about cadet life at the Academy. There is a café and shop where you can purchase USAFA clothing and memorabilia.
From the Visitors Center it is a short walk over to the Chapel, although the signs and website state this is a strenuous hike and not recommended for handicapped persons.
The Chapel is unique looking and absolutely beautiful from the inside when the sun is shining. Although sometimes closed for private ceremonies, you can usually go into the chapel between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. As you head to the chapel, you will see the dorms and classrooms of the Academy and, if you are there at the right time, you will see the masses of cadets going to and from class in the middle of the day.
The US Air Force Academy is well worth a stop on your journey – allow 1-2 hours to see both the Visitor Center displays and the Chapel.
I had the privilege of touring the Air force academy with a USAF academy graduate friend. As we walked through the campus and visited the beautiful Cadet Chapel, the interesting Goldwater Visitor and falcon Stadium he started walking and talking slower. Finally he advised he could not take anymore. It was a very interesting experience having live through the hazing of the late 1960 early 70 and achieving-- as an Air Force Physician the rank of Lt General -- he could not face the personal trauma of what he went through as a cadet. I understand it has chanced a lot in 30 years.
It is a very interesting and beautiful campus well worth the visit.
The Visitors' Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
The Academy is open to visitors from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
They let you onto the grounds to see the sites. The Cadet Chapel is the stand out and can be seen for some distances. It is called and A-frame structure, but is much more than it is classed. YOu also can get a tour of the life of a cadet and see a short movie.
The Air Force Academy is a really special place.The location is beautiful! They have a chapel that has a huge pipe organ in the back of the church and upstairs. The planetarium is great to see. You can see them parachuting on special days. If you get there at lunch,they have to line up and march into the lunch hall.That's neat.The newby's have to walk at right angles.You can always tell them from the older ones.
The deer are always out so be careful driving.
US Air Force Academy -- crafting the Air Force's finest officers for over 40 years!
Noon meal formation and Saturday football games are local favorites. Also, watch cadets fly gliders and parachute out of airplanes!
Although there is less freedom to walk around the grounds of the Academy since Sept. 11th, there still are plenty of things to see on this campus. Start by driving to the visitor center. There's plenty to see about the history of the academy as well as student life. And of course, there's a big gift shop (with the kind of items you would expect from a university book store.) From the visitor center, there's a short hike over to probably the biggest icon on the campus, the chapel. They hold various services here, so you may not be able to get in if one is going on. Around the campus, there are several airplane displays worth seeing as well. Plan a couple of hours to see it all.
The church on the campus of the Air Force Academy is quite amazing.
This is a divergent point though the tuition for attending the Air Force Academy is "free". That is, a cadet will need to serve for a few years afterwards. Actually, the money is not so much the point as attending the Air Force academy would seem to be for pursuit of a career path rather than getting a free ride.
The USAF Academy is a popular site for visitors of the area to come visit. I heard that the Cadet Chapel (picture) should be a very famous sight. Unfortunately I couldn't visit the Academy myself during my visit. It was closed during that time due to security reasons after 9/11. But I heard that it's opened for visitors again now.
The Air Force Academy is pretty cool. I don't know that you'll be able to get in now, but you can try. )And I don't mean walking in on foot, dodging the MP's. That will get you shot.
I owe the credit for this photo to my good friend, dzni!
This is a picture of the Chapel. Unique!
The Academy is a beautiful scene setting against the Rocky Mountains. It is not unusual to see gliders practicing in the blue sky overhead. The self tour has all sorts of things to see including the chapel, museum, the field and also the Football field . There is a restaurant and gift shop also