US Air Force Academy
Step onto the campus of the US Air Force Academy to discover what goes into the training of the country's elite air force personnel. Every year, the military institution puts hundreds of cadets through a rigorous 4-year academic program.
Start your self-guided tour of the academy at the visitor center. There you will learn about the intense cadet selection procedure which is based on academic performance and physical fitness.
Go to the center's 250-seater theater to watch the short movie about life as an academy cadet. See videos and static displays that detail the academy experience for recruits. Then take the paved nature trail from the center to one of the academy's highlights, the Cadet Chapel.
The aluminum, glass and steel structure is a futuristic-looking building with 17 spires that soar 150 feet (46 meters) into the sky. The building is an all faiths chapel with separate chapels for Buddhists, Catholics, Jews, Protestants and a prayer room for Muslim cadets.
Continue your tour with a visit to Arnold Hall where cadets hold their formal dances. The large room contains a display of cadet uniforms, a sports trophy case and an exhibit about women in the Air Force. Inside Honor Court, find bronze statues of military figures and sculptures of numerous aircraft including a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, a B-24 Liberator and a B-29 Superfortress.
At the Falcon Athletic Center, you may be able to see sports teams in competition against other colleges. The academy’s football team plays out of the Falcon Stadium.
Complete your tour with a walk along the Falcon hiking trail. Non-military personnel can walk the northern 12 miles (19 kilometers) of this gravel route.
The Academy is open for tours every day except some major holidays, and admission is free. Drive or take a taxi from downtown Colorado Springs, a distance of 14 miles (23 kilometers). Public transport doesn’t travel out to the academy.