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Daytime hangouts - East 

For kids, the plains can be anything but

Click here for a East Colorado Springs map!

In rounding up a bunch of daytime activities, we realized that the east side is a great place for children. Outside of the obvious bars and restaurants covered on other pages, just about all of the hangouts are kid-oriented, or at least kid-friendly.

Nurture creativity and artistic skill at businesses like Kids Can Draw (3617 Betty Drive, Suite S, kidscandraw.info) or Monart School of the Arts (5490 Powers Center Point, #172, csmonart.com). Imagination Celebration (1515 N. Academy Blvd., #200, imaginationcelebration.org) encompasses much of the same while also collaborating with local arts organizations for theater productions and larger projects. Stop by its large headquarters in the Citadel mall for crafts, artwork and more.

Always a source for free entertainment (for all ages), the libraries are a great hangout, offering far more than books and media. Visit the Pikes Peak Library District's newest branch, High Prairie Library (7035 Old Meridian Road, Falcon, ppld.org) and check out its schedule of activities for children, teens and adults. That goes for the other 12 libraries in PPLD, too, as well as those up in Teller County.

Moving from the bookworm stereotype to the jock stereotype, there are Colorado Springs Sky Sox baseball games at Security Service Field (4385 Tutt Blvd., minorleaguebaseball.com/index.jsp?sid=t551). Promotions throughout the season promise deals on snacks and tickets — which are already a deal at $7 to $12 — as well as fireworks after Friday night games.

Supervised crashing around is available courtesy of iT'Z Family Food & Fun (3035 New Center Point, itzusa.com/colorado). iT'Z trades in straight, potentially destructive, stuff-you-can't-do-at-home fun, with arcade games, bowling, rides and bumper cars.

Much like rough-housing is an integral kid impulse, so is gazing at wild animals. Serenity Springs Wildlife Center (24615 Scott Road, serenityspringswildlife.org) in Calhan feeds this need with weekend tours that expose kids (safely, of course) to about 120 big cats (lions, tigers, leopards, servals, cougars and other exotic species). Many of Serenity's cats are rescues, while others are "retired movie stars."

Less exotic, but equally gaze-worthy, animals — along with rides, live entertainment, a demolition derby and stock shows — show up at the El Paso County Fair (Fairgrounds, 366 10th St., Calhan, elpasocountyfair.com) in late July.

Last, but not least, it is possible to take tykes to the Dragon Man compound (1200 Dragon Man Drive, dragonmans.com). The outdoor attractions here tend to get the publicity, and it's true that minors 8 and up can accompany adults in the shooting range. Plus, accompanied tweens are welcomed on the paintball course. But anyone can tour the museum, which houses military vehicles, guns, equipment, uniforms, memorabilia and artifacts dating from World War I to the present.

You're bound to get weary with all the crashing cars and flying bullets, so for some respite, check out local coffee shops such as Nemo's Coffee (2230 E. Pikes Peak Ave., nemoscoffee.com) and Connected Cup (6071 E. Woodmen Road, connectedcup.com). Connected Cup in particular serves Serranos Coffee, snacks from Olde World Bagel and homemade soups, but it's in the hospital, so keep that in mind if you've got a phobia.

Click here for a East Colorado Springs map!

  • For kids, the plains can be anything but

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