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The Cliff House BlogA Trip to United States Air Force Academy


A Trip to United States Air Force Academy

08 Jul, 2016

"I had never met any college students that were so intelligent, kind, and devoted to a specific cause," said freshman Cheyenne Gonzales, Cadet Fourth Class, a student at the United Air Force Academy located in Colorado Springs, a 22-minute drive from the Cliff House.

Enter through the North Gate and make your first stop the Barry M. Goldwater Visitor Center, named after the Arizona Senator, an avid supporter of the academy who helped raise $4.5 million to build it. The center is open from 9 AM - 5 PM every day, except for major holidays. You'll find exhibitions, self-guided tour maps, a gift shop, and a 14-minute film offering a rare glimpse into the cadet life and the academy experience.

The campus also offers guided tours each Monday, Thursday, and Friday, during the academic year. It's important to know, however, that reservations are required, there is a business casual dress code, and the tour is physically difficult, due to the campus's steep hills.

The highlights of the campus are surely the planes on display. You'll see, for instance, a B-52, the long-range, subsonic, jet-powered bomber. The B-52 has been a staple of the Air Force fleet since the 1950s. You can find it at Stadium Drive, just north of the camping area.

You'll also find the F-15 Eagle, the most supple and successful of modern jet fighters. It boasts a variety of air-to-air weaponry, such as missiles and Gatling guns. Look for the M61 under the right wing. This gun can fire up to 6,000 rounds per minute.

Most visitors also stop at the Cadet Chapel. It is the distinguishing architectural monument on campus. Designed in the Brutalist style, the Chapel's seventeen spires -- 150 feet tall -- form a line from the front of the building to the rear. The interior was designed to house three worship areas, Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish. Recently Buddhist and Muslim rooms have been added as well. In 1996, the Cadet Chapel was awarded the American Institute of Architects' National Twenty-Five Year Award.

Hundreds of thousands of tourists make their way to the United States Air Force Academy each year. During your trip to Colorado Springs, you should, too.

Address: U.S. Air Force Academy, CO