Discover Colorado’s Hidden Gems During National Preservation Month

If you consider yourself a bird nerd, history buff or generally like to geek out on historical and archeological festivities and events, clear your calendar for National Preservation Month this May. Descend into a hard rock mine, trace dinosaur tracks, step back into the 1860s gold rush days or any of the various activities throughout the state. Below is a sampling of activities, museums and historic areas that visitors can discover and enjoy this May.

Archaeological and Historical Activities

* 8th Annual 1890’s Achoria Leland Mine Tour (May 26). The exclusive tour of the Achoria Leland Mine and 1899 Doyle Block will showcase the 1890 mining operations on Gold Hill in Victor, Colo., that made Achoria Leland one of the great gold producers of more than $3 million worth of gold. www.VictorColorado.com

* Bent on Birding Activities (mid-May) in Bent County includes a petroglyph tour, least tern and piping plover viewing, a dinosaur tracks tour and a chuck wagon dinner at Boggsville National Historic Site. Tours of the Festus Museum, Kit Carson Museum, the Art Gallery at Rawlings Heritage Center, Boggsville and John Martin Reservoir are also available. www.Wildlife.state.co.us

Historical Museums and Centers

* The new $110 million experiential History Colorado Center opens on April 28 and will revolutionize the way we think about history. Visitors will have the opportunity to traverse the state in a “time machine,” travel across the plains in a Model T Ford, don a headlamp and descend into a hard rock mine, and soar off the world’s first ski jump in Steamboat Springs. www.HistoryColorado.org

* Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum in Ignacio offers a visually captivating understanding of the Southern Ute Tribe’s past, present and hopes for the future. Tribal elders pioneered the opening of this center for more than a decade, which opened its doors last May. www.SUCCM.org

Historic Districts and Areas

* Leadville’s Rich History. Most of the buildings in Leadville – a true gold rush mining boomtown – were built between 1880 and 1905. There are 70 square blocks included in the National Historic Landmark District of Victorian architecture, featuring the largest opera house west of the Mississippi, a saloon visited by Oscar Wilde and two historic 1879 churches. www.VisitLeadvilleCo.com

* Cripple Creek Historic District. The rural ranching community of Cripple Creek was transformed into a renowned gold camp after a cowboy discovered gold in 1891. Many of the mining-era buildings remain today, including the Imperial Hotel and St. Paul’s Catholic Church, plus a 1,000-foot-deep underground shaft. www.VisitCrippleCreek.com

ABOUT COLORADO: Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational pursuits, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine, and 26 renowned ski areas and resorts. The state’s breathtaking scenic landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of seven major rivers, many peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 12 national parks and monuments, and 54 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet. For more information or a copy of the 2012 Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, visit www.COLORADO.com or call 1-800-COLORADO. Media are invited to visit the Colorado Media Room at www.COLORADO.com/media-room. Follow Colorado on Twitter at www.twitter.com/colorado or Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitcolorado.

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