The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum is an impressive & interactive museum that tells the inspiring stories of Team USA. The 60,000-square-foot Museum is just two years old, but has already been named the country’s “Best New Attraction in 2020 by USA TODAY. The Museum features 12 fantastic galleries, countless artifacts and fun interactive exhibits that help you to learn more about the amazing athletes who make the United States so proud.  Here are a few of my favorites:
Introduction to Olympics: This is where you can learn about the history of the ancient Games and the origins of the modern Olympic and Paralympic movements. The marquee exhibit is a collection of Olympic torches. There is a full set dating back to 1936 from Berlin, Germany when the first Olympic torch relay was held. All the torches are beautiful and not one is the same – there is a different and unique design for each of the Olympic Games.  I was thrilled to get to hold one of the torches. It was definitely surreal!
Athlete Training: Having learned about the origins of the Olympic and Paralympic movements, I embarked on the journeys that Team USA athletes take to get to the Games. It’s impressive, and the epitome of dedication and discipline. In this space, guests can try fun and interactive sport demonstrations.
Parade of Nations: Here I experienced walking into the Olympic stadium alongside members of Team USA. Guests start in the tunnel before entering a 360-degree, multimedia experience that simulates the Parade of Nations during an Opening Ceremony. It was life-like, exhilarating and gave me chills. I had fun for a minute dreaming about being an Olympian.
Universal Design:  The Museum is state-of-the-art and known to be one of the most accessible and interactive museums in the world, with its universal design and technology capabilities. Guests can customize their sport preferences and accessibility needs for a tour that is uniquely their own. I’ve never seen anything like it. Team USA athletes were consulted and very involved throughout the project to achieve an authentic experience.
The World Watches: This gallery tells the stories of the Games’ global impact on history and culture. A timeline element simply explains how the sociopolitical and geopolitical context influences the Games…while the Games themselves affect the world at large. The ‘Ask an Athlete’ exhibit features artificial intelligence that allows guests to have an in-depth conversation with an Olympic or Paralympic athlete. It’s super cool and very high-tech!
But the highlight of my visit was getting to meet several Olympians – like gold medalist Figure Skater, Brian Bitano; Alpine Skier, Tyler Carter; and Hall of Famer, Bob Beamon who won the gold medal in the 1964 Mexico City Games.  Amazingly, 58 years later, Beamon’s Olympic long jump record of 29 feet and 2.5 inches has never been broken. It was such a privilege getting to meet Bob and hold his gold medal!
If you are looking for a place to stay while visiting the Museum and the Pikes Peak Region, I highly recommend the nearby Mining Exchange Hotel. It’s just a few blocks from the Museum.  It’s a charming boutique hotel that is quite historical. It was built in 1902 as a stock exchange for local mining companies. It’s now a Wyndham Grand Hotel and Spa. The lobby is elegant and guest rooms are inviting. They are all unique and feature oversized windows, 12-foot ceilings, custom granite desks, and exposed brick walls. Showers are large, stone and designed for two.
The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum certainly offers an educational and timeless experience by capturing the history of Team USA and the Olympic and Paralympic Games.  When completing my tour, I felt so much admiration for these athletes and had a better understanding of how they did it – how these exceptional athletes actually became Olympians.  It’s very insightful, inspiring and made me feel very patriotic and proud to be an American!
 Follow Terri on Social Media at Travel with Terri from Texas

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