The pastoral beauty of eastern Colorado’s High Plains melds with storied frontier and agricultural history in the town of Burlington. Celebrate our colorful past and Western heritage at these beloved attractions.
Old Town Museum
The Old Town Museum, a recreated turn-of-the-century prairie town, is a treasure house of Colorado history. The more-than-6-acre complex has 21 fully restored buildings — including a law office, barbershop, schoolhouse, drug store/doctor’s office, leather shop, newspaper office and saloon — filled to the brim with authentic artifacts. Marvel at antique treatments and prescriptions for a bounty of ailments at the drug store, imagine what it was like to be a student in the early 1900s as you sit in a desk at the schoolhouse and see an electric hair curler and other old-timey salon equipment at the beauty parlor.
On weekends May through September, don’t miss live can-can and gunfight shows in the Longhorn Saloon. During the summer months, old-fashioned ice cream flavors and sodas are available at Old Town General Store and Emporium, where you can shop for handcrafted collectables and souvenirs year-round.
For an extra-special experience, visit during the Old Town Ghost Town in October or Old Town Winter Wonderland & Christmas Tree Stroll in December. Or enjoy supper and an Old West show at the Longhorn Saloon’s Wild West Dinner Theater, held every fourth Saturday of the month from May through September. Each dinner theater show and dining menu is different and tickets sell out fast, so make reservations in advance!
When to Visit
Old Town Museum is open year-round: Monday through Saturday, 9am–5pm, and Sundays, noon–5pm. From December 1–March 30, the museum complex is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9am–5pm.
Kit Carson County Carousel
Whirling around on a classic carousel truly evokes a magical feeling, and the Kit Carson County Carousel has kept crowds of all ages happy since the early 1900s.
Built in 1905 for Elitch Gardens Amusement Park in Denver, the historic merry-go-round is one of less than 150 wooden carousels still in operation that were carved in the U.S. between the mid-1880s and the 1930s. And visitors can still climb onto the landmark’s 46 hand-carved animals, including zebras, camels, deer and giraffes, for a ride at Burlington’s Kit Carson County Fairgrounds.
One of 74 manufactured by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company between 1904 and 1933, the carousel is the only antique carousel in the U.S. to have original paint on its scenery panels and animals, and the only surviving menagerie (having other animals in addition to horses). The landmark twirls gracefully to the whimsical tunes of a 1909 Monster Military Band Organ, one of only three known to exist in the world, and features 255 pipes, snare drums and bass instruments.
When to Ride
The carousel is open daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 11am–6pm.
Kit Carson County Fair & Rodeo, July 24–29, 2017
Burlington’s signature summer affair celebrates its 100th anniversary this year — making 2017 the perfect time to attend the event. The lineup of activities includes an American Freestyle Bullfighting competition; FMX Motocross show; concerts from multiple artists, including country musician Tracy Lawrence; and PRCA Rodeo performances. Don’t pass up the chance to see the first parade at the event in more than 15 years (Saturday, July 29, 2017), and make time to view the 4-H exhibits and browse goodies from countless artisan vendors.