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Cripple Creek, southwest of Colorado Springs, is mostly associated with its casinos, but there is much more to it than that. The Butte Opera House plays host to the Thin Air Theatre Company with year-round shows, Gold Camp Christmas spices up December, and the Cripple Creek Ice Festival enlivens the short days of February. In the summer, enjoy the rodeo, the Once Upon a Time in the West Art Show, and the 4th of July celebration. Donkey Derby Days has been a staple of the community since the 1930's. You can also ride the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railway, visit the many museums, and tour the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine.
Situated in a high mountain valley, Cripple Creek began life in 1890 as the site of the last Colorado gold rush. Six years later, two disastrous fires almost completely wiped out the business district. Still, the town survived. During the 1970s and '80s, it almost became a ghost town with just several hundred residents and a few businesses catering to those passing through. Legalized gambling, however, allowed since 1991, has led the way in bringing the town back to life.