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Aurora, Colorado

Updated on March 2, 2015

About Aurora, Colorado:

Aurora, Colorado is located just fifteen minutes from Denver.  Encompassing 144 square miles, Aurora ranks third in both population and size with Colorado.  This picturesque city offers views of the Rocky Mountains, large and small businesses, quick access to air and highway transportation, and affordable housing.  Continue reading to the explore Aurora's history, interesting facts, things to do, videos, pictures and more.

History of Aurora, Colorado

Founded in 1891, the city of Aurora was originally named Fletcher by its founder, former Chicago resident Donald Fletcher. The name was changed to Aurora in 1907, however it was not until 1929 that its population exceeded 2,000 residents to earn Aurora the designation of a "city".

Aurora has had a strong military presence since the Fitzsimons Army Hospital was built in 1921. The hospital was narrowly saved from closure during the Great Depression, but was later awarded funds for its improvement by President Roosevelt. In 1942, the Army Air Corps built Buckley Field, enhancing the military presence in Aurora. This, coupled with the addition of Lowry Field, resulted in more employment, residents and money for the city. Lowry Air Force Base was closed in the 1990s. In 1995, Fitzsimons was targeted for closure again and once again City officials managed to save it and convert it to a world-class medical campus.

In the early part of the 21st century, Aurora draws the medical and bio-science industries and reaches a population of 300,000.

Founder Donald Fletcher
Founder Donald Fletcher
First City Hall
First City Hall
1946, Colfax Avenue
1946, Colfax Avenue

City of Aurora Facts and Demographics

Founded in 1891
Named Aurora in 1907
Year Incorporated: 1907

Latitude: 39° 41’ 45” N (39.695833°)
Longitude: 104° 48’ 29” W (-104.808056°)

Land Area: 151 Mi2

Official Elevation: 5,471’
Highest Elevation: 6,229’
Lowest Elevation: 5,285’
Elevation Change within City Limits: 944’

 Population (est. 2007): 309,416
 Population Rank (Colorado): 3rd
 Population Rank (USA): 56th

 Median Age (2006): 32.54
 Average Household Size (2006): 2.59
 Median Family Income (2006): $59,609

Nickname: “Gateway to the Rockies”

  Municipal Parks: 108
  Municipal Golf Courses: 7
  Public Libraries: 7

Things To Do in and around Aurora:

Air Force Academy Museum
Architecture and aviation exhibits. Free Admission.

Anheuser Bush Brewery
This high-tech brewing center produces over 2,200 cans of beer every minute. Free Admission and Samples to those over 21.

Arapahoe Park
Colorado's only horse-racing track.

Aurora Fox Arts Center
Enjoy live productions at this restored 1940s-era movie house.

Aurora History Museum
Learn about Aurora's History at the museum's permament exhibit while also enjoying unique traveling exhibits and the hands-on children's area. Free Admission.

Aurora Reservoir
Enjoy swimming, diving, boating, fishing, hiking, biking, and more at this 2,500-acre site.

Aurora Singers
Founded in 1977, this group dances and sings at various venues in Aurora.

Aurora Symphony Orchestra

Aurora and it's surrounding neighbors are home to 30 different casinos.

Cave of the Winds
Beautiful guided tours through 20 caverns.

Central City Opera House
Originally opened in 1878, this opera house is still in operation. Performances in English.

Celestial Seasonings
Tours and tastings of this herbal tea manufacturer. Free Admission.

Colorado Territorial Prison & Museum
Tour the old prison known as one of the "Hell Holes" of the Old West.

East End Arts District
Arts district featuring galleries and public art pieces. Free Admission.

Flying W Ranch
Watch the famous Flying W Wranglers stage show in this old west town from the late 1800s.

Garden of the Gods
Spectacular Red Rock formation as the base of Pikes Peak. Free Admission.

Gilpin County Historial Society Museum
From rock mining to a furnished hotel, this museum will give you a look into life over 100 years ago.

Historic Sites around Aurora
Discover the structures that serve as lasting reminders of the social, cultural and architectural history of Aurora.

Leanin' Tree Museum of Western Art
Over 200 paintings and 85 bronzes by some of the best Western artists. Private collection open to the public. Free Admission.

Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Journey 14,110 ft. (4,300 above sea level) at the summit of Pikes peak. There is an admission fee, but you can also drive yourself up the high winding road for free.

Morrison Nature Center
Star K Ranch and Morrion Nature Center offers 200-acres of riding trails, nature hikes, and workshops. Free Admission.


Plains Conservation Center
1,100-acre conservation center or the flora and fauna of Colorado's eastern plains. Free Admission.

Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame
Museum devoted to showcasing the professional rodeo.

Royal Gorge
Visit the world's highest suspension bridge which spans the Arkansas River at a height of 1,050 ft. Also enjoy an aerial tram trip down the world's steepest incline railway to the bottom of the Gorge. You can also take an amazing 24-mile roundtrip scenic train ride through the base of Royal Gorge.

Special Events
Aurora offers events year-round for all ages, including Kid Spree, Jack-O-Launch at Pumpkin Fest, Fourth of July Spectacular, Festival International, Trout Tournament, Concerts in the Park and more.

United States Olympic Training Center
Tour the site where 12,000 athletes prepare for the Olympic competitions every year. Free Admission.

Tornado - Aurora, CO - June 7th, 2009

4th of July Fireworks, Aurora, CO


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    • profile image

      Rosemary Fletcher 6 years ago

      The photo of Donald Fletcher looks so like the old photos of Donald Fletcher on our farmhouse walls, my husband's grandfather. I wonder if anyone knows if this Donald Fletcher's family went to Canada from Islay in Scotland??

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 6 years ago

      I can't believe I just found this! I was stationed at Fitzsimons 79-81 and was there for the blizzard of 82. I just found out a few months ago the Fitzsimons closed as an Army post. I went to an interview one time and the interviewer was arrogant enough to insist that I misspelled Fitzsimons on my resume! Thanks for the update on Aurora.

    • ceesmoore profile image

      ceesmoore 6 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Aurora is a great little city. Takes a bit to appreciate it, but ultimately, anywhere in Colorado is cool in my book.

    • chicamom85 profile image

      chicamom85 8 years ago

      Good information, I want to visit Colorado some day.