Join our Mailing List

Wheels of Discovery

Educational Programs for Schools and Non-profit Youth Groups

The Gateway Auto Museum is a historical time-line of automobiles beginning with cars from the early 1900s and ending with today’s custom designed cars. Our museum is not just about the automobiles. It’s a learning center that captures the minds and interests of people of all ages through its presentation of the performing art of the American automobile. The museum features videos and interactive displays that relate to science, math, and history lessons dealing with topics such as “Where Oil Comes From,” “The Modern Assembly Line,” “Speed of Motion,” and “Gear Ratios.”

Planning Your Visit or Requesting a Presentation

The development of the Wheels of Discovery Educational Program is a ongoing process. The museum staff is working to expand the interactive elements that are available during guided tours for non-profit youth groups and schools visiting the Gateway Auto Museum. We are also developing presentations that can be brought to the classroom when a field trip isn’t feasible. The lesson possibilities in correlation to the museum are endless and can be custom designed to meet curriculum content standards. Also, if your group is interested in making a day of your visit, there is an assortment of other activities available at Gateway Canyons Resort that may be packaged with a museum visit. The information below gives further details.

Visiting the Museum

Gateway Auto Museum welcomes youth groups and school groups. We are currently in the process of creating guided tours geared to a range of ages that meet District 51 curriculum content standards. Specific topics can be addressed in relation to the automobile such as art, social impact, history, basic machinery, cultural significance, and so on. We appreciate the opportunity to communicate with leaders and educators to make the appropriate arrangements for their groups.

We prefer that visits are scheduled a month in advance. Groups should plan to stay at the museum for at least 1 ½ to 2 hours (1 hour for the tour and extra time for students to explore the museum on their own). Educational materials will also be available for teachers and leaders as a follow-up to the students’ visit.

Cost of Admission

  • $3 per student
  • 1 chaperon per 10 students / no charge
  • Extra chaperons $7 per person

The drive to Gateway takes approximately 1 hour from Grand Junction and approximately 2 hours from Montrose. A map and a link to get driving directions can be found on this website under “Plan Your Visit.” The museum opens at 10:00 a.m. daily. If you need to cancel, please give us 48 hours notice. The museum is handicap accessible, and wheel chairs are available.

Bringing the Museum to You

We are also preparing presentations that can be brought into the classroom. These will include the use of Powerpoint to display some of the museum’s collection (we will bring our own equipment). These presentations will focus on meeting the District 51 curriculum content standards for various age groups. We welcome the opportunity to communicate with educators about the content of the presentations.

There is no charge for a classroom presentation, but please schedule a month in advance. Educational materials will be available for teachers to use as a follow-up to our visit.

Contact Information

If you have questions or wish to schedule a visit or presentation please call 970-931-2658 or by e-mail at

Other Activities Available at Gateway Canyons Resort

If you’re planning to bring your students to the Gateway Auto Museum, why not arrange lunch with us and plan to stay the whole day? In conjunction with a museum visit, your group can choose to enjoy one of several two hour activities listed below. These activities are made available through the Gateway Canyons Adventure Center or The Stables at an additional cost. These packages are only available Tuesday through Thursday and must include a minimum of ten participants. The cost ranges from $15 to $55 per youth and is inclusive of the Auto Museum admittance fee. One chaperon per ten young people is required with no charge for the chaperon. Additional chaperons will be charged the same as the cost of a youth.


Currently we can accommodate groups of up to 60 students. Scheduling for activities other than the museum tour requires a month’s notice and a 25% non-refundable deposit. Also waivers signed by parents must be returned at least one week prior to the scheduled date. Depending on the size of the group, young persons may need to choose from more than one activity, and the group may need to be split so that half the group tours the Auto Museum in the morning while the other half participates in the chosen activity. Following lunch, the groups will switch. We may be able to work with larger groups depending on the chosen package.


The Paradox Grille at Gateway Canyons Resort can prepare sack lunches for your group at a cost of $5 – $7 per lunch. Lunches may include a sandwich, chips, a piece of fresh fruit, a cookie, and choice of milk or juice. The General Store located on the grounds of Gateway Canyons Resort also has sandwiches, fresh fruit, snacks and drinks for sale.

Lunch can be eaten outside on the lawn, and there are picnic tables on the resort grounds. An appropriate eating place will be available due to unfavorable weather. Also, the Adventure Center has various equipment available for lawn games during lunch including footballs, soccer balls etc. If your package includes a visit to the The Stables, your group may choose to eat lunch there as well.


$15/youth –guided tour of Auto Museum and guided hike with the Adventure Center

$25/youth –guided tour of Auto Museum and activity at the Summit School Riding Ranch

$35/youth –guided tour of Auto Museum and choice of activity with Adventure Center (see below) OR guided tour of Auto Museum and riding at the Stables

$45/youth –guided tour of Auto Museum, guided hike with the Adventure Center and riding at the Stables (must be able to stay until 5 p.m.)

$55/youth –guided tour of Auto Museum, choice of Adventure Center activity (see below) and riding at the Stables (must be able to stay until 5 p.m.)

Gateway Canyons Adventure Center Activities

Currently the Adventure Center offers a large range of activities that can incorporate various educational topics. Educators are encouraged to communicate with the Manager about the curriculum content they would like to have included in the activity they’ve chosen for their students. Activities are available during the months specified, weather permitting.

Guided Hike (available year round, accommodates up to 60 youth)

This easy hike follows trails and routes in the Gateway area. This activity allows for a range of topics including history, geology, wildlife biology (lizards, birds, large and small game etc.), the river that accommodates the animals, and how a dam works.

Fly Casting (available year round, accommodates up to 20 youth)

A variety of topics can be explored that revolve around biology including, aquatics, fish behavior, how fish “hear,” what fish eat, insects, bats, ducks, geese etc. Pond dynamics, basic math, and physics can be discussed in relation to topics such as evaporation, clean drinking water, how a pond stays healthy, and geothermal heating and cooling. Information about careers in fisheries, wildlife biology, or guiding can also be presented.

Archery Lessons (available year round, accommodates up to 15 youth)

With this activity your group will have the opportunity to learn and practice archery taught by an experienced instructor. History lessons about bows and those who used them can be combined with discussions about how the bow and arrow played a part in the lives of Native Americans in Gateway. Also students can learn about the atalatl (a tool used for throwing darts) along with the physics and math of a bow vs. an atalatl.

Kayaking and Tubing (available May through August, accommodates up to 15 youth)

Students can kayak or tube down the Dolores River that is enhanced by the sheer, red cliffs. This activity includes a guide(s), shuttle (depending on the size of the group), kayak or tube, and life jacket. Wet suits may be rented for an additional $10. With this activity, students will be encouraged to understand river safety as they consider the uses of the river. They can also learn about a riparian habitat, tamarisk along the banks, and river creatures. They can also be instructed about camping along the river, floods, droughts, geology, irrigation, and history.

Off-Road Pinzgauer Tour (available May through October, accommodates up to 12 youth)

The Pinzgauer (a high mobility, all-terrain vehicle) will take your group on one of several off-road tours. Throughout the tour, topics such as history, geology, math, and science can be explored.

Contact Information

For more information about the Adventure Center,please call 970-931-2649 or e-mail at

The Stables of Gateway Canyons

The Stables is located in the rugged, beautiful Unaweep Canyon, 11 miles northeast of the Gateway Canyons Resort. The Ranch itself is over 500 acres and is surrounded by Forrest Service and BLM land. There is a generous network of well marked trails that climb over 1500 ft. in elevation. Surrounded by the granite peaks of the Uncompahgre, the trails wind through fragrant sage and oak brush corridors, past mountain meadows, and up manzanita covered slopes. Animal tracks are plentiful including those of black bear and mountain lion. Deer frequently pop out of the brush and bound across the trail. The ranch is available year round. You will need to transport your group to and from the ranch.

Riding at the Stables

Students can experience the Stables at Gateway Canyons in many ways. For those 8 years and older, an hour ride is available. The ride can be focused on identifying animal tracks and various plants. The horses at the Stables are a wonderful variety of breeds, shapes, and colors. All of the horses are kind and well broke with extensive trail experience. The variety in the horse herd allows for the accommodation of novice and experienced riders alike. It is the ranch’s goal to make a mutually beneficial match between horse and rider. The wranglers are happy to take time with each person to address questions and concerns, and a brief lesson is given at the beginning of the ride.

Visiting and Touring the Ranch

Even if you choose to not make riding horses a part of your group’s day at the ranch, there is a walking tour available where students can learn about some of the fascinating geology and history that makes this area so unique. They can tour the original one room Summit School House and the incredible barn. They can also picnic near the creek, go on a carriage ride, take a hike and meet some of the horses, donkeys, mules, and recently adopted wild mustangs. Other options are also available such as watching a packing demonstration or taking part in harnessing and driving a horse and carriage. Students of all ages are also invited to paint actual horses while learning about the Native American custom of painting horses for different occasions.

Contact Information

If you are considering bringing your group to the ranch, you can communicate with Amy Wilkinson by phone at 970-931-2442 or by e-mail at She will help you decide on the most appropriate activities for your group. She can also plan for team building exercises, creative problem solving, and character building activities. She readily welcomes non-profit groups, at risk youth groups, and children with disabilities.

Plan Your Visit

Gateway Canyons Resort

Plan your visit to the Gateway Colorado Automobile Museum. Learn more »