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Colorado State Symbols

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Welcome to Colorado, the Centennial State. Colorful Colorado boasts one of the most beautiful state flags and one of the coolest state seals to boot. You might even see a little conspiracy in the latter. (Continued below)

Colorado state flag Colorado state seal
Nicknames & Slogans
Nicknames Centennial State, Colorful Colorado  
Symbols of State
Motto Nil Sine Numine 1861
Song Where the Columbines Grow 1915
EcoSymbols
Flower columbine (Aquilegia caerulea) 1899
Tree Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens) 1939
Grass blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis) 1987
Cactus Claret cup cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus) 2014
Bird lark bunting (Calamospiza melanocorys) 1931
Animal Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) 1961
Reptile western painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) 2008
Amphibian western tiger salamander (Ambystoma mavortium) 2012
Fish greenback cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii somias) 1994
Insect Colorado hairstreak butterfly (Hypaurotis crysalus) 1996
Mineral rhodochrosite 2002
Gemstone aquamarine 1971
Rock Yule marble 2004
Fossil † Stegosaurus 1982
Soil Seitz (unofficial) Unofficial
Cultural Symbols
Tartan 1997
Pets rescue dogs and cats 2013
Summer Heritage Sport pack burro racing 2012
Winter Recreational Sports Snowboarding and Skiing 2008
Museum Air and Space Museum 1997
Folk Dance square dance Redundant Symbol 1992
Song Rocky Mountain High 2007
Language English Redundant Symbol 1988

Some of Colorado’s symbols represent the grasslands of the Great Plains, while others represent the arid Southwest. However, the flag and seal point to the primary theme—the Rocky Mountains.

The state flower, tree, and mammal are all at home in the Rockies. The official state sports are snowboarding, skiing, and pack burro racing. And who could forget the state songs, “Where the Columbines Grow” and “Rocky Mountain High”?

If Colorado’s state fossil, the dinosaur Stegosaurus, was alive today, it wouldn’t recognize Colorado. When stegosaurs roamed the land, the Rocky Mountains hadn’t even been born yet. And who could have predicted that dinosaurs would evolve into birds, one of which represents Colorado?

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If you think state flags and flowers are nothing more than trivia, guess again. A thorough exploration of the more than 1,500 items adopted as state symbols embraces geography, history, and psychology.

You have found the best state symbols website, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The introduction above is adapted from Geobop’s State Symbols and My State Symbols Book, by far the biggest and most detailed state symbols references ever. You can learn still more about the symbols of the 50 states in the books Flag Quest and Grading the States. (Learn more about them here.)

After you spend some time exploring your favorite state’s symbols, you can come back here and tell us what you think about them.

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