A Trip To Albuquerque Is More Than Just Balloon Fiesta

Dragging the family out of bed hours before the sun comes up seems counter-intuitive to the rest and relaxation that vacation is supposed to bring. After a magical early morning at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, a short rest will definitely be in order. The upside to attending an event that is over by noon? There are still plenty of daylight hours to spend exploring in and around a great southwestern city.

New Mexico Family Vacation

If Your Family Likes To Be Outdoors...

Petroglyph National Monument offers an overload of opportunities to view Native American petroglyphs and ancient volcano fields without having to leave the city. Stop first at the visitor center and then choose between one and six trails that you’d like to adventure on. The National Park Service does not charge an entrance fee, but the city of Albuquerque does charge a small parking fee at one of the trailheads.

Sandia Peak Ski & Tramway Take the family to the top of the Sandia Mountain Range by way of aerial tram and then enjoy time together eating and hiking around while looking out over the valley. If your family wants even more adventure, try mountain biking as well. Bike rentals and lift-serve close for summer on Labor Day, but are available again for the duration of Balloon Fiesta.

What to do in Albuquerque
No petroglyphs were touched in the taking of this picture-but look what he is learning!
If You Prefer Looking Up History...

Take a stroll through Old Town and see elements of the way Albuquerque has looked for nearly 300 years. Adobe buildings with native decor line the streets. You can visit one of New Mexico’s oldest churches, learn about the people who settled New Mexico at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and shop for authentic gifts to take to everyone back home. 

For a real look at New Mexico’s nuclear science history that will capture the attention of everyone in the family, a visit to The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is definitely in order. Exhibits cover everything from the smallest atom all the way up to the atomic bomb. Everywhere you look there are odd tools and gadgets from times past, as well as antiquated weapons, missiles, and even a bomb-shelter to pretend in. The museum includes an interactive children’s area and a large outdoor yard with planes and equipment familiar to anyone who remembers the Nuclear Age.

Old Town Albuquerque

Have Fun With An Educational Opportunity...

Explora is Albuquerque’s rendition of science center and children’s museum and is as fun for Mom and Dad as it is for their kids. You’ll know you’re close when the kids start pointing excitedly at the colorful domed building. Weaving through the exhibits inside they’ll stay busy with hands-on activities teaching about gravity, sound, air, water, and more. 

Located nearby, The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science takes visitors back in time through ancient New Mexico geology, biology, and cultures. Walk into the time of the dinosaurs and decide for yourselves what caused their extinction. The museum also provides an interesting look at plants and wildlife native to the southwest region of the United States.

For an outing that will cover the interests of every member in the family, check out the ABQ BioPark. Located near the Rio Grande River, the BioPark encompasses the city’s zoo, aquarium, botanical gardens, and outdoor recreation and picnic areas. Take a round-the-world tour while watching land animals and underwater creatures from across the globe. Then do the same while wandering through exotic gardens representing places far, far away. Choose one or all of these attractions to fill your day and be sure to spend time on the riverbank walking or fishing as well. 

Things to Do with Kids in Albuquerque

Leave Time For Something A Little Quirky...

No visit to Albuquerque should be complete without a stop at the Tinkertown Museum. Go with very low expectations, but definitely go! A culmination of one man’s decades of collecting, items are packed into cluttered displays of oddity and disarray. The path through the museum winds in and out of rooms in a hodge-podge house. The displays originated with the owner’s wood carvings and grew to include miniature dollhouses, circus freak show memorabilia, ragtime music boxes that still play for a quarter, and a once-operable sailboat that has seen many worldly destinations. Go with the guarantee that you will not know what to think when you arrive, and won’t be able to stop talking about it after you leave.

Non-Balloon Activities in Albuquerque

A visit to Albuquerque during Balloon Fiesta can be as fun-filled and adventuresome as you’d like it to be. Greet the sun as it rises and spend the rest of the day exploring whatever way your family likes to do!

Have you been to Albuquerque?
What was your favorite thing to do?

Looking for other things to do with the kids
while you're in New Mexico?

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It's Time for Little Haunts at This Is the Place! (Discounts and Giveaways)

My boys have begun associating our visits to This Is the Place with their favorite holidays. Last year was our first time visiting at Halloween, and they are begging to get dressed up and go back for Little Haunts again this year. If we're going to be there, we'll definitely hope to run into a few of year there this year as well!

October 15, 2016
October 20-22, 2016
October 29, 2016

What can you expect at Little Haunts this year?

~Trick or Treating Throughout the Village
~Train and Pony Rides
~Gold Panning and Treasure Hunting
~Halloween Stories with the Story Witch
~Creature Encounters & Birds of Prey
~A Costume Parade & Candy Cannon

All of that (and everything else normally available at the park) included with the price of regular admission!

What's new at Little Haunts this year?

A family friendly costume contest with a BIG reward! While visiting the park, snap some photos of your costumed kids or family. Pick your favorites and share on social media, including the tag @thisistheplaceheritagepark & #thisistheplaceheritagepark. The winner will receive a 1-Year Membership to This Is the Place Heritage Park!!

Ready to hear what I can offer you? 

First, a discount code...
Save $2 off PER TICKET
by mentioning A Local Wander when purchasing your tickets.
(Reg. Park Price: $12.95/adult, $8.95/child)

Second, a giveaway...

5 Things To Do At The Leonardo

What do you know about the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City? I want you to know everything there is to know. It is such a great resource for homeschoolers, for families, for educated adults, for visitors. I've attended an educator workshop there in the past, but recently returned for a visit with my entire family. I thought I'd share some insight into how to easily spend a day there...

The Math Room
Truthfully, I got giddy walking into this exhibit. It is FUN and my kids had absolutely NO IDEA they were learning. They dropped marbles to measure the effects of impact and motion, followed a "yellow brick road" while creating a pattern, and got their groove on in an infinity mirror closet.

The Leonardo Museum Math Exhibit

Exploring the Senses
Talk about turning your world upside down! The hands-on activities in this area can really get you thinking. Hearing backwards, optical illusions, and exploring dimension left some of us feeling woozy and others just really confused! 

Saturday Special Events
Every Saturday, the Leonardo hosts activities related to a specific STEM-related theme. Throughout the museum, special projects and displays focus on the days' idea. As an example, the day we attended was Adopt-A-Rock day. After choosing a rock, the boys cleaned and studied it. They weighed and measured their rocks and then a geologist each one to discover what kind of rock they had and how old it was. Ours ranged from young volcanic stone at only a few thousand years old to a beautiful piece of old marble at over 300,000 years old. 

The rock-themed activities continued throughout the day as they made a home to carry their new pet around in, raced them in cardboard cars, figured out how to balance them, and made their own shiny rocks in the members-only activity room. I loved how the theme carried throughout our visit and actually taught the boys something scientific and important. (Saturday Special Events are included with general admission. Members are able to do one extra activity that also includes a small snack).

The Leonardo Museum

The Leonardo Museum's first original curated exhibit is a must-see! Make sure as you're going through that you keep looking up-the are planes stacked upon planes. My husband and I could have pulled up a chair and watched the entire film strip of the first moon landing, but the kids shot off like rockets to get a look inside of the authentic cargo plane.  My oldest was mesmerized by the hundreds of cockpit buttons and controls, and the youngers loved the slide coming out of the tail.

Look up

We didn't spend enough time in this exhibit. There is a lot of information to read and learn about. Videos and interviews to watch, and things to do. Which brings me to my next favorite part of the museum, the...

Hot Air Balloons
Okay, no, there is not a hot air balloon in the museum.  And, yes, this is part of the FLIGHT exhibit, but it is no secret that we are huge balooning fans, and so should be no surprise that the section on bouyant flight intrigued me. It actually was one area my kids never even made it to, so we are heading back up soon for a unit study. It will be perfect timing before our annual trip to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.

The Leonardo Museum Flight exhibit

As I've begun sharing our experiences visiting The Leonardo, I'm beginning to find it is still a fairly undiscovered attraction in the Salt Lake Valley. Too many people know little to nothing about it. Take my word, it is a gem for families. It's not stuffy and hands-off, it's not amateurish and boring for the adults. It is engaging and I know your family will love it as much as ours.

Want to win tickets to the Leonardo?

Get free admission to the Leonardo with the Salt Lake Connect Pass.

Want to save even more money on admission?

More Information
Daily Admission & Annual Pass Information
can be found here.

This is not a sponsored post, 
but I have received museum membership 
in exhange for writin gin the past. 
Some affiliate links included.