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.
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.
|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.
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.
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.
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!
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