Clear blue skies, mild temperatures, and calm winds make Albuquerque, New Mexico a wonderful family getaway destination. Enjoy this multicultural metropolis, and book a stay at a Albuquerque vacation rental today. Look forward to seeing the vintage neon signs that line the iconic Route 66. Old Town Albuquerque captures the essence of this 1706 Spanish colony and pays homage to the sophisticated Native American skills reflected in the stone masonry, ceramics, and myriad of arts and crafts. Experience a variety of ecosystems and natural beauty in this high desert environment. Check out the most exciting family-friendly activities in Albuquerque.
1. Petroglyph National Monument
Spiritual and cultural significance surround you at the awe-inspiring Petroglyph National Monument, one of the largest sites in North America. This monument protects the symbols and designs carved onto volcanic rock hundreds of years ago by Native Americans and Spanish settlers. Several easy-to-navigate paths and diverse routes guide you through the area.
2. Hot Air Balloon Ride
Soar over the Rio Grande River Valley in a hot air balloon. The balloon dips to the tree tops for leave picking, then it majestically rises more than 1,000 feet, offering breathtaking panoramic views and changing vistas of the entire valley. Look down at birds in flight, or glide just above the flora and fauna for a birds-eye view. There’s no sense of height or motion in a balloon, so even your youngest family members will feel secure. A continental lunch, a toast of fruit juice, a story of the history of ballooning, and a first-flight certificate make this an exhilarating experience. If you still have some qualms, try the Sandia Peak Tramway instead. You can still enjoy spectacular scenery.
3. Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum
Even if your family doesn’t partake in a high-in-the-sky balloon ride, this museum is a must-see experience. This museum combines science, history, sports, and spectacle in one of the finest collections of hot air balloon equipment and memorabilia. Spend some time in the interactive and immersive Weather Lab, where scientists study sun, wind, clouds, precipitation, and storms to better understand and forecast weather conditions. Examine weather pods and view artifacts, videos, and images relating to weather.
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4. American International Rattlesnake Museum
Put your fears aside and discover how rattlesnakes influence lives in this animal conservation museum in Old Town Albuquerque. View the largest live collection of different rattlesnake species in the world, all living in recreated habitats from North, Central, and South America. Lots of mysteries surround these feared reptiles, and this attraction explores the myths – and may just cure phobias, too.
5. Cliff’s Amusement Park
From a splash pad for the young ones to Mega Water Monkeys for the big guys, Cliff’s Amusement Park offers multiple ways to cool off. Stop for a snack, or grab a meal at one of the on-site eateries. Then, hop on the classic carousel, or play some midway games like Ring-a-Bottle and Hoop Shot. If you love thrill rides, climb aboard the New Mexico Rattler, one of the top 25 wooden roller coasters in the world.
6. Old Town Plaza
Shop in over 150 boutiques and galleries for gifts with Southwestern flair. This 10-block historic district is filled with original adobe buildings and architecture. Discover hidden patios and balconies as you stroll the winding brick paths, and breathe in the fragrance of the gardens that line the streets. You can explore the oldest building in the city, the San Felipe de Nero Church, built in 1793, which features stunning Pueblo-Spanish architecture. Settle on one of the built-in benches when it’s time for a rest.
7. Albuquerque BioPark
Plan to spend the day, because there’s lots to see and do in the four separate entities that comprise the BioPark. The 285,000-gallon aquarium holds saltwater specimens from the Gulf of Mexico, estuaries, surf zones, coral reefs, and oceans, while the huge 36-acre glass conservatory at the botanic garden houses plants from the desert and Mediterranean climate zones. In addition to favorites such as polar bears and monkeys, you’ll find some unusual species, such as wombats, white rhinos, and koalas, as you stroll along the 1.5 miles of paths of the zoo. Grab a ride on the 36-inch narrow-gauge railroad that connects the zoo, aquarium, and botanic gardens. Stop at Tingley Beach for some fishing or a picnic.
8. New Mexico Museum of Natural History
The largest T-Rex ever found waits to greet you at this wonderful museum, along with a planetarium and naturalist center. Learn about the constellations in the night sky, or watch an interactive video in the amazing 55-foot full-dome theater. Find out how scientists remove dinosaurs from rock matrix to recreate the giants in the exhibits. Let the tactile-oriented members of your family spend some time in the naturalist center to learn about native animals and other interesting specimens.
9. Explora Science Center
Experience hands-on science in over 250 exhibits, activities, programs, and theater performances. Explora’s exhibits fit on tabletops and are geared for hand-size manipulation. There are a ton of neat things to discover, like the gravity of balls and ramps. In the water exhibit, the kids can discover if water flows uphill or if it’s sticky, and they can watch how its patterns change when things like rocks or branches interrupt its flow.
10. Indian Pueblo Culture Center
Learn about the history and culture of the 19 pueblos of New Mexico when you stroll through this world-renowned collection of artifacts. Admire the historical and contemporary pottery, hand-woven baskets, blankets, and clothing, as well as paintings, jewelry, and photos that preserve New Mexico’s Native American influence. Rest your feet at the Harvest Cafe, and enjoy the taste of traditional pueblo flavors combined with contemporary cuisine and the fragrant, fresh-out-of-the-oven bakery treats.
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