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You can choose to paddle along a picturesque lake or to negotiate the white waters of a rushing river. Take a ride through the Old West on a historic train. Go camping and get away from it all. Encounter the unknown. Maybe a long afternoon exploring the shops in Santa Fe is more your speed. Or the thrills of the Albuquerque adventure parks. No matter how many years young you might be, New Mexico is all about family fun.
Find more family fun:
Tinkertown Museum- http://tinkertown.com (505) 281-5233 9am-6pm daily, 7 days a week Adults: $3.50 Seniors (62+): $3.00 Children 4-16: $1.00 “Fantastic, funky Tinkertown Museum is an enchanted assortment of miniature, animated Western scenes. The gift shop alone is worth the visit.” - Sunset Magazine
Albuquerque BioPark- http://www.cabq.gov/biopark The Albuquerque BioPark consists of the Albuquerque Aquarium, Rio Grande Botanic Garden, Rio Grande Zoo and Tingley Beach. The BioPark is a great place for kids. Marvel at animals from all over the world at the zoo, learn how the waters of the Rio Grande change from Albuquerque to the Gulf of Mexico at the aquarium, and the kids will love the 10,000 square foot glass conservatory housing native and exotic plants at the Botanic Garden.
National Museum of Nuclear Science and History- www.nuclearmuseum.org 9:00am - 5:00pm Daily Adults: $8.00 Seniors (60+), Veterans, Youth (6-17): $7.00 Kids Under 6 Free The nation’s only congressionally chartered museum in its field, and an intriguing place to learn the story of the Atomic Age, from early research of nuclear development through today’s peaceful uses of nuclear technology
Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum- www.balloonmuseum.com (505) 822-1111 $4.00 Adults ($3.00 for NM Residents with valid ID) $2.00 ages 65+ / $1.00 ages 4-12 / under 3 FREE The museum tells the history of ballooning, from the first flight in France in 1783, with a rooster, sheep, and duck as passengers, to the use of balloons in military, science, and aerospace research.
Explora- www.explora.us (505) 224-8300 Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm Sunday 12pm-6pm Adults $8.00 / Children (1-11) $4.00 / Seniors (65+) $5.00 “I can't say enough about how awesome this place is. It isn't just a science center or a museum... it is a fun house! The kids cheer when I tell them we may return. From the visitor-controlled water fountain art to the living room-sized elevator, we love it!” – Yahoo Reviews
New Mexico Museum of Natural History - www.nmnaturalhistory.org (505) 841-2800 9am-5pm daily, 7 days a week Adults $7.00 / Children (3-12) $4.00 / Seniors (60+) $6.00 The Museum's permanent exhibit halls illustrate a "journey through time", covering the birth of the Universe (≈13.6 billion years ago) to the Ice Age (≈10000 years ago).
White Sands National Monument - Located outside of Alamogordo, about 1.5 hours south of Albuquerque, the White Sands National Monument is open seven days a week from 7am to an hour after sunset. The park admission fee is $3.00 per person over 16 (15 and under are free). Guided sunset strolls and full moon hikes and biking are available for an additional fee.
Pumpkin Patches and Harvest Fairs
Fall is a great time of year to explore New Mexico with your family, especially if you’re looking for traditional autumn fun. From maize mazes to pony rides, your family will love the seasonal pumpkin patches around the state. Read more about them at /unique-and-unusual/#article78321.
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If you're looking for a new vacation experience for the whole family, get out of the car and hop onto the train. Everyone can ride the rails in New Mexico. (Tip: Remember to always have your ticket on hand for the conductor.) Step back into a simpler time of the Old West with our locomotives, and see striking views of the vast and contrasting landscape. Or if you just want to get from Point A to B, we have that too. From historic railways to a 21st Century commuter train, New Mexico offers a plethora of destinations for rail fans.
To visit the C&TSRR, head to the village of Chama, 107 miles north of Santa Fe off U.S. 84. The railway was constructed in 1880 as part of the Rio Grande's San Juan Extension to climb the high mountain passages to the silver mining district in southwestern Colorado. Today it operates as one of the United State's highest railroads, reaching an elevation of more than 10,000 feet as it chugs though the Cumbres Pass. It's also the longest narrow gauge railway. The rails are only three feet apart, as opposed to the standard gauge of more than four feet. And the scenery is spectacular. Once the track veers away from U.S. 84, there's little evidence of modern civilization, giving you the impression you're seeing the landscape just as it was in the Old West.
The New Mexico Rail Runner Express also departs from the Santa Fe Depot, from which it travels south through Albuquerque to the end of its line in Belén. The Rail Runner began offering commuter train service in 2006 and completed its route along the heavily traveled central corridor in 2008. With a style reminiscent of the Super Chief trains that once toured the southwest, the trains boast double-decker seating where passengers can take in views of the Río Grande and Native American reservations while zipping along at a 21st-Century pace. Just hop aboard at one of the train's dozen stations (you'll buy your ticket on board) and get ready for adventure. Please note that while the train offers regular service, you should consult the schedule when planning your excursion.
One of New Mexico's 13 original Harvey Houses can be found in Belén just south of Albuquerque.
From 1908 to 1939 Belén's Harvey House Dining Room offered hearty fare and good service at reasonable prices to travelers heading into the Wild West. Today, the historic building houses the Harvey House Museum, which preserves Santa Fe Railway and Fred Harvey organization memorabilia. Visit the famous Harvey Girls' dormitories and the Belén Model Railroad Club's creations. Belén is located 30 miles south of Albuquerque off I-25. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Hungry? Continue south from Belén to Los Lunas, to the Luna Mansion Restaurant.
In 1881, when the New Mexico & Southern wanted to lay track through Antonio José Luna's hacienda, he asked that the company build him a new house of his own design. The resulting Victorian-style Luna-Otero Mansion is still standing today and operates as a restaurant serving elegant, American fare. Several ghosts are also rumored to haunt the mansion, including the late Josefita Otero who once resided there.
In March 8, 1881, in Deming, a silver spike joined the Southern Pacific Railroad to the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, creating the second transcontinental railway. Although there's relatively little to see where this monumental collision was marked, the town of Deming owes its existence to the railway. Named after Mary Deming Crocker, wife of a railroad tycoon, Deming was officially founded after the meeting of the two railways. A Harvey House quickly followed, and part of that original building still stands next to the town's Amtrak depot today.
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From the Deming Duck Races and Whole Enchilada Festival in Las Cruces, to the Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium and world-famous International Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico offers an exciting cornucopia of fairs, festivals, and expositions that the whole family will enjoy!
See all of the Festivals and Fairs that take place in New Mexico here: