Albuquerque offers an abundance of family-oriented activities that encourage discovery and make learning fun.
The BioPark consists of three separate facilities, the ABQ BioPark Zoo, the Albuquerque Aquarium and the Rio Grande Botanic Garden plus Tingley Beach. (505) 764-6200 TTY (505) 768-2000 www.cabq.gov/biopark
The ABQ BioPark Zoo sits on more than 60 acres blocks from Old Town and downtown Albuquerque. It has become one of the leading zoos in the nation. Expert staff, scientifically researched diets, naturalized habitats and specialized animal management techniques make the zoo an oasis for both exotic and native species. In keeping its mission of conservation, education and research, the zoo has established captive breeding programs for a number of threatened and endangered species. In addition to a top-notch education program, the zoo also offers a summer concert series.
At the Aquarium, visitors follow the story of a drop of water as it enters the upper Rio Grande high in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, past canyons, deserts and valleys of New Mexico, Texas and Mexico, through the lower Rio Grande and finally into the Gulf of Mexico. A 285,000-gallon Shark Tank with floor-to-ceiling viewing windows is the home of many sharks, sea turtles, stingrays and other animals from the Gulf of Mexico. Other highlights are eels in a walk-through cave, invertebrates in a tide pool, live coral and colorful fish in reef displays.
The Botanic Garden covers 36 developed acres including a 10,000 square foot glass conservatory, which displays plants from Southwestern deserts and the world’s Mediterranean climates. The Botanic Garden is home to many specialty gardens including the Japanese Garden, Spanish-Moorish Garden, Ceremonial Rose Garden, Dragonfly Sanctuary Pond and Children’s Fantasy Garden. The award-winning Rio Grande Heritage Farm offers a variety of farm animals and fun activities. In summer, the Botanic Garden hosts a concert series and opens its Butterfly Pavilion with hundreds of free-flying temperate and tropical butterflies.
At Tingley Beach, guests can fish in three different fishing ponds, float boats in the Model Boat Pond, hike to the nearby Rio Grande, have a picnic or find goodies at the Tingley Beach Café and Convenience Store. During summer, Tingley visitors can rent pedal boats and bicycles. An NM fishing license is required for anglers over 12 years of age. Tingley Beach is free and open from sunrise to sunset daily.
Cliff’s Amusement Park, which has been in Albuquerque for over 50 years, features WaterMania! And Li’l Squirts waterpark for all ages, along with exciting roller coasters like the New Mexico Rattler and over 20 rides that will have everyone laughing and screaming with excitement. (505) 881-9373 www.cliffsamusementpark.com
Hinkle Family Fun Center is open year round and has go-karts, paintball, bumper boats, laser tag, arcade games and miniature golf. (505) 299-3100 www.hinklefamilyfuncenter.com
IT’Z is fun venue for families with activities such as bowling, video games, a roller coaster, bumper cars, pizza and more. (505) 883-3677 www.itzusa.com
North America’s longest double reversible aerial tramway, a glorious mountain setting and a varied recreational playground come together to make a marvelous getaway anytime of the year. The Sandia Peak Tram travels 2.7 miles from the base of the foothills northeast of Albuquerque to the top of the 10,378-foot Sandia Peak. From the lower terminal, the tramcar travels suspended over rugged boulders and rocky mountain landscapes, and the city drops beneath you as you glide over the lush ponderosa forest. The view on a clear day from Sandia Peak encompasses more than an 11,000 square mile panoramic view of deep rugged canyons, the Rio Grande Valley, extinct volcanoes, distant mountains, unusual formations carved by erosion, sensational desert landscape and to the east the Estancia Valley. At the top of the peak riders can enjoy dining at the High Finance Restaurant or ride the tram down to dine at Sandiago’s Mexican Grill. In the winter and spring enjoy downhill skiing & snowboarding down the other side of the mountain on snow-covered slopes. In the summer and fall enjoy scenic chairlift rides or lift accessed mountain biking at Sandia Peak Ski Area. (505) 856-7325 www.sandiapeak.com
• Albuquerque Isotopes, AAA Baseball www.albuquerquebaseball.com
• The University of New Mexico Lobos http://www.GoLobos.com
• New Mexico Stars Indoor Football http://www.nmstars-lsfl.com/
Albuquerque’s museums offer an array of activities for children and families to discover. Children will be especially interested in the offerings at Explora and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. Learn more about Albuquerque’s museums on page 11 or visit www.visitalbuquerque.org/ activities.
¡explora! is New Mexico’s premier hands-on learning center with more than 250 interactive exhibits, educational programs and activities encouraging creativity, imagination, inspiration and inquiry into science, technology and art. (505) 224-8300 www.explora.us
The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science features eight permanent exhibit halls that take guests through the formation of the universe, the age of the dinosaurs, and geologic changes including volcanoes and ice ages. The Extreme Screen DynaTheater is the largest movie screen in New Mexico and an ‘out of this world’ planetarium. The museum also features a comprehensive exhibit about the evolution of the personal computer called “Startup: Albuquerque and the Personal Computer Revolution,” which overviews Albuquerque’s role in the beginning of the personal computing era.(505) 841-2800 www.nmnaturalhistory.org