Top Recommended Layover Activities:
1. The Albuquerque International Sunport Art Collection
The Albuquerque International Sunport Art Collection is displayed throughout the terminal. The collection includes Native American, Hispanic and Contemporary works by New Mexico artists.
2. Albuquerque's Old Town
Old Town is the heart of Albuquerque's heritage. The first families settled near the banks of the Rio Grande in 1706. Albuquerque was a colonial farming village and a military outpost along the Camino Real between Chihuahua and Santa Fe. The village formed in the traditional Spanish pattern of a central plaza surrounded by a church, homes and government buildings. Some of the old homes are still standing and many have been renovated into businesses.
3. Albuquerque Aquarium, 2601 Central Avenue NW
The architecturally impressive Albuquerque Aquarium exhibits Gulf of Mexico saltwater species from a variety of habitats, including estuarine, surf zone, shallow waters, coral reefs, open ocean and deep ocean. The highlight of the aquarium is a 285,000 gallon ocean tank where brown, sandtiger, blacktip and nurse sharks swim alongside brilliantly colored reef fish, eels, sea turtles and open ocean species. The Albuquerque Aquarium is a facility of the Albuquerque Biological Park. Open daily 9am - 5pm, except: June through August: 9am - 6pm, Saturday and Sunday. Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Days
Adults $7 (includes admission to Botanic Garden; $10 includes Zoo admission)
Children 3-12 and Seniors 65+, $3 (includes admission to Botanic Garden; $5 includes Zoo admission)
4. Rio Grande Zoo, 903 10th Street SW
Founded in 1927, the 64-acre Rio Grande Zoo offers visitors a pleasant stroll highlighted by close encounters with more than 250 species of exotic and native animals. Popular species include seals and sea lions, gorillas, orangutans, elephants, polar bears, giraffes, camels, tamarins, koalas, Mexican wolves, mountain lions, monkeys, jaguars, zebras and rhinoceros. State-of-the-art exhibit design and eye-pleasing landscaping enhance zoo animal husbandry by creating naturalistic habitats complete with trees, grasses, water features and rockwork. The Rio Grande Zoo is a facility of the Albuquerque Biological Park. Open daily, 9am - 5pm, except June through August: 9am - 6pm, Saturday and Sunday. Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Days
Adults $7 ($10 to include Aquarium/Botanic Garden admission)
Children 3-12 and Seniors 65+, $3 ($5 to include Aquarium/Botanic Garden admission)
5. Rio Grande Botanic Garden
Located across the plaza from the Albuquerque Aquarium, the lush and peaceful Rio Grande Botanic Garden represents an oasis in the desert. The Garden encompasses 20 developed acres, including a 10,000-square foot glass conservatory housing plants from desert and Mediterranean climate zones.
Top Weekend Getaways And Day Trip Excursions:
1. International Balloon Fiesta
The world's largest balloon event is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, held each October. Balloons of all shapes and sizes, some elaborately whimsical, can be spotted over head during the eight-day event. Best of all is the breathtaking Mass Ascension, when all of the participants take to the air at once for a spectacle you'll never forget. Although the festival we know today started in 1972, Albuquerque's first ballooning demonstration actually took place in 1882, more than two decades before the Wright brothers put air travel on the map. Today's celebration has grown from that single, marginally successful flight to a mass gathering of international participants and features a variety of contests, exhibition flights, and other activities. You'll find mere spectators as well as big-name pilots all rubbing elbows at the now-famous Balloon Fiesta Park. There are plenty of family-oriented activities and opportunities to learn all about the art and sport of ballooning.
For more information, call the Kodak International Balloon Fiesta (888) 422-7277 or visit www.aibf.org.
To find out how you can take to the skies, visit the following sites:
- Hot Air Ballooning
- Pueblo Balloon Company, Taos
- Affordable Balloon Rides of New Mexico
- Sheneeda More Balloon Rides
2. Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Take a turn in the comfortable 56-degree climate and behold Carlsbad Caverns' bizarre formations - stalactites and stalagmites - borne out of the earth's own vibrant imagination. The creation of the caves began some 250 million years ago, when the region was part of a vast inland sea. The caves weren't occupied until 1,000 years ago, when paleo-Indians first sought refuge there. Visitors today can enjoy self-guided or guided tours, backcountry explorations and camping, and more.
The park contains more than 100 known caves, including Lechuguilla Cave - the nation's deepest limestone cave (1,567 feet) and third longest. You can't miss The Big Room, eight football fields big. There are self-guided and ranger-guided tours. Reservations are recommended for the following excursions: Kings Palace, Left Hand Tunnel, Slaughter Canyon Cave, Lower Cave, Spider Cave, and Hall of the White Giant.
Expect ladder climbs, pool crossings, tight crawls, and free climbing. Oh, and bats - at dusk between May and October, you can witness a mass hatch as 300,000 of the Mexican freetailers exit the cave!
* Days/Hours Open:
The park is open 24 hours a day year-round except Christmas. The visitors center is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in summer; 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. the rest of the year.
* General Information
Facilities include a visitors center and dining, picnicking, and camping facilities.
From US 285, take NM 62/180 south to the park.
3. Petroglyph National Monument
Petroglyph National Monument stretches 17 miles along Albuquerque's West Mesa, a volcanic basalt escarpment that dominates the city’s western horizon. Authorized June 27, 1990, the 7,236 acre monument is cooperatively managed by the National Park Service and the City of Albuquerque.
Petroglyph National Monument protects a variety of cultural and natural resources including five volcanic cones, hundreds of archeological sites and an estimated 25,000 images carved by native peoples and early Spanish settlers. Many of the images are recognizable as animals, people, brands and crosses; others are more complex. Their meaning, possibly, understood only by the carver. These images are inseparable from the greater cultural landscape, from the spirits of the people who created them, and all who appreciate them.
Petroglyph National Monument
6001 Unser Blvd. NW
Albuquerque, NM 87120
Visitor Information: 505-899-0205
4. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Website
Dedicated to the preservation and perpetuation of Pueblo Indian Culture, History and Art. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is your Gateway to the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico. Committed to educating all generations of visitors.
Owned and operated by the 19 Indian Pueblos of New Mexico. We opened our doors in August, 1976, to showcase the history and accomplishments of the Pueblo people, from Pre-Columbian to current time. More than 200,000 people visit us each year. Our central focus is a 10,000 sq. ft. museum of the authentic history and artifacts of traditional Pueblo cultures and their contemporary art. Our permanent exhibit highlights the creativity and adaptation which made possible the survival, diversity and achievements of each of the 19 Pueblos. We also have a small, changing exhibit that highlights the work of living traditional and contemporary artists, usually those who conduct demonstrations at the Center.
The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
2401 12th Street NW (1 block North of I-40)
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87104
Phone: 505-843-7270 or 1-800-766-4405 outside of New Mexico.