Biopark & Zoo, Albuquerque
Now if you've been to any aquarium and zoo around the world, you know the drill. We're obviously no SeaWorld or Taronga Zoo, so if you're looking for huge thrills, killer whale shows and stuff, you will be disappointed. HOWEVER, the BioPark continues to improve and expand. And there's some unique things about our BioPark.
In addition to the mentioned aquarium and zoo, we have the Botanical Gardens and Tingley Beach which are intertwined into the facitiies. There's a little locomotive that runs in between the BioPark areas, and it's a joy to kick back and be ushered around in a little train.
The Combo Admission combines all of the BioPark facilities, including unlimited train rides. Trains, according to the site at present, don't run on Monday's. So keep that in mind please. More info on prices can be found at the link I provided.
This is a cool little way to spend the day, local or not. Please come visit!
Tingley Beach has come a long way since I was a child. I remember just a shabby series of man-made lakes, where a lot of people would come and fish. Flash forward to the new century, and everything was redone and renovated for the greater good! This place is a beautiful spot located near Old Town. It now belongs to the Biopark and there's lots to do. It's a nice little romantic getaway from the typical. There's a series of three fishing lakes, a lake to race remote control boats and where the geese and ducks gather and a boathouse that has a train stop on it! Located near the bosque(Spanish for "forest") of the Rio Grande basin, it's just a short ways from the BioPark, the Albuquerque Zoo and Old Town. There's no fees to access Tingley Beach (except if you want to eat a snack at the boathouse of course or take the little train that stops there). There's no reservations required (as the website explains). Come on a weekday when there's not much of a crowd. The best time to enjoy this little paradise in Albuquerque is in the autumn, when the leaves change color and bring out the magic of the bosque.
This naturally occurs only during the holiday season. Starting after Thanksgiving and ending right after Christmas, the River of Lights is a wonderful display of colorful LED displays and lit-up sculptures that are a treat for the eyes. It's best enjoyed with your family or friends or other loved ones, of course. Please dress up warm because I found out, it can get annoying trying to keep warm and enjoy the spectacular displays. A good pair of wool socks, a good jacket, gloves and thermos are helpful. If you're ever in Albuquerque for the holidays, please take some time to visit. The entrance fee is around 7 dollars (I believe babies are free and there's no senior discounts) and the money goes to support the BioPark and Zoo (where the River of Lights takes place).
Near the Old Town area, Albuquerque has a small but very nice biopark. It includes the Rio Grande Botanic Garden and The Albuquerque Aquarium. The two glass-enclosed conservatories in the biopark have desert and Mediterreanan plants. There is also a venue for concerts and a seasonal butterfly conservatory. Another innovative attraction is the Children's Garden, where all the vegetables and animals are your size. You may even walk underground too. Soon the biopark will be connected to the zoo by a small train.
The biopark is open every day of the week, 9am - 5pm (June through August: 9am - 6pm, Saturday and Sunday). It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Days. Admission is $7 for adults and includes admission to Aquarium. For $12 you may also include Zoo admission. Children 3-12 and Seniors 65+ are $3 or $5 to include Zoo admission. On Thursdays in the summertime (7:00-9:00 PM), there are free concerts included in the admission.
You can go to Tingley Beach, the Zoo or Albuquerque Aquarium and Rio Grande Botanic Garden. All are in same location of town. And can ride a train to each park. This is walking distance to Old Town and has a stop for the Rapid Ride Bus.
The Albuquerque BioPark has been working hard over the years to become something more than a Zoo. There is now a Botanical Garden and an Aquarium. Though they've been here for years now, I finally took the time to visit just a couple of months ago and was quite pleased with my experience.
First off, I hate formal gardens. And growing up on coasts and islands, I am picky about my Aquariums too. So for me to even LIKE the day I spent there is high praise indeed!
The Aquarium was fun, filled with wonderful sea critters, and even had little halloween decorations in some of the tanks .... my favorite was the pirate's chest and the floating skeleton :) I loved the eels and the sharks (which you can see from the cafe which has one wall of glass to allow you to watch the critters during your meal).
The Botanical Gardens share a common courtyard with the Aquarium, and has many styles of plantings ..... my favorites were the children's garden in which you seem to shrink down to ant-like size and crawl about, and the southwest ranch/farm. The farm includes a farm house that is fairly typical for the region, plantings, wonderful local desert plant life, crops, and even a free wagon ride pulled by draft horses.
The most disappointing garden was the Moorish courtyard ..... barely noticeable Moorish inspired tile mosaics and weak plantings ... but that's okay. After a quick look I moved on to something more beautiful.
Oh, and if you want to make a full day of it. There is a train that takes you from this area to the Zoo about a mile away! A cute little steam engine reproduction that travels the irrigation ditches, along the Rio Grande, and along Tingley Beach Park ..... a bit of lushness in our desert region :)
So for $7 to visit the Aquarium and Gardens, or $12 to visit those, the Zoo AND ride the Rio Line, you really can't beat this as a something fun and cheap to do while in ABQ! BTW- the 3 park ticket is only sold before noon.
The Botanic Gardens are located next to the Zoo and Aquarium. Sorry to say some of my pictures have gone the way of the computer crash. :( These gardens are very lovely and you can stroll around and see so many diffrent varieties of life in here. The glass conservatory filters heat producing UV rays and blooms year round--with xeric species in the Desert Pavilion, aromatic species in the Mediterranean Pavilion. A trio of walled gardens salutes Old World design in fountains, tile, herbs and roses. The Children's Fantasy Garden was a favorite of both mine and Dons. Well we are just two very large kids you know.
Starting with a fourteen foot high topiary dragon that guards the castle gates, visitors get a larger-than-life perspective of plants, gardening, horticulture and people. It was really a fun place to go. For information regarding disabilities , hours and special events please be sure to check out thier website.
This was a very nice zoo. Clean and easy to manuver around in. The animals seemed to be healthy and well taken care of. As always the primates were a good show. Ya gotta love those furry nit pickers. When we were at the zoo they had a bird show going on in a special area 3 times daily. It was very entertaining. i know exhibits tend to change so I am not sure if it is still there. If it is and you have time it was definately worth the hour or so and it was a nice place to sit and relax.
The Matunda Cafe is open seasonally and located in the Africa exhibit area across from the Out of Africa gift shop and train station. The cafe has an outdoor seating area and serves soft drinks, sandwiches, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, chips, candy and ice cream. For more info. please call (505) 764-6215
We had a nice lunch here. Warning it gets packed quick. We had to wait some but 20 minutes after we were through the lines were horrible.
Open every day of the week, 9am - 5pm
June through August: 9am - 6pm, Saturday and Sunday
Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Days
For those with disabilities here is some information :
Persons with Disabilities
Wheelchairs are available on request but limited in number. If you have a disability and require special assistance when you visit the Rio Grande Zoo, please call (505) 764-6200, preferably three days before your visit .
Service Animals (No Pets Allowed)
Animals that are certified service animals are permitted in the public areas of all Biological Park facilities. Pets are not permitted on Zoo grounds. Inquire with the zoo receptionist about the availability of kennels
Be sure and check out the website for current hours and rates.
There is a Small Aquarium in the Biopark. It doesn't take long to go through but if you buy the combo pass, it's well worth the price of admission. There is a "touch pool" where you can reach in a touch a Stingray (or at least try).
It's located next to the Botanical Park so you can see both at the same time. It's a short drive from the Zoo. I believe there will be a tram that will travel the distance of the biopark that will allow you to avoid having to drive. It wasn't ready when we were there.
The Zoo is a park of what is called the "Biopark". In addition to the Zoo, the Biopark also houses an aquarium and the Botanical Gardens. It's a great concept and they are going to connect the three with a light rail to keep you from having to drive between them.
The Concierge at the Hotel who recommended the Zoo told me it was small but the collection of animals is fantastic. Albuquerque should be proud of the Zoo they've assembled. They have a lot of animals that are missing from my home zoo in Atlanta (including Polar Bears). They also have a really neat exhibit where you can watch seals and sea lions swimming underwater.
The best thing about the Zoo is that it's so reasonably priced. We were able to get a Combo Ticket for all three Biopark sites for $12.50 per adult. Admission to a Zoo alone in another city would surpass that.
Near the Albuquerque Old Town there is this small but nice biopark including the Rio Grande Botanic Garden and The Albuquerque Aquarium. Sometimes concerts are organized during Summer.
A nice place for a walk... it's not so easy to find some plants in Albuquerque, should go!!
Even if I'm not agreeing with keeping animals caged, this could be a nice place to spend some time in Albuquerque.
There are over 200 species of wildlife from all over the world; reptile session is particulary rich of species.
The most noticeable animal is the Mexican Lobo (wolf), a bit hard to see because it likes to hide.
The walk in this park is very relaxing and in Summer there is often a concert at night near the cafeteria.
It's a nice adobe church built in the traditional colonial style in 1793 to replace the original 1706 mission church.
The Church of San Felipe de Neri is still a working Catholic parish and it is possible to attend church services on Sundays and on Wednesday evenings.
The church has a museum inside.
Very beautiful zoo. The Rio Grande Zoo is one of my favorite spots in the city. Very relaxing walking through the zoo looking at all the exhibits.
Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM Weekdays
Hours: 9 AM to 6 PM Weekends
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day
Sign on the door of the reptile building, "If you observe other animals eating one another, please come back at a later time."
Well, I didn't observe any reptile eating another reptile, the zoo certainly is a terrific place to stop. NOT all zoo's are alike! At an ultra-affordable price, missing the Albuquerque Museum would be disappointing. They do a terrific job on displays and shows.
Big fans of reptiles must stop by and see the Komodo Dragon! A truly majestic creature. The Mexican Wolves like to hide but if you're lucky you might see them. There are creatures here that are not at your local zoo - including the Birds of Prey.
When dining outside, be sure to watch for the friendly, somewhat demanding peacock that wanders about wanting food. When outside having a snack, be leery of feeding a sparrow - one piece of food to him and he invites several dozen of his buddies!