Given the close connections between the State of New Mexico and the Manhattan Project, it is no surprise that a national museum dedicated to nuclear science and history was sited in Albuquerque. What may be surprising is that it took so long to happen. The Sandia Atomic Museum wasn't established until 1969. It became the National Atomic Museum in 1973, and nearly twenty years later was chartered by Congress to serve as the nation's repository of nuclear-related items. Until 9/11, the Museum was located at Kirtland AFB but following the terrorist bombings, it was relocated to Old Town. Eventually an entirely new facility was designed and constructed, allowing an expansion of the exhibits. The new building opened in 2009.
On my way out of Albuquerque heading east to Texas, I got off on an exit which directed tourists to the National Museum of Nuclear Science, signs for which had caught my eye a few days earlier. Well, why not? I'm on vacation! So I followed the signs and presently came to a spanking new building with some fascinating exhibits on the development, uses, and political and tactical issues surrounding nuclear power. I was particularly impressed by the exhibit of propaganda posters. It only took about an hour (it certainly could take much more time if you watched all the videos and then visited the planes and missiles on display outside), so I was glad I stopped.
In many ways, it does an admirable job of introducing young people to the development of nuclear power, its devastating effects as a weapon and a threat, and some of the positives -- like clean energy and medical uses. But the exhibits are a little uneven (some very good, others oddly not) and some of the installations are still incomplete. If you have time (and the weather isn't too sizzling or bitter), stroll around Heritage Park to get an "up close and personal" view of some of those planes and missiles.
Admission is $8.00 for adults; $7.00 for youth 6-17, seniors and active military. The museum is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. There is a large museum shop with the usual souvenirs, plus some interesting physics-related items.
The Maxwell Museum of Anthropology lets you walk through 4 million years of human development. Displayed are exhibits on world cultures along with an amazing collection of Southwestern artifacts.
The artwork of our ancestors is reproduced in a cave display with wall paintings of horses, buffalo and wolves. The main gallery displays Pueblo pottery, Navajo weavings and textiles. You can even grind corn with a grinding stone and stone bowl.
A great place to take kids!
This museum of natural history and science is a good place to go whether you are toting kids around or not. Since I have been around the world to some of the most expensive, grandest natural history museums I've been a little spoiled and probably could not judge this museum fairly. However, it is a very good museum none the less and they do a great job in displaying their Dinosaur collections which the area can be quite known for.
Admission Prices: Comparitively lower than other museums.
When at the museum stop by the gift shop and the cafe. They do a great bagel sandwich and of course, numerous dishes with chile.
The Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day with these exceptions:
The Museum is CLOSED on Thanksgiving and Christmas and non-holiday Mondays in January and September.
Museum Prices as of current: $5 Adults, $4 Senior, $2 Children 3-12.
There is a tiny, quiet store tucked away on the outskirts of beautiful 'Old Town' in Albuquerque. This isn't your average store as you soon will realize, for what awaits you out back in the museum is sure to either please and fascinate you, make you scream and cringe, or both!
You're at The Rattlesnake Museum, the largest collection of different LIVE rattlesnakes in the world. They boast that they have more rattlesnakes than the Bronx Zoo, Philadelphia Zoo, National Zoo, Denver Zoo, San Fransisco Zoo and the San Diego Zoo combined!
Also calling this living museum home is a Gila Monster (absolutely gorgeous, brightly coloured beaded lizard) and a veiled chameleon. Tapping on their glass cases is NOT nice, so don't do that.
Be sure to pick up a souvenier in their gift shop. Brave souls can have their picture taken with a live snake and everyone receives a certificate of bravery.
Open daily 10am-6pm, Sundays 1pm-6pm.
Closed major holidays. Small admission fee.
The Rattlesnake museum is located in the heart of Old Town which is a very touristy area. The museum is about 50% gift Shop and 50% museum. It's only a couple of dollars to check out the museum so it's worth a quick trip in to see what they have. They help support the conservation of the snakes so you're giving to a cause as well.
Obviously they have a large collection of Rattlesnakes. In addition to that they have some lizards, spiders (tarantulas) and other snakes. The Rattlesnakes though are the main attraction. In the back room tucked away in the corner was a Diamondback who had no desire to be looked at. When I walked up to check out the snake it coiled up and began rattling to warn me that he wasn't looking for a new friend. Although I've been around a lot of snakes, I've never heard a rattlesnake "in the flesh". It certainly makes you take notice.
When you are done, pick up a rattlesnake museum souvenir!
We didn't make it to the inside of the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History (was just too gorgeous outside) but they have a really good sculpture garden that doesn't cost a dime to explore. Among the interesting pieces is a massive work called La Jordana (The Journey). Created by sculptors Betty Sabo and Sonny Rivera, it depicts the trek of the first settlers from New Spain (Mexico) to New Mexico in 1598. This piece is likely not much admired by the local indigenous peoples - whose ancestors suffered various indignities at the hands of the conquering Spaniards - but that was long ago and the rich, diverse culture of New Mexico owes a great deal to contributions from both aboriginal and Spanish influences. I've enclosed a link to a downloadable brochure about La Jordana.
My title page photo was taken here and I would have gotten more but the lawn sprinklers were on and I got drenched just getting the two shots I did! Oh well. The museum is on the east side of Old Town (see previous tip) so it's easy to combine visits to both in one trip.
The New Mexico Museum of Natural History is one of the finest such museums in the country. It has a wealth of exhibits about the state and its inhabitants, both animal and human. One of the best exhibits focusues on the life that existed here way back in prehistoric times. There, one can see fossils of such long extinct creatures such as the Smilodon, or Sabertoothed Cat (See picture).
The new Explora Science Center and Children's Museum on Mountain Road near Old Town opened 13 Dec 03. Explora's hours are 10 AM - 6 PM, Monday-Saturday and noon - 6 PM Sunday. There are 250 new interactive exhibits that should be great fun for all ages and a new, expanded store with great science toys, kits, and books. Admission fees are $7 for adults, $3 for children (ages 2-12), and $5 for seniors (over 65). Try making giant bubbles or play with the erosion/water-flow table. Other activities include an interactive water fountain, a mirror maze, a light table, a tarantula house, microscopes, and a robot creation center.
This is a newer structure that appears to still be evolving. Events are held inside and out. There was very little art, and it has maybe 50 sculpture pieces scattered in the building and outside. The best is at the corner of 19th Street for a display of pioneers trudging their way west in migration. It is open 9-5 daily, except Monday and admission is $2. Time spent may be 30 minutes estimate.
On first sight, this museum is not likely to attract your attention - in fact, with it's location within a roadside mall, you may well find it off-putting and choose not to visit. However, this would be a fatal mistake. The museum is owned and operated by Joe P Lowry and his son Joe Dan.
Containing one of the world's largest collections of turquoise, this museum is home to pieces from over 60 turquoise mines around the world.
When you enter the store front location, you are presented by a very functional, machine-filled area, to the left of which is a rather tacky-looking faux mine entrance; it is through this tunnel, with turquoise embedded into it's walls that you enter the museum.
Exhibits in the museum take you through the stone's geology, history and mythology, including maps showing mines around the world. These displays will provide you with the necessary information to determine whether your purchase is authentic or not. There are also hands-on exhibits to keep the children enthused.
If you intend to purchase turquoise during your visit to New Mexico, or just have a general interest in turquoise, then a stop at The Turquoise Museum is a must - don't let it's location or looks dissuade you!!
No photography allowed.
ENTRANCE FEES (accurate in November 2011) :
Adults - US$4
Children 7 to 12 - US$3
Children 6 and under - Free
Seniors 60 and over - US$3
Family - US$10
This museum will give you an understanding of the 19 New Mexico pueblos and the Native Americans who follow their traditions and lifestyles. The museum has a permanent exhibit called "Our Land, Our Culture, Our Story" which features a brief historical overview of the Pueblo world, whilst a contemporary exhibit features original artwork and craftsmanship of each of the 19 Pueblos. This is a great opportunity to have a valuable insight into these Pueblos.
The Museum's Mission Statement is "To preserve and perpetuate Pueblo culture and to advance understanding by presenting with dignity and respect, the accomplishments and evolving history of the Pueblo people of New Mexico."
The museum is also home to the Shumakolowa Gift Shop and Pueblo Harvest Cafe.
OPENING HOURS :
Cultural Center and Museum -
Monday thru Sunday 09:00 to 17:00 (Closed major holidays)
Shumakolowa Gifts -
Monday thru Sunday 09:00 to 17:30 (Closed major holidays)
Pueblo Harvest Cafe -
Monday thru Thursday 08:00 to 20:30
Friday and Saturday 08:00 to 21:00
Sunday (serving brunch) 08:00 to 16:00
This museum is located just outside the old town and has a great collection of dinosaurs. Some of them are really well-kept and properly organized. Also the mineral history of this area is well review in this museum.
Usually a half hour show about nature is projected in an auditorium at the first floor.
During your tour of the old town you should take this detour...
This museum for kids actually encourages people to touch the exhibits. It's completely hands on.
Hours and Admission:
Monday - Saturday 10am-6pm
Adults (12-64) $7.00
Seniors (65+) $5.00
Children (1-11) $3.00
Children (under 1) Free
Many great dinosaur exhibits plus a dynamax theater and planetarium.
Venue/ Adult/ Senior/ Children 3-12
Museum/ $5/ $4/ $2
DynaTheater/ $6/ $5/ $3
Planetarium/ $6/ $5/ $3
Virtual Voyages/ $5/ $4/ $3
This nice museum just to the north-east of Old Town has the largest collection of Spanish colonial artifacts in the United States. There are also many displays showing Albuquerque's birth and development. A sculpture garden outside has 45 works by some of the best Southwestern artists of the 20th century.
OPEN: 9-5 Tuesday-Sunday