Sunday, April 10, 2016

New Mexico: Petroglyphs Monument, Scenic Drive, Madrid, Los Alamos

Poor Dante wasn't feeling too good on this morning.
I really liked Petroglyphs National Monument.  It is right in Albuquerque (which is a beautiful city).  There's a little Visitor's Center where we went first and then we did the short hikes around Boca Negra Canyon to see about 100 Petroglyphs.  One thing I thought was cool was they had a phone number you could call and then press the number of the stop you were at and there was a narration.  No one wanted to listen to it except me.  But I found it fascinating to hear about the history of some of the petroglyphs, particularly the macaw petroglyphs and how important the macaw was to these people.  (I was surprised macaws would be found in New Mexico back then.)

This was right outside the Visitor's Center and was a model of the ovens they would have used.

Many of the petroglyphs were really clear and easy to spot.  Some were simple shapes and others were fairly complex or intricate.  I really enjoy history and found all of this fascinating.

We saw quite a few rabbits on our trip, including a bunch among the brush here at Boca Negra Canyon.

Look at the macaw and below it a caged macaw!

Gabby and Daphne are nearly the same age.  They got along so well and often walked along holding hands, posed for photos and just had a great time with each other on this trip.

Then we went for a long scenic drive along the Turquoise Trail Scenic Byway.  We stopped in Madrid at the Soda Fountain and had lunch.

Madrid is an old coal mining town and obviously a touristy little stop with lots of shops and restaurants.  The soda fountain is next to an art gallery with some amazing glasswork and some unique and interesting artwork.  There was an American flag made out of overalls and other clothing.  There were tables and chandeliers and other items made out of blown glass.  Pretty remarkable things.

Our next stop was in the town of Cerrillos.  Turquoise had been mined here.  The turquoise was used in the crown jewels of Spain.  The town has a small petting zoo which the children enjoyed.  Sadly, my camera stopped working while we were at the petting zoo and I fear it may never work again.

After the petting zoo, we headed to Los Alamos, New Mexico.  We went to the Pajarito Environmental Education Center.  It's pretty small but it was very child friendly.  The kids enjoyed looking at the animals (a few in terrariums...and they have a little nature area with a huge viewing window where many birds and a few chipmunks were...they also had photos of other animals caught on camera in the nature area...such as skunks, raccoons, mountain lions, bobcats and coyotes.
We only arrived at the education center about 25 minutes before it was closing, but we enjoyed every minute there.  

 Then we headed to the Bradley Science Center which was all about the development and use of the atomic bomb.   There were some interesting displays but it was not nearly as kid friendly.  I found some of it quite fascinating, and there was one room with hands on puzzles for the kids to try to solve.  We spent an hour there.

We then made a quick stop at Ashley Pond/Park right by the Bradley Science Center.  We took photos on the fun statues and by the pond.

Then we headed to our campsite at the Camp Vista Linda/Jemez Falls campground.  It was a beautiful drive through this forest/mountainous area.  There was snow on the ground and it was beautiful.  We saw a coyote right on the side of the road as we entered.  We saw several deer.  Somewhere in this area (either Los Alamos or the area we camped...I can't quite remember which...) we also saw wild turkeys.

The campground was breathtakingly beautiful.  Such beautiful surroundings.  And we were allowed to have a campfire so we roasted hot dogs and made smores.  I was worried it would be cold (as it had been the first two nights) but it wasn't too cold.  We were warm enough that night.  But we did hear coyotes howling all around us during the night.  The only downside to this campground was there was no running water.  But it was beautiful!