During field trips, some of us were more focused on having a day out of school rather than on our actual destination. Or maybe you enjoyed field trips, but the memory of them has become hazy over time. Either way, returning to these attractions as an adult can be a surprisingly rewarding experience. Here are 11 New Mexico field trips that are well worth taking a second – or first – time.
1. The Roundhouse (Santa Fe)
If you were of school age after 1966, chances are you took a field trip here. Our state capitol building is the only round one in the country although, from above, you can see that that it’s actually in the shape of the Zia Sun Symbol. The stained glass ceiling of the Rotunda, the extensive display of work by New Mexican artists, and the small yet appealing grounds are all reasons to visit today. It is located at the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Old Santa Fe Trail.
2. The Palace of the Governors (Santa Fe)
If you were near Santa Fe, it’s also likely that you toured the Palace of the Governors, the oldest continuously occupied public building in the nation. Today, it’s a state history museum with an inventory of 15,000 items that includes the bullet-damaged clock that was in Columbus on the day that Pancho Villa raided the town. New Mexico residents can visit for free on the first Sunday of the month, with ID. Address: 105 W. Palace Avenue – on the Plaza.
3. Alameda Park Zoo (Alamogordo)
This 12-acre zoo, which contains 250 animals, is by no means the biggest in the Southwest, but it is the oldest. It was established in 1898! Here you’ll find everything from capybara to bears, along with plenty of birds. It is located at 1321 N. White Sands Boulevard in Alamogordo.
4. ABQ Biopark Zoo (Albuquerque)
Depending on where you grew up, you may have gone on a field trip to this zoo instead - bet you were excited the night before! Founded in 1927, the ABQ Biopark Zoo is a good size at 64 acres. The animals have probably changed since your field trip days, but the experience is just as fun. Watch animal feedings, attend an animal encounter show (between April and October), and see Tasmanian devils, which are part of an important captive breeding program. The zoo is located at 903 10th Street SW in Albuquerque.
5. Clayton Lake State Park (Clayton)
Perhaps, when you were growing up, this spot was little more than a tranquil park. However, in 1982, a flood revealed more than 500 well-preserved dinosaur footprints. It’s definitely a fascinating place to visit as an adult, or as a child.
For more info.
This state park is located at 141 Clayton Lake Road in Clayton.
6. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (near Whites City)
If you went here on a field trip, then you know how miraculous this place is and probably want to return. For anyone who has never had to good fortune to view the dramatic formations in the Big Room and beyond, add this spot to your bucket list.
Here are some fun facts about Carlsbad Caverns.
7. Aztec Ruins National Monument (Aztec)
Aztec is unusual because you can walk inside the remains here, rather than skirting their edges. This makes it easier to imagine the lives of the Ancestral Puebloans who lived here between the 11th and 13th centuries. This national monument is part of Chaco Culture National Historical Park, but it is more accessible than the main portion of Chaco and is a very manageable size for a day trip. It is located at 84 County Road in Aztec.
8. Fort Stanton Museum (Fort Stanton)
As a kid, when you heard the words "fort," you got excited. However, the reality of exploring one of our state’s old forts may not have lived up to your expectations unless you were a history fan. Fort Stanton was probably still in use when you were growing up, but that’s all the more reason to embark on a fort field trip now. As an adult, it’s easier to appreciate the significance of the events that took place here. The fort has been used as an army base, a tuberculosis hospital, an internment camp, and more. It is located at 104 Kit Carson Rd, Fort Stanton.
9. New Mexico Farm Ranch and Heritage Museum (Las Cruces)
This museum opened in the 1990s and it offers an engaging peek inside the farming and ranching industries and their role in our state’s history. Here, you’ll find rotating exhibits, live animals, and plenty of vintage machinery. It is located at 4100 Dripping Springs Road in Las Cruces.
10. White Sands National Monument (Alamogordo)
Your teachers may not have wanted you to go sand sledding on a field trip, but there are no such rules now that you’re a grown up. You’ll be far from the only adult thrill seeker at this one-of-a-kind national monument. Bring a round sled or else pick one up at the gift shop. White Sands is located at 19955 Highway 70 in Alamogordo.
11. Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum (Albuquerque)
Although Explora first opened in 1983, it moved to its current location in 2003 so you probably haven't seen the new setup. Experiment with everything from electricity to bubbles at this fun museum. Go ahead and pretend you’re only here because the kids enjoy it - we won’t tell! Explora is located at 1701 Mountain Road NW in Albuquerque.
What was your favorite field trip as a kid? Have you been back to any as an adult? Let us know on the
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