New Mexico's exciting list of attractions includes natural wonders, historical sites, and amusements!
Having fun in New Mexico can mean a number of things to a number of different people.
To skiers and outdoors-lovers, it's a paradise for active sports enthusiasts.
To art lovers, its the revered center of both Southwestern fine arts and Native American craftsmanship.
To history buffs, New Mexico is a place of discover...both for ancient Native American settlements as well as the center of Spanish history in North America (dating from before the arrival of the Pilgrims.)
But, to families taking a summer road trip, New Mexico is a smattering of the above...PLUS a great place to take kids. Children will have fun in New Mexico, and learn about its natural and historic wonders, as well. On the rest of this page, you'll find a number of good suggestions about where you may visit with your family in "The Land of Enchantment."
Fun in Southern New Mexico
Amazing Carlsbad Caverns tops the list of "must see" sightseeing!
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a world-wide destination because of its strikingly lovely geological formations. Though the United States is blessed with a number of interesting caves to explore, Carlsbad Caverns keeps coming up at the top of list after list of "best caves" printed in various magazines and websites. Why? Size is a factor...and so is the number and variety of formations. The famous "bat flights," the park's interpretive exhibits, and the availability of lantern-tours in undeveloped sections of the cave system are other reasons for its popularity. For details, please see the Carlsbad Caverns National Park website.
The Living Desert State Park zoo and botanical gardens, also in Carlsbad, New Mexico, is another fun family attraction you may wish to visit while you're in southeastern New Mexico. You'll find a mix of both animals and plants that are native to the Southwest...along with a nicely air conditioned interpretive center. For more information, here's the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park website.
White Sands National Park, several hours west of Carlsbad (by car) you'll find another US National Park that your kids will enjoy---White Sands. A better name could not have been chosen...because this huge sandbox, tempting your children to climb, dig and play...holds some of the whitest sand you'll see. A good interpretive museum tells how this sand was formed, and why it's located here in this spot. For details, here's the White Sands National Park website.
New Mexico Museum of Space History: Conveniently located in Alamogordo, NM near the White Sands NP, you'll find a modern space museum that's a "must visit" attraction for anyone interested in the US Space Program, past or present. See real artifacts and get all the details about the Gemini, Apollo, space shuttle programs, plus current plans for space exploration. You may plan your visit by getting details at the New Mexico Museum of Space History website.
The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum is a fun attraction in Las Cruces, another city in southern NM. Expect to find a very large, modern and attractive building and grounds. The building houses interpretive attractions on numerous Southwestern topics...not just ranching and farming. A children's area keeps toddlers and preschoolers happy. The grounds include a number of barns---including a "milking barn," where you can see the modern cow milking process in person! Here's the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum website for help in planning your visit.
Old Town Mesilla, the original central core of Las Cruces, is another fun place for families and history buffs. You'll enjoy a Spanish-style plaza around which modern arts and crafts enterprises thrive. But, you'll also see the very building where Billy the Kid went to trial! For further info, here's the Old Mesilla website.
Roswell International UFO Museum is not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but other people tell us that it was lots of fun for the entire family. We can't tell you because we haven't been inside, but at least we can verify that simply driving through the town of Roswell is interesting. A number of businesses have joined the fun & have added UFO signs or pictures to their establishments. For further info, here's the Roswell UFO Museum website.
The Western Playland Amusement Park is a delight for children in the El Paso (Texas) suburb of Sunland Park, New Mexico. To see what family and kiddie rides are available (and get the schedule of hours--which is kind of quirky) here's the Western Playland website
Things to Do with Kids in Albuquerque
New Mexico's largest city offers you some fun family activities
Here's a smattering of some of Albuquerque's most popular family activities. If you'd like to discover still MORE interesting attractions in this area, please see our I-40 Road Trip Planner page.
Cliff's Amusement Park is New Mexico's largest center for rides. You'll find thrill rides, family rides, kiddie rides and water attractions here. Open seasonally between April and September, it would be difficult for a family NOT to have fun at Cliff's. Here's the Cliff's Amusement Park website for further info. Or, to see our pictures & review of the park, please see the Cliff's Amusement Park page of our site.
Albuquerque's Rio Grande Zoo is an enchanting place to take children. It's attractions keep ever-increasing, and its commitment to good grounds keeping and maintenance have kept Albuquerque's zoo a "family favorite" for decades. Here's Albuquerque's Rio Grande Zoo website to help you plan your family outing.
Albuquerque Aquarium: Albuquerque's charming mid-sized aquarium has attractive exhibits, a lovely restaurant and a colorful, exciting gift shop. Family members from toddlers to adults will enjoy visiting this lovely, modern facility. To help plan your outing, here's the Albuquerque Aquarium website.
Albuquerque's Rio Grande Botanic Garden is the perfect attraction for plant lovers...but ALSO for families with kids! Their special "kid's garden" features towering carrots and other veggies (fake, of course...) plus a very real barnyard featuring favorite livestock such as cows, horses, goats and pigs. Combined admission with the Albuquerque Aquarium next door is available. Here's the Rio Grande Botanic Garden website where you can get hours, prices, directions and other details.
Albuquerque's annual Balloon Fiesta every October attracts hot air balloon enthusiasts from all over the world. Families are welcome to come & enjoy watching the colorful balloons ascend. (Be sure to reserve your hotel room early for this popular hot air balloon festival.) Here's the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta website.
Northern New Mexico Family Attractions
Santa Fe, New Mexico is a top travel destination for art lovers, and it attracts its share of history buffs, as well. Your kids will probably not be very interested in the area's fine art...or even all of its historical sites. However, especially your older kids may be interested in one of Santa Fe's superlatives: the "USA's oldest continuously occupied government building."
Santa Fe's Palace of the Governors was in use before the Pilgrims stepped onto Plymouth Rock! While the ruling body has changed...and the building has had a few changes and facelifts over the years, there's no denying that the Palace of the Governors exudes a sense of historical importance. You'll find details for planning your visit on Santa Fe's Palace of the Governors website.
Bandelier National Monument will show your family buildings of an ancient Native American culture that was old even when the Palace of the Governors was built! Well trained employees and an interpretive center will make sure that you won't leave without understanding what you're viewing...or, at least, as much as is known! Not everything is known about the ancient inhabitants here...shedding an aura of mystery to the surroundings! Here's the Bandelier National Monument website for further information.
The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in nearby Los Alamos was once a very mysterious place, as well---however, in more recent times. During World War II, as the United States strove to preserve our freedom, the secretive Manhattan Project developed nuclear weaponry here in this northern New Mexico town. This museum, suitable for older tweens and teens, tells the story and explains the science behind the discovery. For further information, here's the website of the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History.
The town of Taos is like a microcosm of the entire state. Yes, it's an artistic and craftsman's wonderland. But, it's the history buff's dream come true, too. By winter, a skier's paradise...but in the warmer months, a beehive of many outdoor sports, such as white water rafting, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, and more. You may discover the activities in Taos, New Mexico that your family might enjoy on the Taos Vacation Guide website.