The largest city in the Land of Enchantment, Albuquerque, New Mexico is a lively city filled with unique arts, culture, and unforgettable fun.
Take a stroll through Old Town and visit the area’s incredible museums before hopping on the Interstate and driving to the north valley to the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum.
From great food, a lively downtown scene, and a booming center of arts, science, and culture, make your visit to the Duke City unforgettable with a visit to one or more of the best family destinations in Albuquerque.
Our top picks are as follows:
- The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History
- ABQ BioPark Zoo and Botanic Gardens
- Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum
- American International Rattlesnake Museum
- Petroglyphs National Monument
- Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
- New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
- Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum
The rest of this article will tell you everything you need to know about each of these amazing attractions.
The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History
It’s no secret that New Mexico was – and still is – at the forefront of nuclear science and research. From the famed Trinity Site where scientists tested the first atomic bomb to the current research being conducted at both Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque has a rich history of nuclear science.
View genuine artifacts, such as rockets, planes, and memorabilia from various periods in New Mexico’s scientific history. Learn about the greatest minds behind the Manhattan Project such as J. Robert Oppenheimer.
Kids will enjoy the interactive exhibits that teach about light, energy, and green architecture. Don’t forget to go outside and take pictures with genuine planes used during WWII. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of restoration efforts on some of the older models!
ABQ BioPark Zoo and Botanic Gardens
The ABQ BioPark includes the zoo, botanic gardens, and aquarium. If you are visiting during the spring, take a leisurely stroll through the botanic gardens in bloom. Colorful koi fish dart in and out of the water in the Japanese garden while roses of all colors perfume the air in the Spanish courtyard.
At the zoo, view incredible exhibits such as the Reptile House, Amphibian Exhibit, and the highly-anticipated Penguin Chill. Catch a glimpse of zookeepers feeding elephants and giraffes while they answer questions about these majestic animals from the crowd.
Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum
Located in the heart of Old Town, Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum is a place like no other. Adults and children of all ages will enjoy over 250 exhibits dedicated to science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
Learn all about sound waves, light and color, and speed before heading outside to play and splash and experiment with water. And don’t forget to check out the bubble room – a large area dedicated to letting kids and adults alike experiment with bubbles in every capacity.
Admission is $10.00 for children and adults aged 12 – 64, $6.00 for children 1 – 11, and free for children under 1. Special discounts are available for seniors, students, and military personnel with valid ID.
American International Rattlesnake Museum
For the brave, the American International Rattlesnake Museum is unlike any museum you’ve ever seen. Alongside live specimens of rattlesnakes throughout both North and South America, you can also catch a glimpse of pythons and boa constrictors from all over the world.
If viewing the venomous reptiles in their natural environment makes you squeamish, never fear – peruse the aisles of snake and reptile memorabilia used in various cultures, from those belonging to the indigenous peoples to Asia, Africa, and South America. Watch the turtles tackle a head of lettuce and a real live Gila monster basking beneath its heat lamp.
Don’t forget to pick up your personalized Certificate of Bravery at the end of your visit!
Petroglyphs National Monument
Located on the westside of Albuquerque near volcanic rubble lies the Petroglyphs National Monument. Pack a picnic lunch before embarking on a beautiful hike over the desert scenery to view some of human history’s oldest carvings on large volcanic boulders.
There are several trails to choose from, each of which offer a glimpse of petroglyphs. You can take a short loop along the rocks if you have little ones in tow, or the longer Rinconada Trailhead if you’re feeling adventurous. Make sure to stop by the visitor’s center and gift shop where you’ll learn more about the petroglyphs and the prehistoric people who inhabited New Mexico thousands of years before.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
In a state with a high population of indigenous tribes, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center offers a rich and informative glimpse into the cultures that have not only shaped New Mexico, but Albuquerque, as well. Founded in 1976 and owned and operated by the 19 pueblos in New Mexico.
IPCC is the only place in North America that hosts traditional Native American dances every weekend year-round. Make sure to head to the gift shop and purchase handmade Native American art before you leave.
New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
Located directly across the street from Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science is marked by the two life-sized bronze dinosaur statues at its doors.
With seasonal exhibits as well as permanent installations, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science is fun for the whole family. Watch real-life paleontologists carefully prepare genuine fossils and learn all about the flora and fauna – both prehistoric and present-day – that inhabit the Land of Enchantment.
Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum
While Albuquerque hosts the International Balloon Fiesta every October, the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum gives visitors a chance to see balloons and learn about their history year-round.
Learn all about the colorful history of hot air balloons as well as their historical and cultural impacts on the world today. With permanent installations as well as seasonal exhibits, your visit to the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum will be one you won’t forget.