Albuquerque has many historic and interesting places to explore. You aren't likely to run out of entertaining things to see and do here! The Petroglyph National Monument Sandia Lakes Recreational Area and Turquoise Trail, Rio Grande Zoo, American International Rattlesnake Museum, the New Mexico Museum of National History and Science and Historic Old Town offer many excellent activities in Albuquerque for visitors and residents alike.
Historic Old Town is important to Albuquerque's heritage, as the first Spanish families began living here in 1706. The village is traditionally Spanish with a plaza in the town's center and churches, houses and other buildings around it. Some of the original homes have been turned into retail stores and you can find beautiful handmade crafts such as turquoise jewelry. There is a western general store and popular restaurants. Historic Old Town is a fun place to spend an afternoon and there is a lot to do here.
The New Mexico Museum of National History and Science is located in Albuquerque's Historic Old Town and is easily recognizable by the large Pentaceratops dinosaur sculptures at the Museum's outside entrance. The Pentaceratops dinosaur is native only to New Mexico. The Museum's prehistoric focus includes an Ice Age Cave exhibit and walk-through volcano display as well as a planetarium that houses the LodeStar Astronomy Center.
The American International Rattlesnake Museum is inside a gift boutique in Albuquerque's Historic Old Town. The Museum has the biggest collection of rattlesnakes in the world and features over 100 live rattlesnakes safely behind glass. You can buy rattlesnake-themed gifts in the shop.
The Rio Grande Zoo is close to Albuquerque's Historic Old Town and the Rio Grande River. The Zoo has more than 1200 animals of about 300 species including seals, giraffes, elephants, gorillas and jaguars. The habitats are natural and feature both native and global species. The Rio Grande Zoo also has a children's petting zoo.
Sandia Lakes Recreational Area is known for hiking, bird watching and fishing as well as picnicking. It's located right beside the Rio Grande River with its old cottonwood trees. The Turquoise Trail leads to the top of the Sandia Mountains and has breathtaking views of Central New Mexico. The Turquoise Trail Scenic Byway is a back road that runs between Albuquerque and Santa Fe and the area is known for its deposits of turquoise. It traces the route made by Spanish Conquistadores and Native Americans and at the scenery includes villages and rock formations.
The Petroglyph National Monument was created in 1990 as a partnership between the City of Albuquerque Open Space Division and at the National Park Service to preserve the almost 20,000 petroglyphs in the area. The petroglyphs, which are ancient carvings in the rocks, include interesting designs such as animals, people and abstract symbols. The Monument area is usually open year round and has trails leading to the petroglyphs as well as five extinct volcanoes.