Hey, ABQ mamas!
I was wondering what you thought about the zoo/bio park memberships? $79 seems like a good deal, assuming we went more than a couple times. I just got a flyer in the mail, and started to fill out the online form but thought I'd ask here first. We had one in Denver and liked it (though we didn't go near as often as I assumed we would). Does it give any discount to the River of Lights? Probably not.
tiffani - I recall trying to research neighborhoods before we moved out here (I liked the forums at city-data.com), but for us, it was helpful to come visit and drive around, go to parks, cruise around at night - and just try to get a feel for the different areas. DH's cousin (who lives in Old Town) was helpful, too, since he already lived here. We actually ended up in Rio Rancho, even though DH works in NE ABQ., b/c it was where we could afford a big home w/half an acre (which was a big deal for us since we came from an apartment in Denver), in the neighborhood of the school I was liking the most (of course, they changed the boundaries after we moved, but it worked out for the best).
I can say I feel super safe here (much to my annoyance, DH left the garage wide open all night last night), but really, there is crime everywhere -- I know there are certain areas that are worse than others (you can see crime reports mapped online), and some streets people will say to avoid living on -- but that's almost the kind of thing you might have to live here for a while to figure out. Renting for a year is a great idea, so you can decide where to settle down in a community that fits. And of course, it's all relative to what you are used to.