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What's fun for an unschooling fam in the SouthWest US this November?

777 Views 9 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  yitlan
Hi! I'm starting to plan a 2 or 3 week trip to the South West ( I know I want to hit Toas, NM and the rest is wide open)! My dd will be 4.5. Does anyone have any must see spots? Great campgrounds to stay a while in? Awesome natural hotspring info? Fun, educational-ish attractions, especially those supportive of the local indigenous peoples?

I'd love any tips because none of us have ever seen this region.

Thanks in advance for any tidbits!!!
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My Mom drove through Albuquerque, NM just last week and told us about an awesome dinosaur/natural science museum that she thought DS (almost 4.5 yo) would love.

I just googled it, and I think it's this one:
That's a great museum, and there is an explora museum right next door! It's all near the Old Town area of Albuquerque, which is an intersting place to visit as well. There's also the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in the area.

There are hot springs in the Jemez mts. but it's been a long time since I've been there. (There's also a town called Ojo Caliente with hot springs, something to google with)

I've heard that Carlsbad caverns are amazing..but
: even though I lived an hour away in the Roswell area, I've never been. Speaking of Roswell, though, if you want to do something different, the UFO museum in Roswell is kind of fun. Normally, there is also a big UFO festival in Roswell around the 4th of July which is a hoot!
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Ojo Caliente is great
it's a developed spring though and a resort. there are a ton of other natural springs all over. Jemez is nice but it is a trek (at least to the one I went to) there's also a nice one north of Taos and a bunch in the Gila wilderness (sw part of NM) the one we went to there was where Geronimo was supposedly born. there's some more devloped ones too, I'm thinking Marshalls' gulch but not sure if that's the right was kinda neat though. they are all over the place actually (DH went on our honeymoon to about 6-7 springs in NM and had a blast!) there's a book you can buy just for NM hotsprings too.(we bought ours at B&N)

Bandelier National PArk is AWESOME too..oh and the missions are beautiful to see as well.

eta- this link for hotsprings info.
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Thanks a bunch, ladies! I'm thinking ot might be fun to focus on hotsprings as our mission--but then everying else sounds exciting as well--going to try to plan really well and pack the trip with cool stuff.

Anybody else have ideas?
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The Grand Canyon and Sedona are always fun and beautiful! There is also Montezuma's Castle on the way, Painted Desert, and the Petrified Forest. I have lived in Arizona all my life let me know if you have any questions. We also had a great time at the Children's Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Have fun!
The museums are great and in Old Town Albuquerque, there's also a Rattle Snake museum he might like. You can also learn about Native American cultures and see the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center:
They usually have dances on the weekend.
You can also visit the pueblos, though some are more open to visits than others. A good one is Acoma Pueblo, which is west of Albuquerque. Taos is usually open, but if anything happens (the death of a tribal member, a feast day, etc), it will be closed to the public.

Santa Fe has a great children's museum, too. Albuquerque has a nice zoo for a city this size. There's a nice nature center in Albuquerque called the Rio Grande Nature Center. Very easy to get to and you can learn a lot about local flora, fauna, the river, etc. Nice, EASY walks for all ages. Also for nature-type stuff you can take the Tram all the way up the mountain.

OK. I could probably go on for awhile, so please feel free to pm me for details or clarification!
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The Phoenix Zoo and Phoenix Botanical Gardens are pretty awesome. Keep in mind that in November you could run into bad weather, especially in the mountains, but the desert is still nice during the day. I second the Painted Desert and Carlsbad suggestions--Carlsbad Caverns are awesome, and the temperature down there is the same year-round no matter what the weather outside is doing. Went there with some friends when our planned trip to the Grand Canyon was snowed out. :LOL
I've seen the Hot Springs book for the entire Southwest, not just NM. Not sure what it's called. I'm sure you could find it on Amazon or something. It is a GREAT book. It has free and privately owned hot springs, as well as great directions, guidelines on clothing, etc.

Durango, CO is always beautiful (okay, I'm biased!
). But there's not many *events* here. Just driving the loop from Durango to Ouray to Silverton to Telluride to Cortez is really beautiful and a full-day's adventure. In Cortez is Mesa Verde (ancient cliff dwellings - very cool).

Also, if you go to Albuquerque, be sure to stay in their Hostel. It is GREAT!!! VERY family friendly as far as hostels go. Go to for personal reviews on hostels all over the country. The zoo in Albuquerque is stellar, and the Petroglyphs Nat. Monument is also in Alb. and makes a nice half-day activity. In Taos, I love seeing the Earthship community. There is a model house that you can tour.

Moab, UT is very beautiful too (Arches N.P.) with a hostel and lots of camping (though camping in November would be COLD!)
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Santa Fe also has a great hostel you should look into. Also, you can do the Cumbres and Toltec train ride, as well as the one from Santa Fe:
There's also a really nice one from Durango. None are cheap, but if you child is into trains....
There are also several alpaca farms in the area: http://www.newmexicoalpacabreeders.o...a-breeders.htm

Finally, Cerillos, between Abq and Santa Fe via the old route, has a petting zoo and is a neat community.
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