Albuquerque with Kids: A Perfect Family Day

by Sharyl Stockstill, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Sep 27th 2010 01:14 PM

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Albuquerque with Kids: A Family Vacation

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A modern city with ancient roots, Albuquerque has perfect weather almost throughout the year, making it an ideal holiday destination with kids.



Morning



"Breakfast Jumpstart"

Start the day off right with breakfast at Denny's, a hit with kids in Albuquerque or any city. With a kid-pleasing menu, including pancake puppies, and great prices for the parents, Denny's is a family favorite. Start off with a hearty breakfast and enjoy fresh orange juice to get your day going right.

Denny's Restaurant, 2608 Central SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106; 505-266-5113

"Lions and Tigers and Bears in Albuquerque?"

The next stop on a perfect day in Albuquerque with kids is the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo. With two acres to explore and more than 250 species of animals, there is something for everyone.

The zoo is one of the best things to do in Albuquerque and has wonderful exhibits including snow leopards, elephants, polar bears, and white tigers. There are special shows and activities as well. Owls, hawks, cockatiels and other feathered friends fly freely during scheduled performances. The sea lions and seals frolic about in their watery pool while the primates enjoy playing under the Albuquerque skies. The zoo is open from 9AM to 5PM, with tickets ranging from $7 for adults to $3 for ages 3-12 and seniors. Younger children are free.

To reach the zoo, take Central Avenue west to 10th Street. Turn left on 10th to the zoo. The zoo is located about 10 blocks from Central Avenue. Parking will be on your right.

Albuquerque BioPark Zoo, 903 Tenth NW, Albuquerque, NM, 87102; 505-768-2000


Afternoon


"A Pizza Pit Stop"

Leave the zoo and head back toward Central. It's lunchtime. Take a right on Central and go a few blocks until you find JC's New York Pizza Department. Enjoy just a slice of pizza if you are in a hurry, or stay a while for a full-size, made-to-order pie.

JC's is located in downtown Albuquerque. The area is undergoing a major renovation that is bringing it back to life. The exciting transformation is a must-see for anyone in the area.

JC's New York Pizza Department, 215 Central Avenue NW, Ste B, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-766-6973

"Cruising for a Nap"

After a morning exploring the zoo and a tummy full of pizza, youngsters will be ready for a nap, even if they won't admit it. Mom and Dad can use the break as well, so take a short road trip to get to your next destination. Follow these directions for a fun-packed afternoon in Albuquerque with kids.

Take Central Avenue east to Interstate 25. Head north on I-25 toward Santa Fe. It is about a thirty-minute drive and will allow the kids time to settle in for a nap while allowing the grown-ups to enjoy some peace and quiet.

The trip on the Interstate takes about twenty minutes. Then, take Exit 276A and turn south to Highway 14. This marks the Northern end of the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway. Enjoy the ever-changing landscape as you cruise along.

The Turquoise Trail skirts the East side of the Sandia Mountains and is a sharp contrast to the bare and rugged faces of the west side of the mountains. The Trail remains historically quaint and has an Old West feel. Enjoy the ride and watch for wildlife as the kids nap and recharge.

"Tinker Around Tinkertown"

When you reach Sandia Park, follow the signs to the Tinkertown Museum. You will be amazed at the 22-room museum filled with hand carvings and animated miniatures.

The tiny "big top" comes to life and hand-carved frontier figures will have you laughing at their amusing poses and antics. You'll also find on display an antique wooden boat that has sailed around the world, just one of the wondrous things to delight children and adults. The museum is open from April 1 to November 1, 9AM to 6PM. Tickets for adults are $3, children 4-16 are only $1. Young children are free.

Tinkertown Museum, 121 Sandia Crest Road, Sandia Park, NM 87047; 505-281-5233


Evening



"As the Sun Slowly Sets in the West"

The direct route back to Albuquerque is just a short 20-minute drive from the Tinkertown Museum. With any luck, you will find yourself on the I-40 pass through Tijeras Canyon as the sun sets across Albuquerque to the west. This is a beautiful way to finish up your family travel in Albuquerque, with kids happily satisfied.
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