Santa Fe with Kids: A Perfect Family Day

by Kim Goodin, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Oct 18th 2010 04:41 PM


Santa Fe with Kids: A Family Vacation


Santa Fe is usually thought of as place for romantic getaways, or for gallery-hopping weekends. But Santa Fe with kids can be equally as enjoyable. Plan a full day of fun and your children will be begging to stay longer. For the best family vacation in Santa Fe, your day should include kid-centric activities, as well as at least a little glimpse of the art that has made the city such a renowned destination among culture aficionados. Here's a one-day itinerary that covers all the bases.


Ideal Santa Fe family vacations begin with a big breakfast. Start yours off on the right foot at The Pantry Restaurant, a longtime local favorite. Casual and homey, The Pantry has been in business since 1948, and has only improved since then. Pancakes, breakfast burritos, hash and eggs – it's all good, so order whatever you're craving.

Pantry Restaurant
1820 Cerillos Rd.
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Mon-Sat 6:30AM-9PM, Sun 7AM-9PM

With bellies full and the grownups alert, it's time to have some real fun. The Santa Fe Children's Museum is among the best in the country and one of the most fun things to do in Santa Fe on family vacations. Interactive exhibits galore, hands-on arts and crafts, science demonstrations, even an outdoor garden and park, all combine into one happy place. If you're in Santa Fe with kids, don't miss it.

Santa Fe Children's Museum
1050 Old Pecos Trail
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Wed 10AM-5PM, Thu Noon-8PM, Fri 9AM-5PM, Sat 10AM-5PM, Sun Noon-5PM
Non-residents $9, Residents $5


Families have been known to spend the entire day at the Children's Museum. But after two or three hours, it's time to move on. Enjoy lunch at Café Café, a popular downtown spot. Pizza for the kids, something slightly more sophisticated for the parents, such as an Italian Cobb salad, or a muffaletta sandwich. If time is not at a premium, swing by Houshang's Gallery, where the kids will be enthralled with the interesting sculptures, and grownups can sneak a peek at the works of contemporary artists like Karen Moore, Zingaro, Nemo (Victor Colesnicenco) and Emanuel Mattini.

Café Café
500 Sandoval Street
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
Mon-Thu 11AM-9PM, Fri-Sat 11AM-10PM

Houshang's Gallery
50 East San Francisco
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Summer Daily 10AM-6PM, Winter Daily 10AM-5PM

Next on your agenda of things to do in Santa Fe is the Museum of International Folk Art. The colors and creativity here are bound to delight children. Among the museum's collection are items from around the globe: African masks, Native American textiles, Mexican embroidery and Japanese puppets are just a small sampling of the wonders here. Toys, dolls, clothing, paintings, drawings and pottery fill exhibit cases in 80,000 square feet of space. If you need a little down time, there's a room just for kids, filled with toys and books.

Museum of International Folk Art
706 Camino Lejo
Santa Fe, NM
Tue-Sun 10AM-5PM
Residents $6, Non-residents $9, Children Free


After all that art, kids may be ready for playtime. Kidz Zone calls itself a "family entertainment and educational center," a fairly apt description. A huge indoor playground, Wii and Playstation games on six-foot screens, a water table, arts and crafts and a special area just for toddlers make Kidz Zone a great addition to your family travel plans in Santa Fe. You can eat dinner here – pizza, sandwiches, salads – but you're in Santa Fe. You should try some local food, not something you can get back home.

There are plenty of upscale places serving fantastic authentic New Mexican cuisine, although most of them aren't particularly kid-friendly. Tortilla Flats isn't the finest restaurant in town, but the food is affordable and tasty, the kids will love choosing something from their own menu, and families make up a significant portion of the clientele. Try the Carne Adovada or the Blue Corn Chicken Flautas.

Kidz Zone Santa Fe
3005-2B St. Francis Dr.
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Fri Noon-8PM, Sat 10AM-8PM, Sun 11AM-5PM
Child (2-16) $9.50, Adults Free

Tortilla Flats
3139 Cerrillos Rd.
Santa Fe, NM 87507
Daily 7AM-9PM

At this point in the evening, the whole family is probably about ready for bed. If you still have a little energy, there are a couple of movie theaters along Cerillos Road, or you could spend an hour at Franklin Miles Park (1027 Camino Carlos Rey at Siringo Rd), especially popular with families for its playground equipment, ball parks and skate park, before heading back to your hotel.

Kids and Santa Fe do mix! With some planning on your part, family vacations in Santa Fe with kids can be thoroughly rewarding.

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