Miguel Atencio, a reader of this column, wrote to me via email asking if I had any suggestions for day trips for him and his 11-year-old son. I thought that was a great question, as parents of school-age children begin to make plans for summer vacation. Below are six ideas for day trips with kids.
1. Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array: Roughly 40 miles west of Socorro, this facility is one of the world’s premier astronomical radio observatories, consisting of 27 radio telescopes. A self-guided walking tour features large, informative signs and takes you to the base of one of the giant dish antennas. An absolute must-see destination for everyone.
2. Hiking in the Jemez Mountains: The East Fork Trail on the Jemez River via the Las Conchas Trailhead on Route 4 is easy and interesting. There are also a pair of trails at Battleship Rock, including one on the right-hand side of the rock that leads to McCauley Hot Springs.
3. Uranium Mine Museum in Grants: They dug a facsimile of a mine in the ground, equipped it with a full array of mining equipment and then built a museum on top of it. A former miner was leading tours the last time I was there.
4. Take the Rail Runner to Belen: At the Belen station, go south on the pedestrian bridge to get to the Harvey House Museum and the Belen train yard. This is one of the busiest train hubs in the southwest, and the Harvey House has a shady portal from which to watch the action. Across the street is Pete’s Cafe, and the Doodlebug, an articulated one-car commuter train from the early 20th century, is about a block away.
5. Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument: About 50 miles north of Albuquerque, this place is full of natural beauty with a hiking trail that winds up and around unforgettable and stunning rock formations. Just remember that dogs are forbidden in the monument, not even in your car.
6. Sandia Man Cave and Tinkertown Museum: These are sure-fire kid favorites and close to Albuquerque — just on the other side of the Sandias. You can see them both in one day and then top it off with an ice cream cone on the drive home. You’ll be a hero!
Jon Knudsen is a freelance writer and retired educator. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.