New Mexico—Albuquerque

The first thing I learned about Albuquerque was how to spell it! The abbreviation ABQ is awfully convenient, too.

The next thing I learned was that we couldn’t find a campground we loved. So we ended up on an Indian Reservation, at the Isleta Lakes & RV Campground. We were close to the lake, where a fishing derby was being held. The campground was quiet and very basic, but worked out just fine. They were having a stay 2 nights/get 1 night free deal so we happy about that!



We were thrilled to have our sweet friends (minus one son whom we all missed Sad smile) take time out of their family weekend and visit us for a cookout!! We have always thought so highly of their family from the time we were in a small group with them in Texas and were thankful for the time to catch up, even though it was too short!


We did work on establishing more of a school routine while we were in Albuquerque, but also found time to explore and have some fun!

Right across the road from the campground was a bowling alley, so we took one frigid afternoon off to go bowl! Afterward, we had a tour of the back room and saw the machines that set the pins back up and send the ball back—always love an interesting machine!


Albuquerque’s Zoo, Botanical Gardens and Aquarium are in the same part of town and combo admission tickets are available, so we went to all three!


We loved them all and HIGHLY recommend them if you are visiting the area. When we arrived, the weather was a bit overcast and we thought it looked like rain, so we started with the Aquarium.


Spunky Monkey took these pictures. He took them all through glass (obviously…) and I didn’t think any of them would turn out, but apparently he is surpassing my knowledge in the camera department already. By the time we were finished in the Aquarium, the sky was looking a bit better and there was no rain in sight (Thank you, Lord!) so we walked around the Botanical Gardens a bit:



Very fun model train village—outside!


The Zoo was next. We all agreed this zoo has a large variety of animals we hadn’t seen at many (or any!) other zoos, and we found the display information very helpful and educational.


I’ve loved toucans since the days of Saturday morning cartoon commercials for Froot Loops.


Giant snapping turtle.


I included this picture because it reminds me of how much we all laughed when this cheetah, whom I was CONVINCED only had 3 legs, got up on all 4 and walked around. Still makes me laugh. It might be one of those “you had to be there” moments….


A tree kangaroo—had never heard of such a creature….




This guy just looks huggable, despite his quills, doesn’t he? We forget what he is—if you know, leave a comment!


These two brothers were great fun. We got to watch them being fed, and the keeper had fun throwing the fish in places where the bears would do great big belly flops or slide down the rocks into the water below to find their lunch. We talked with the keeper for a while afterward and I the most interesting thing I learned is that because polar bears have hollow hair shafts, algae tends to grow inside the shafts, sometimes turning the fur green. The polar bears love the scent the algae gives off when it’s squished, so that’s why you’ll see them rolling around on their backs—they’re enjoying the scent of the squished algae!


We got to see a 6-week old elephant baby! It doesn’t get any cuter…but wait! It might…..


He just might be the highlight of the day for us—what a cutie. But not much to see. He kind of does this about 20 hours a day. I think he did have a funny thought, though:

(I suppose it could be a yawn…but I like to think of it as a chuckle).


The four of us spent a day at Explora, which turned out to be one of our very favorite places on the trip so far!


Chad, Sweet Pea and I rode the bike on a tightrope—look, ma! no hands! (Spunky Monkey wasn’t quite heavy enough yet, so couldn’t try it.) I don’t have many pictures because we were so busy there—doing hands-on testing of real scientific concepts. Lots of physics displays, light, fluids, electricity, building, etc. This place could be a homeschooler’s entire science curriculum for the year if you lived nearby!


I took this picture for my mom—we both love pansies. It reminded me of Texas in the winter:


We took a break in our day at Explora to run over to Petroglyph National Monument.


Not a very big park, and it was rainy and cold, but we did get to learn about and see some petroglyphs and earn another Jr. Ranger badge!


Saw our first roadrunner!

Then it was off to Alamogordo, in the southeastern corner of the state!

Before we left town, though, Spunky Monkey lost his first tooth! The day he turned 8 1/2!




See you at White Sands!