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Family Vacations In Albuquerque: A Huffington Post Travel Guide

Balloon Festival

The Huffington Post   Lydia Schrandt First Posted: 08/03/11 03:01 PM ET Updated: 10/03/11 06:12 AM ET

Family vacations in Albuquerque can be rewarding experiences or absolute disasters -- it all depends on pre-trip homework. To make planning easier, we've done all the preparation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on traveling with children, here are recommended attractions for those planning Albuquerque family vacations.


Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta


Each year in October, Albuquerque's western skies fill with thousands of colorful hot-air balloons during the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Get the family up before the sun and head to Balloon Fiesta Park and walk amongst the balloons as they inflate and take flight. In the evenings, head back to the park for the Special Shape Rodeo and Balloon Glows -- where all the balloon pilots light their balloon burners at the same time while stationed on land.

Address: 4401 Alameda Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87113
Phone: 505-821-1000
Hours: Open throughout early October
Price: Adults and children over 12, $8; children under 12, free


Sandia Peak Tramway


The Sandia Peak Tramway takes visitors on a thrilling 2.7-mile ride over Cibola National Forest to the top of Sandia Peak. After the 15-minute ride to the top, take in the 360-degree panoramic views of more than 11,000 square miles of New Mexico's mountains, Rio Grande Valley and the volcano fields to the west. Bike, hike or take a scenic chairlift in the summer, and ski or snowboard down the other side in the winter months.

Address: 10 Tramway Loop NE, Albuquerque, NM 87122
Phone: 505-856-7325
Hours: Open Memorial Day through Labor Day, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily; Open Labor Day through Memorial Day, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m every day except Tuesday, open Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Price: Adults, $20; seniors, active military and teens 13 to 20, $17; children 5 to 12, $12; children under 5, free


Cliff's Amusement Park


Located right in the middle of Albuquerque, Cliff's Amusement Park has plenty of ride options for kids of all thrill levels. With two roller coasters, a log ride, state fair-style arcade, a water area and plenty of other attractions, this family-owned park offers a fun-filled day for everyone.

Address: 4800 Osuna Road NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109
Phone: 505-881-9373
Hours: Open April through September. Hours vary, but the park usually opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 4, 6 or 7 p.m.
Price: Adults unlimited Ride Pass, $24.95; children under 2 unlimited Ride Pass, $15.95; Groups of 15 or more, $19.95


Indian Pueblo Cultural Center


New Mexico is home to 19 American Indian pueblos, and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center gives families a firsthand look at the food, culture and music of the state's native inhabitants. Take a walk through the museum to view the history and art of each of the pueblos before heading outside to the central courtyard for live dance demonstrations. Fill up on some local specialties at the Pueblo Harvest Cafe.

Address: 2401 12th St. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104
Phone: 866-855-7902
Hours: Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Price: Adults, $6; seniors, $5.50; students and children 5 to 17, $3; children under 5, free


Explora


Explora, a hands-on science center and children's museum, allows young children to explore the natural world through a variety of themed exhibits. The "Water of Life" exhibit teaches children about one of New Mexico's most valuable resources, while the "Shapes of Sound" exhibit explores both the science and the art of sound waves.

Address: 1701 Mountain Road NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104
Phone: 505-224-8300
Hours: Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Open from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday
Price: Adults, $8; children, $4; seniors, $5; children under 1 year, free


New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science


The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science takes children on a journey back in time from the birth of life through the age of dinosaurs. In addition to the extensive collection of dinosaur fossils, the museum offers a look at real paleontologists at work, an exhibit on the future of space travel and microcomputers, and a hands-on Naturalist Center.

Address: 1801 Mountain Road NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104
Phone: 505-841-2800
Hours: Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Price: Adults, $7; seniors, $6; children, $4


Albuquerque BioPark


The Albuquerque BioPark is a zoo, aquarium and botanical garden rolled into one. The sprawling 64-acre zoo is home to more than 200 species of wildlife and includes double-decker sea lion and polar bear exhibits, a koala bear enclosure and the Night Watch, where visitors come face to face with animals of the night. The nearby aquarium houses a 285,000-gallon shark tank and a fresh-water exhibit highlighting some of New Mexico's native species.

Address: 903 10th St. SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102
Phone: 505-764-6200
Hours: Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Price: Adults, $12; children and seniors, $5


What are your favorite vacation spots in Albuquerque?

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