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Family Vacations In El Paso: A Huffington Post Travel Guide

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Explore the caves of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. | NPS Photo by Peter Jones

Family vacations in El Paso 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 El Paso family vacations.

Insights Museum

Located in the heart of downtown El Paso near City Hall, Insights Museum features an array of interactive learning exhibits. These include displays about electricity, optical illusions and magnetism.

Address: 505 N. Santa Fe St., El Paso, TX 79901
Phone: 915-534-000
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Price: Adults, $8; seniors, students and military, $6; children 4 to 11, $4; children 3 and younger, free

Hueco Tanks State Historic Area

Located 32 miles northeast of El Paso, the Hueco Tanks State Historic Area is an 860-acre park famous for its unique rock faces (called tanks). Activites there include rock climbing, hiking and touring the park's historic ranch house.

Address: 6900 Hueco Tanks Road No. 1, El Paso, TX 79938
Phone: 915-857-1135
Hours: Oct. 1 through April 30, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; May 1 through Sept. 30, Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday through Sunday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Price: $5; children 13 and under, free

El Paso Art Museum

The El Paso Art Museum is the region's most noteworthy museum. Founded in 1950, the museum's diverse collection includes an extensive gallery of contemporary Southwestern American paintings as well as Mexican colonial art and 17th century European (mostly Italian) paintings.

Address: 1 Arts Festival Plaza, El Paso, TX 79901
Phone: 915-532-1707
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
Price: Free

Hyundai Sun Bowl

Held each year in late December, the Hyundai Sun Bowl is the second-oldest college football bowl game in the country, a designation it shares with the Orange Bowl and the Sugar Bowl. The game in El Paso features two high-ranking college teams from the Pacific 12 Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference. The festivities aren't limited to the actual game. The week preceding the match features a parade, a fan fest and lots of other activites.

Address: 4150 Pinnacle St., El Paso, TX 79902
Phone: 800-915-BOWL
Hours: The game is held each year in late December
Price: Ticket prices vary

El Paso Zoo

Small, yet interesting, the 35-acre El Paso Zoo is home to a collection of animals representing more than 200 species. Highlights include the Animals of America exhibit and the Animals of Africa exhibit, with its lions, meerkats and giraffes.

Address: 4001 E. Paisano Dr., El Paso, TX 79905
Phone: 915-544-1928
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Price: Adults, $10; seniors (60+), military and spouses, $7.50; children 3 to 12, $6; children 2 and under, free

Western Playland Theme Park

This 30-acre amusement park is located in Sunland Park, N.M., just across the state line from El Paso. Western Playland features a variety of thrill rides and tamer rides, including the classic El Bandito Roller Coaster and the Tsumani water, thrill ride. The park also offers a variety of rides for children.

Address: 1249 Futurity Dr., Sunland Park, NM 88063
Phone: 575-589-3410
Hours: Open February through October. Hours vary weekly. Check the website for current information.
Price: Rider, $16.70; non-rider, $5; seniors (60 and older) and children 4 and under, free for a non-rider ticket


Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Located about 150 miles northeast of El Paso but worth the trip, Carlsbad Caverns National Park features spectacular caverns where visitors can hike and explore the many underground "rooms." In addition to the caverns, the park offers three hiking trails, an outdoor amphitheater and a wildlife habitat that is home to the world's largest colony of cave swallows.

Address: 3225 National Parks Highway, Carlsbad, NM 88220
Phone: 575-785-2232
Hours: Open every day except for Christmas. Hours vary by entrance and season. Check the Carlsbad Caverns website for current information.
Price: Adults, $6; children 14 and younger, free

Note: Despite its proximity to the tumultuous city of Juarez, El Paso is deemed safe for families.

Have you been to El Paso? What's your favorite attraction?