The Best Place for Kids
By Richard Mahler
Author of "New Mexico's
The hands-on Santa Fe Children's
Museum "offers kids a chance to learn by doing," says local
writer (and parent) Catherine Coggan, author of Family Adventures
in New Mexico. "There's a climbing wall, bubble-making machine,
a contraption containing 180,000 metal pins, magnet exhibits,
as well as snakes and other live animals that children can touch
Other highlights include a kind of
human gyroscope, modeled on a device used by the astronauts to
simulate weightlessness, and a pair of outdoor parabolic reflectors
that throw voices over long distances. Special science and art
classes are offered periodically, as well as puppet shows and
Coggan names Jackalope a runner-up
in this category. The "folk art by the truckload" emporium has
a prairie dog village, petting zoo, ice cream stand, and periodic
fun events that include a Mexican jumping bean race and pumpkin-carving
festival. There's an extensive greenhouse, and the main store
is full of amazing toys and knickknacks-from African masks to
Yugoslavian zithers. Ethnic craftspersons are often on hand to
show how they create their work, and there's live music on the
If You Go: Suited to
visitors 12 and under, the Santa Fe Children's Museum (505-989-8359)
is at 1050 Old Pecos Trail and is open from 10 a.m.
until 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m.
on Sunday. There is a fee, but admission is free for everyone
the first Sunday of the month. Jackalope (505-471-8539)
is at 2820 Cerrillos Road, open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Insider Tip: Adults
may want to make a side trip within the Children's Museum building
to visit the Bataan Memorial Museum (505-474-1670), which
displays some of the 30,000 items commemorating the large number
of New Mexican soldiers involved in World War II's infamous Bataan
Death March. Open 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily except Sunday.
Admission is free.
Richard Mahler is author of "New
Mexico's Best" and several other books. A journalist and photographer
as well, he specializes in travel writing, among other subjects.
He has contributed to National Public Radio since 1973 and to
the Los Angeles Times since 1979. He has written thousands
of articles for more than 100 magazines and newspapers, including
The New Mexican, New Mexico magazine, and Santa Fean
magazine. A longtime resident of New Mexico, he lives in Santa
For a full listing of Richard Mahler's
books, and to place orders for them, visit Amazon.com.
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