We have wanted to take our kids and spend time creating memories in New Mexico for a long time. At one point in our lives, we went to college at The University of New Mexico and lived in Albuquerque when we were newly married. Someday, we still want to take them to the famous Balloon Fiesta, but this trip to the VLA, Smokey Bear Museum, and Carlsbad Caverns, was a good start, exploring New Mexico.
Our first stop…The VLA.
The Very Large Array (VLA) is run by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and is the most adaptable, hardest-working telescope in the world. The VLA observes the Universe, night and day. The 27 dish shaped antennas are tuned to a kind of light that our eyes cannot see that is in the form of radio waves. Radio waves give us a peek through the dust that hides newly-forming stars and planets from our eyes and optical telescopes. This was a great afternoon for science, math, and astronomy with our kids!
Then, we paid tribute to our family Forest Service and Park Service Roots by visiting the Smokey Bear Museum. It was a short but sweet visit and we love the message of community and caring about our environment by working together that Smokey brought to our country.
We stayed at the Carlsbad KOA that is voted the best RV Park in New Mexico and we have to agree, since it had on site BBQ dinner delivery and a space with a swing to watch the sunsets. A cozy campfire hit the spot and this is a great place to winter with good cell signal if anyone has that need, check it out here: Carlsbad KOA
After catching up on rest, we were ready for our long anticipated hike in Carlsbad Caverns. Are you ready to see something amazing?
6 years ago we wanted to hike into Carlsbad Caverns with our kids, but our daughter was so small she was tired when we just walked to the entrance. This year though, she did amazing! We were able to hike down through the natural entrance all the way to big room and then rode the new elevators out.
If you want an incredible hike to see one of the most beautifully naturally decorated caverns, the trip to Carlsbad Caverns is worth it. I have been to several large caves and the quiet natural beauty, lit trails and features, and ease of walking on the paved trails made this one extra nice. Carlsbad Caverns is over 1,000 feet deep and currently contains over 30 miles of mapped passages. We hiked to the Big Room which is the largest under-ground chamber in the United States.
One of the coolest features of the cave is the temperature. You can actually feel and hear the cave breathe inside as it pumps out the warm air and brings in fresh air. It does this naturally. As you observe the unique naturally formed features, listen to the water drip, and take in the enormous space, it is truly a rare experience.
You can even have lunch in the bottom at a simple restaurant that offers salads, sandwiches, fruit, coffee, juice, and water. And, I feel like I could make a blog featuring all of the cool restrooms we have visited, but a full service bathroom in the bottom of a giant underground cave is a first for us! LOL! What is the most unique restroom you have ever been to?
We are headed to Texas for the winter so we look forward to sharing with you more!
If you haven’t caught up on the other states we have traveled to on our fifty state tour, check them out and let us know what else you are interested in seeing.
We love to help people learn about fun and safe places to stay, eat, explore and learn and we share how the world is our classroom as we work and travel with our kids.
We hope you wrap up this year with great memories with your loved ones and leave everywhere you go, better than you found it.
The Gunzel Family