X is for Explora! @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

One of the most fun museums I've ever been to has to be Explora! (yes, it has exclamation points in its name), located on the west side of Albuquerque.It's an interactive museum--all of the exhibits are things you can touch and play with.Most of the topics are science and technology, and the different exhibits are fun to play with.Want to learn about aerodynamics first-hand? Try and float various items on a stream of air!Sound waves? Light? Gravity? Learn about all of these while interacting with objects and instruments.Even better, Explora! has special events like Adult Night. If you've ever been to a science museum and watched kids play with the children's exhibits, trying hard not to move them out of the way and play with the exhibits yourself, you're in luck--this is exactly what it's for. We had a blast making giant bubbles and playing with blocks without worrying we were going to get kicked out.If you want to have...
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W is for Watermelon @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

Sandia, in Spanish, translates to "watermelon". So, the pretty Sandia Mountains are really the Watermelon Mountains.Why the odd name? Because, at sunset, the Sandias turn a lovely pink shade in the fading light. Sorry I don't have a picture of it (it only lasts a minute or two, and I'm often not near my phone), but here's a great shot of the mountains.Gorgeous day in #albuquerque #newmexico #ABQA photo posted by Sarah Allan (@sarahallanauthor) on Apr 2, 2016 at 4:14pm PDT xoxo Sarah...
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Bonus V: Valency Genis Art @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge @Valency

So I decided to do this extra post because my friend, Valency, is a talented artist and because she lives in New Mexico, it's perfect for my A-Z Challenge theme!Valency got her BFA degree at the University of New Mexico, and has been creating what she calls vegan taxidermy ever since. Her extraordinary pieces resemble, well, decapitated Dr. Seuss creatures, and each one is lovingly crafted to find their forever home. Some of her creations have gone to people from Pixar, and even Vincent Price's daughter took one home!She recently had a very successful show in Chicago, and I know she's creating new creatures for some upcoming events. If you like her work, she ships all over the world.Before I link to some pics of her amazing work, Valency can be found on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/ValencyArt/And on Instagram and Twitter as @ValencySomething's fishy around here... I put the link in my Instagram profile to sign up for @Rotofugi's online preview for my...
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U is for University (UNM) @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

The main campus for the University of New Mexico, a large public university, is located right in Albuquerque. If you can't make it to the main campus, there are four satellite campuses around New Mexico.It was founded in 1889, and is very close to Nob Hill and central Albuquerque. It offers more than 200 undergraduate degree programs, and offers a variety of associate and certificate programs as well as graduate and professional programs.UNM is well-known for its research programs, and has a hospital associated with campus as well.The UNM mascot is the Lobo (wolf), and their athletic teams play NCAA Division I in the Mountain West Conference.We haven't seen any games yet, but it's definitely on our list! Hubs and I love college sports.xoxo Sarah...
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T is for Tram @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

One way to get to the top of the lovely Sandia Mountains is to take the tram. The Sandia Peak Tramway begins in the foothills at the base of the Sandias and runs over two and a half miles to the top. It's one of the most popular things to do in Albuquerque.It's supported by two towers between the first and last station, and took two years to construct. It was built by a Swiss company in the 1960s, and made its first trip up in 1966. The journey takes about fifteen minutes each way, and each tram car has a guide on it who will talk you through what you're seeing--the landscape, the different rocks, the trees.Picture from the Summer Tram Photo GalleryThere's even a restaurant at the very top, so you can stop and have something to eat and enjoy the gorgeous views.From the top, you can get to the Sandia Peak ski area as well as hike various trails....
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S is for Sandia and Skiing! @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

The beautiful Sandia Mountains border Albuquerque on the eastern side. While Albuquerque itself is at about 5,500 feet in elevation, Sandia Crest is its highest point at 10,678 feet, and the mountains provide a lot to do.Hiking is a popular activity, and from the Crest, you have breathtaking views of Albuquerque and beyond. There are over twenty trails, and they range from easy to very difficult, so there's plenty to satisfy every hiker.Sandia Peak is also known for its skiing. The ski area is on the eastern side of the mountain, and is a short drive for those with the urge to enjoy some winter sports.Gorgeous New Mexico! #albuquerque #abq #sandiaA photo posted by Sarah Allan (@sarahallanauthor) on Oct 13, 2015 at 2:42pm PDT xoxo Sarah...
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R is for Rio Grande @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

The Rio Grande ("Grand River" or "Big River" in Spanish, in case you've never really thought about it) runs from Colorado into New Mexico and then forms the border between Mexico and Texas as it empties out into the Gulf of Mexico.The Rio Grande runs through Albuquerque, and you can enjoy it in non-motorized craft. There's a lot of wildlife to see near the river, and the plant-life is green in the desert landscape.There's even a Rio Grande Nature Park Center in northwest Albuquerque, which is worth a look!See you next time for S! I hope you're enjoying the blogfest.xoxo Sarah...
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P is for Petroglyph National Monument @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

Picture from WikipediaPetroglyph National Monument falls under the National Park Service, and stretches along Albuquerque, New Mexico's west mesa. As the NPS website says, "Petroglyph National Monument protects on of the largest petroglyph sites in North America, featuring designs and symbols carved into volcanic rocks by Native Americans and Spanish settlers 400 to 700 years ago. These images are a valuable record of cultural expression and hold profound spiritual significance for contemporary Native Americans and for the descendants of the early Spanish settlers."There's a visitor's center, but there aren't any petroglyph viewing areas there, so you'll have to go to the trails, which you can hike.There are three trails where you can see petroglyphs and one without any. It's very neat to be able to be up close and personal with such vivid history.xoxo Sarah...
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O is for October: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

Considered to be the most photographed event in the world, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the largest ballooning event in the U.S. and is held every October.How have I not shared this pic? Autumn in #Albuquerque. #ABQ #newmexicoA photo posted by Sarah Allan (@sarahallanauthor) on Mar 30, 2016 at 4:35pm PDT The Fiesta has many events, including mass ascensions, special shapes, and even special events and competitions.What makes ballooning in Albuquerque so good? It's what's known as the Albuquerque box--predictable wind patterns that are great for ballooning. Below is a diagram of how the winds in the Albuquerque box work from Balloon Fiesta Park. The balloons rise and are taken south by southerly winds, then rise and are swept north in the higher altitude by northerly winds. When they drop in altitude, they are caught by the southerly winds again which bring them back to the park.Pic from WikipediaOf course, things don't always go so neatly, so each balloon...
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N is for Nob Hill #AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z @abqnobhill

Nob Hill in Albuquerque is actually named after Nob Hill in San Francisco, and is considered to be the commercial area alongside Central Avenue (which we discussed on C day as also being U.S. Route 66) and the surrounding residential areas. Nob Hill is east of the University of New Mexico, and encompasses a roughly square shape that runs from Lomas on the north side, Girard on the west, Garfield/Zuni to the south, and Washington on the east.Nob Hill (which turns 100 this year) is a vibrant community filled with locally-owned shops and restaurants. Events are often held along Central (like Route 66 Summerfest).It's a great place to enjoy a small-community feel in a city, and a wonderful place to enjoy a night out, whether you want to go to the cinema, go dancing, or enjoy a nice meal out.Gotta love the old-fashioned signage! #ABQ #albuquerque #nobhill #nofilter #newmexicoA photo posted by Sarah Allan (@sarahallanauthor) on Mar 20, 2016 at 5:55pm...
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