Discover the (Aviary) Land of Enchantment En Route to the Rally

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March 30, 2009

Take some time to explore New Mexico while you’re in Albuquerque for The Rally, just 17 days away! The Rio Grande Nature Center State Park has 170 acres of wildlife refuge for migrating waterfowl. It’s a perfect way to spend a few hours delving into the area’s natural wonders, whether on your way into town for The Rally or on your way out.

rio_grande_nature_center_pondGeneral Info: The Rio Grande Nature Center State Park is a city-owned park operated by the New Mexico State Parks department. The park features several viewing stations for bird watching along a pond, wetlands and the Rio Grande riverbanks. Canada geese, sandhill cranes and several species of duck stay here during the fall and winter migratory season. Year-round residents include turtles, muskrats, ground squirrels, coyotes, rabbits, chickadees, ring-necked pheasants, and Cooper’s hawks, to name a few. Check out the Friends of the Rio Grande Nature Center website for more detailed descriptions of wildlife to be seen in the park during various seasons.

Hours and Fees: Park gates are open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., while the Nature Center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking fees are $3 for motor vehicles and $15 for buses. Download the Nature Center brochure PDF for a map of the park.

rio_grande_pond_viewing_centerActivities: Bird watching is by far the primary attraction to the park. The bosque, a cottonwood river bottom area, features a two-mile loop of nature trails which wind through a partial wood opening onto sand flats near the river. Viewing stations and a bird blind near the ponds and wetlands are also great spots for bird watching. The park even has a bird feeding station where you can draw the birds in for a closer look.

If you’ve forgotten your binoculars, you can borrow a pair from the front desk by leaving a driver’s license. The front desk staff can also tell you which birds have been seen recently. The Nature Shop sells a bird checklist for your assistance. For those who would rather not do a lot of walking, the glass-walled observation room overlooking the main pond is a great alternative! A speaker system even transmits sounds from the pond so you can hear the birdsong while you watch.

Pets: Except for guide dogs, leashed dogs are only allowed on the path bordered by a fence extending west from Candelaria NW. Please pick up after your pet.

Weather: April brings average highs of 70°F and lows of 40°F.

For more detailed visitor information, call the park office at (505) 344-7240. If you’re interested in other nature programs and attractions while you’re in Albuquerque, visit the Albuquerque Biological Park website.

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  6. LP

    A couple of restaurants you may want to check out if you’re in Albuquerque for the Rally are below. I suggest these because they have been given the thumbs-up by Guy Fieri on the Food Network’s show “Diners, Dirve-ins and Dives” :

    Sophia’s Place (Episode 503)
    6313 4th, N.W.
    Albuquerque, NM

    Monte Carlo Steak House (Episode 311)
    3916 Central SW
    Albuquerque, NM 87105

    Standard Diner (Episode 509)
    320 Central Ave. SE
    Albuquerque, NM 87102
    Tel: (505) 243-1440

    Cecilia’s Cafe (Episode 510)
    230 6TH St. SW
    Albuquerque, NM 87102
    Tel: (505) 243-7070