Roger Alink has never owned a television. As a kid, he was too busy with the pigs and cattle that roamed his 160-acre home, and this love of animals and the outdoors only grew over time. In the early '90s, Alink decided to share this love with others, so he and a team of volunteers spent 30,000 hours establishing Wildlife West Nature Park.
In addition to the wild creatures, migratory birds, and GPS-lacking manatees who settle at the park, representatives of the region's indigenous animals and plants live and grow on its 122 scenic acres, much of which hasn’t been altered since the park's inception. Elsewhere, 30 wildlife exhibits mimic the natural habitats of the black bears, wolverines, deer, pronghorn antelopes, and birds of prey that inhabit them. Two miles of trail connect each habitat, and each enclosure is specially designed for the particular needs of its residents. The same custom care goes into feeding the animals: to keep the beasts psychologically spry, staff members provide challenges that echo the animals' instinctual eating habits, placing meals up in treetops, burying snacks that need to be sniffed out, and arranging candlelit dinners for mountain lions who forgot their wives’ birthdays.
Sustainable practices such as recycling, organic farming, and water harvesting turn the park into an educational example of eco-friendliness. Facilities such as the amphitheater and the heated, enclosed Bean Barn also welcome special events ranging from music festivals and bird-handling workshops to the kite-spangled Wind Festival and the ursine Bear Fair.
Open since 1983, Tinkertown Museum is artist Ross Ward’s shrine to the sublimely kooky world of folk, found, and recycled art. Membership to Tinkertown is like a secret handshake because it comes with unlimited entry during the year and 10% off in the gift shop. The smile-inducing exhibits are one-of-a-kind spectacles made or found by Ward over four decades. One sure-fire track-stopper is the collection of animated miniature wooden carvings, including a Wild West town and a three-ring circus. The museum’s 35-foot antique sailboat, which has traveled around the globe, is also on display to welcome chantey choirs of all vocal ranges. Esmerelda, the coin-operated fortune teller, and Otto, a one-man band, offer an old-timey dollop of entertainment and a safe hiding place for gold doubloons.
Albuquerque's only guided city tour follows an 18-mile course, and the 66 minutes of fun begin at the Plaza Don Luis in Old Town. The journey, which allows sightseers to sit back and take in the view (as opposed to "hop on, hop off" tours) blazes a path past Museum Row and through Downtown, before cruising on course to the city's competitive baseball, basketball, and jousting stadiums. With witty and historical commentary, the burqueños entertain and inform locals and visitor alike as they ferry past the Rio Grande Zoo, Albuquerque Aquarium, and Botanic Gardens, among other essential Albuquerque hot spots. The tour concludes where it began in Old Town, where the knowledgeable guides bid farewell to guests and point them toward a good place to lunch, shop, or patent their most recent invention.
Founded in 1942 as The June Music Festival, CMA brings the finest, internationally acclaimmed classical musicians to Albuquerque for concerts in an intimate, non-amplified setting. CMA is a registered not-for-profit, 501c(3) organization.
From owner/proprietor Paula Manning Lewis's harmonic interpretations of guitars to painterly creations by Caroline C. Blaker, Chroma Studios houses a bevy of local and cultural pieces. This month, the creative hub hones in on the works of New Mexico artists and celebrates its two-year anniversary. View a list of showcased artists here to get a feel for featured talents. Chroma's collection includes jewelry, ceramics, photography, and mixed media.
Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing With the Stars multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn off up to 500 calories with each go-round.