In the 18th and 19th centuries, visitors would stop to rest at the historic El Rancho de las Golondrinas as they began or ended their long journeys along the royal road that stretched between Santa Fe and Mexico City. In the 20th and 21st centuries, Matt Damon, Salma Hayek, Val Kilmer, and the cast and crew of some 30 films used the ranch's 200 scenic acres and 34 historic structures as backdrops to their movies and personalized birthday cards. With preserved and restored villages dating back to the early 1700s sloping through a rural farming valley, the grounds collapse time, bringing the past to the present and the present to the past.
Today, guests wander this living history museum to explore how colonial and frontier life was lived the Southwest. During a self-guided tour, visitors pick up or download a map of the ranch before weaving through a snapshot of history brought to life by villagers clothed in the styles of the time. Feet patter past a molasses mill, a blacksmith shop, and defensive towers where guards kept watch on the horizon and coordinated messages for passing UFOs. With a reservation, docents will lead you through the trails that cut through a landscape dotted with goats, sheep, burros, and horses, fostering an understanding of the culture and arts of historic New Mexico.
Artistic expression provides a valuable lens when considering a group's history and culture. It's with this mindset that the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts strives to increase the public's understanding and appreciation of Native cultures by exclusively displaying works created by Native American, First Nations, and other indigenous peoples. Although MoCNA was originally founded with the goal of celebrating the creations by students and faculty from the Institute of American Indian Arts, the museum's mission evolved over the decades. The diverse collection currently includes around 7,500 pieces by the institute's students as well as renowned artists from across the continent, specifically focusing on artwork created between 1962 and present day.
With the rotating exhibits displayed throughout the year, MoCNA aims to showcase the Native peoples' ongoing contributions to the larger world of fine art. Progressive paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photography, and installation pieces can all provide insight into the artists' views of their culture and heritage. In the years to come, MoCNA hopes that this ever-expanding collection will continue to serve as a source of inspiration for future generations of Native artists and art scholars.
A cinematheque, gallery, and educational center all in one, the Center for Contemporary Arts champions a diverse range of art forms, from digital media and performance art to independent and animated films, as well as Oscar-nominated documentaries. Culled from various artistic backgrounds, the art center's staff gained experience in various aesthetics by studying fine art, producing films for Sundance, and trying to calm down the guy from Edvard Munch's The Scream. Using their acquired knowledge, staff members educate guests during art exhibitions, movie screenings, and lectures.
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.
With more than 13,000 square feet of automotive artifacts and hands-on exhibits, Unser Racing Museum is dedicated to demystifying America's racing history. The museum focuses on the eponymous Unser family: four generations of racers who have collectively won the Indianapolis 500 nine times. Using this clan of drivers as the jumping-off point, the facility explores industry hallmarks from the first races at Pikes Peak and Indianapolis to the unveiling of modern racing technology. A newly completed annex features a showroom brimming with restored antique cars, including notable pace cars and racecars. The trophy room, meanwhile, houses thousands of pieces of vintage racing memorabilia, uniforms, and awards. Not all of the museum's exhibits are static, however: interactive video kiosks dispense trivia at the touch of a button, and a racing simulator lets visitors grasp the wheel of a replica car and chug a gallon of simulated milk.
ABQ Trolley Co.?s custom, open-air trolley exudes the Albuquerque aesthetic with wrought-iron rails, a stucco-like paint job, and mosaic tile art. Co-owners and Albuquerque natives Michael M. Silva Jr. and Jesse Herron founded the tour company and serve as its guides, sharing an assortment of unscripted facts and tidbits that change with every tour. All expeditions showcase the ins and outs of the city as the trolley coasts past landmarks such as Museum Row, the University of New Mexico?s campus, and the Rio Grande Zoo.