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.
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.
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.
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.
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.