Friday, May 31, 2013

Alamogordo Zoo

Alamogordo has a fair amount of pistachio orchards.  We had one at our house.  And the north side of Alamogordo has a 40 foot pistachio.  
And they have the oldest zoo in the southwest!!  We tried to plan our El Paso trip so that we would have time for the zoo when we got back.  We were a bit late (due to a stop at Jiffy Lube on our way out of town that morning) which turned out great...late enough to get in free, but still enough time to see a few animals.  This zoo is pretty rockin', and a happy place of memories from my Alamo years. 


I have such vivid memories of this fox and the trail he runs around his cage.

 It was so fun and we wished we would have had time to go back.

El Paso and Mexico

I wanted to take a day to go to El Paso to relive a)the drive which included one lone tree in the middle of the highway with signage proclaiming it some forest of some sort (which we did NOT see) b)to drive by the missile range to see where I hit my first home run and c)to witness Mexico--because passports cost too much to go there.  Since none of those are day long activities we decided on other fun activities.  We went to Peter Piper Pizza, which is a New Mexico time era memory for me.  It was sweet!  We need some of those up here!  We got there just as a school bus of kids were leaving which was great.  And the kids loved it.

Happy 9 year anniversary to us!!
 After that we went to the UTEP campus which is literally on the border.  See, we are in America, and there is Mexico.

It was crazy the absolute difference between America and Mexico.

The cross and the writing on the mountain were always cues to me when we lived in New Mexico that we were in El Paso--looking at Mexico.

So UTEP had a free museum on campus with a cool garden outside.  It was a lot of fun.  We got there while the school bus of teenagers was still there, but they left shortly after and we had the place to ourselves.  The kids really liked it.

Best family picture EVER!!! Seriously, all of us look good!

And random who knows what on our way out of El Paso.
Such a great day to visit (next to) Mexico!!

Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns is SO cool. I am so glad we were able to go.  As you can see in this picture it is out in the middle of the desert!  There is nothing around for miles.  And yet there is a HUGE cave below us.  How cool!!  We came prepared for a hike and we actually were able to do the WHOLE thing.  As a kid I don't think we did the whole thing even.  It was so awesome.  Caves are just plain cool.
 Seriously, who would think that this hole (albeit large) would take you down, down, down into seemingly endless caverns??  The bats would think it, that's who!

Here we go!!

We got the little self guided tour headphones, the kids liked that.

It was so cool!!  When we were done we had the option to stay and see the bat flight, which in my childhood was the most phenomenal thing!  hundreds of thousands of bats all circling out of the cave at dusk to go hunt in a short amount of time.  We would just have to kill a little time, and then we too could see this event.  So we did.

We were counting on such an epic event we even got the kids little bat toys to commemorate the night.

We marched out way back to the opening, had a splendid presentation by the ranger (in which he said, "I haven't had much luck yet") and then were cursed by the rangers bad luck.  It wasn't really the "season" for the mass exodus of bats, so we waited late into the night and saw maybe 50 total.  The kids didn't know any different though, so they still liked it!!

Area 51 in Roswell, NM

We weren't too far away from Roswell, NM on our way to Carlsbad Caverns, so we could not pass up the opportunity to stop and see aliens.  The entire town is alien-ed out.  We were pretty tickled to see that even the street lamps showed signs of extraterrestrial life.  
I had looked on the internet for the best one afternoon stop and found this little gem of a hole-in-the-wall.  We really liked it.  It had cool alien stuff in the store, including a kid play place, and then you could pay $3 to go into Area 51.  Oh man, it was epic.

They used their alien powers to reverse gravity on us!
the crash landing spot!  

We found Roswell to be pretty great and found ample evidence that aliens really have landed there! :)