Historical Sites to Visit with Kids In and Around Albuquerque

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There is a lot of history in and around Albuquerque. These five historical sites offer free entrance for kids and/or adults. We visited each and were led by docents who explained the history and told us fun stories.

NM Steam Locomotive and Railroad Historical Society

This is such a fun place if your kids like trains, engineering, building, and learning about how things work. It is run by volunteers who are passionate about history, the railroad, and engineering. We found them so helpful and excited to talk to us. The engine is Locomotive 2926 from a series of steam engines built in the 1940s during WWII. After its retirement, it was placed in Coronado Park. Following that, the Historical Society started its restoration project in the 1990s. 

You’ll tour one of the biggest working steam engines in the nation. The tender holds 24,000 gallons of water. The wheels each weigh as much as a car! The guides will tell you how it works, about the restoration process, and some fun stories! Plus, you get to wear hard hats and climb up into the engine room. 

WHERE? WHEN? COST?

Off of I-40 and 6th street exit, 1833 8th St. N.W., Albuquerque, NM 87102

Open 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Wednesday and Saturdays only

TIPS

The tour is free and they accept donations. However, there is a little gift shop. It took us about one hour, but we asked a lot of questions and talked to the volunteers for a while.  

http://www.nmslrhs.org

Harvey House Museum in Belen

The Harvey Houses were a chain of restaurants and hotels along the railroad’s routes owned and operated by Fred Harvey in the late 1800s. The Harvey House Museum is one of these and is open for visitors to tour. While you tour the main dining areas, kitchen, and upstairs rooms, a docent can explain how the restaurant worked, how the house was used, and what life was like for the workers. For example, you will learn about the Harvey Girls, who lived on sight in the upstairs rooms. They had to take orders and make and serve meals within the time period that the train was stopped at the station. 

WHERE? WHEN? COST?

50 minutes south of Albuquerque on I-25, Exit 195

104 N. First St. Belen, NM 87002 

Open 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday

No cost. If you have a big group, please call ahead. 

TIPS

Visit in conjunction with the NM Steam Locomotive and Railroad Historical Society to get a fuller picture of railroad history in New Mexico. 

https://www.harveyhousemuseum.org

El Rancho de Las Golondrinas 

El Rancho de Las Golondrinas is a living history museum. It was a working ranch at one time with some of the buildings dating back to the 1700s. The buildings are fun to tour for kids to see how people used to live. There is a mill on the property, a schoolhouse, and a church. In addition, the docents do demonstrations and the ranch has seasonal activities and events. For instance, our family has made tortillas, stomped grapes, picked pumpkins, and seen leather-making and tin-art demonstrations. 

WHERE? WHEN? COST?

45 minutes north of Albuquerque on I-25, Exit 271

334 Los Pinos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87507

Open 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday

It is $6 per adult. Teens (13-17) are $4. Kids 12 and under are free. 

TIPS

New Mexico residents are free on Wednesdays, June 2 – October 3.

Check out the website for fairs and seasonal events. 

https://golondrinas.org

Coronado Monument – Kuaua Pueblo Ruins

This site is made up of the village of the Kuaua People. Although, the site is named after Francisco Vazquez de Coronado who explored the area in the 1500s while searching for the cities of gold. The docents can take you on a kid-friendly tour of the ruins and tell you about life in the village. In addition, there is a small museum with one side for the Native American artifacts and one side for the Spanish artifacts. If you used the Junior Ranger program worksheets (ask when you check in), you can follow the museum display and the kids can fill out the information. There is a fifteen-minute video. However, younger ones can color their Junior Ranger pictures while they listen. Besides that, there is a separate room with the original murals found in the kiva. The ones in the kiva have been repainted.

WHERE? WHEN? COST?

15 minutes north of Albuquerque (off of I-25, Exit 242) in Bernalillo. Follow signs to 485 Kuaua Rd., Bernalillo, NM 87004.

Kids are free. Adults are $7.

Open 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

TIPS

Get the free passes at the Albuquerque library for adult free entrance. There are picnic tables and walking paths so you can stay longer and explore the outdoors. The docents and guides told us about common wildlife to look for.

https://nmhistoricsites.org/coronado

San Felipe de Neri Church at Old Town Albuquerque

Lastly, this visit goes back to the founding of Albuquerque. The original church was started in 1706 when thirty families came from Bernalillo. Accordingly, the Duke of Albuquerque named the church San Felipe de Neri after King Philip (Felipe) of Spain.

This church still hosts events and religious services. A docent will lead you through a tour of the church. We saw the main sanctuary, the confessional, the overflow room, and an older chapel. After that, we saw the small museum with artifacts, statues, priestly garments, a bell, and more. In addition, we got to hear the bell rung! Besides that, the docent told us it was so heavy that it was making the tower lean so they had to take it down!

WHERE? WHEN? COST?

Off of I-40 and Rio Grande exit 12 in the Old Town Plaza of Albuquerque.

2005 North Plaza NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104

Open 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

TIPS

The tour is free, but you have to schedule with a museum docent. But, be aware that there are mass times, funerals, and other events at the church so make sure you call first. It took us only 30 minutes. However, this tour is a little better for older kids. 

Afterward, visit a fun, local restaurant or go shopping as a reward for being quiet and respectful listeners! 

Enjoy these Albuquerque Historical Sites!



The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.

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