Family Travel Files Ezine Family Vacations Resource
New Mexico: Santa Fe, Family Vacations with Tran Rides, Kivas, and Free Fridays. Known for art and cuisine, dramatic natural beauty and culture, Santa Fe is a delightful place for families. A spot rich with contrasts, it showcases the American West at its best. Explore centuries-old Anasazi villages; bike or hike the high desert; ride along ancient trails; browse the world's largest collection of folkart; artifacts of the Old West; enjoy Native American culture. Discoveries await, we’ve created a list to work with the kids.

Time travel for a day. Experience Spanish Colonial life in a location unlike any other in North America; visit “The Ranch of the Swallows" (El Rancho de las Golondrinas). Once a working rancho when New Mexico was part of Mexico, now it is a living history museum. Its unique timeline begins in the early 1700s when it was an important paraje (stopping point) along the famous Camino Real (the Royal Road from Mexico City to Santa Fe). The 200-acre museum complex includes 18th century buildings and docents dressed in period clothes. The open air portion frames a duck-friendly mill pond. See domesticated animals and take advantage of hands-on demonstrations like rope making, yarn spinning, carding, and bread baking. Bonus points: Introduce your American Girl to Maria Josefina Montoya, a Hispanic girl of heart and hope growing up in 1824 on her family's rancho in New Mexico similar to El Rancho de las Golondrinas. Arrange a special tour of the museum that highlights the sites where the fictional Josefina character spent her days with family doing chores and having fun (1(505) 473-4169 for booking the tour.). (El Rancho de las Golondrinas Los Pinos Road, Santa Fe, NM 87507 (505) 471-2261 or

Walk the through the ancient dwellings. Sheer-walled canyons, clay top mesas and ancient cliff dwellings give purpose to Bandelier National Monument, a 23,000-acre archeological site with a window on the past. A one mile interpretive trail leads visitors through the carved out Cliffside rooms, ceremonial caves and kivas. Approximately 70 miles of backcountry trails remain available for day or overnight foot travel. The best-known archeological sites, in Frijoles Canyon near the Visitor Center, were inhabited from the 1100s into the mid-1500s. Hiking is the very best way to absorb the cultural connectivity with the earth. Junior Ranger activities are offered as well as worksheets for Deputy Rangers – that is adults a.k.a. mom and dad. Bonus points: On weekends during the summer cultural demonstrations are conducted. The unique living history crafts demonstrations include, pottery, baskets, beadwork, embroidery, dance, drums, turkey feather blankets, and jewelry. Need to know. National Park Service has instituted a web-based program called WebRangers located at (Bandelier National Monument. 15 Entrance Road Los Alamos, NM 87544. Visitor Center daytime phone (505) 672-3861 x 517, (recorded), 672-0343 or

It’s playtime.
Doing makes all of the difference and The Santa Fe Children’s Museum has plenty to do. Fun stuff includes a climbing wall, bubble making, pulley power, waterworks, face painting, interactive work/play stations and a greenhouse, friendly animals, stage area and a one-acre outdoor play area. Musicians, puppeteers, magicians, storytellers, or actors offer live performances for the entire family on special occasions. Professional artists guide children through hands-on activities in the visual or performing arts, often incorporating recycled and found objects into their work. From cooks to books: special projects engage young hands and minds. Daily programs outdoors and in our greenhouse invite museum visitors to explore the natural world around us. Bonus points: Children learn, create, and experiment with visiting scientists on Sundays. (Santa Fe Children's Museum1050 Old Pecos Trail Santa Fe, NM 87505. (505) 989-8359 or

Folk art forever – a must see.
One of the city’s best museums Museum of International Folk Art (MOIFA) contains the world's largest collection of cross-cultural traditional folk art from dolls, puppets and masks to textiles, ceramics and Spanish colonial folk art. Experience the music, drama, dance, storytelling and material culture of more than 100 countries as presented in life-size interactive exhibits, cultural festivals and hands-on activities for families and children. Children and the young at heart enjoy the book and toy lounge featuring toys that stimulate the imagination such as FolkManis hand puppets, a variety of building materials and blocks, doll house, train set and more! Bonus points: Lloyd's Treasure Chest (open storage area) provides visitors with the opportunity to interact with works not on display in the gallery. It provides visitors with an opportunity to experience the behind-the-scenes museum activities and gain insight into aspects of preservation and conservation relating to the diverse works, and see videos about the collection. Visit the “Please Touch” station in the Dream On Beds From Asia To Europe exhibition to examine boutis quilting, felt and other textile traditions in the exhibition; design your own dream bed post card to send to a loved one. Need to know. Children 16 or younger are always free; New Mexico residents with I.D. FREE on Sundays. The museum is part of the Museum pass bundle. (MOIFA Camino Lejo off Old Santa Fe Trail Santa Fe, NM 87505. (505) 476-1200 or

Ride the rails. Remember the 40's swing song "The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe"? This is the train and the station. Family friendly and suitable for all ages, ride the train through high desert scenery. Vintage cars include a dome car and an outdoors flat car providing different levels of service. The round trip takes about four hours from the historic Santa Fe depot to Lamy, a of turn-of-the-century village 18 miles southeast of Santa Fe. Throughout the year the train route changes personality. In addition to holiday themed junkets they also run a “ghost train” complete with scary stories. Bonus points: Each year the run “Santa Trains” and the ever-popular “Polar Express”. (The Santa Fe Southern Railroad 410 S. Guadalupe Street Santa Fe, NM 87501. Toll-free 1-888-989-8600, (505)989-8600 or

Santa Fe Museum Pass. Purchase a four consecutive day pass for five museums: Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts, Museum of International Folk Art, Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, all on Museum Hill, and the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Palace of the Governors, located downtown, for $15.00.

Downtown Museums Free on Fridays. Santa Fe visitors in the know can take advantage of free admission to three of the city's finest museums. Every Friday evening from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM admission is free to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of the Governors history museum. Each is within easy walking distance of the other in historic downtown Santa Fe and each museum has its own view of the Southwest. The remarkable interpretations of Georgia O'Keeffe portray the striated landscapes of her beloved home in Abiquiu in Northern New Mexico. The Museum of Fine Arts' collection contains works from some of the Southwest's best known masters and the works of Santa Fe's own Cinco Pintores in addition to a world-class schedule of changing exhibitions. The Palace of the Governors is a must-see for any Santa Fe visitor interested in understanding Santa Fe's fascinating and extensive history. (Museum of New Mexico, Toll-free 1-800-495-4846 or

Content researched and created by FTF Copyright 2010. Images provided by Santa Fe Convention & Visitors Bureau Photo credit Jack Parsons.