I’m just going to assume that if you’ve lived in Albuquerque for any length of time, you’ve chosen your favorite season here in the 505. And we all know what every Burqueno’s favorite season is: FALL! I mean, how could you not love fall in Albuquerque? The smell of green chile and the sight of hot air balloons float through the crisp, cool breeze.
Family life falls back into that familiar routine: school, sports, preparing for the holidays. Our schedule tends to be a little more tight in the fall (re: school, sports, preparing for the holidays … ). Even so, I always make a point to plan at least a few fun fall outings with my kids.
Here is my list of our family’s top 5 favorite fall playdate spots here in the Duke City.
#5: Hiking Trails
There are plenty of easy hikes to enjoy in Albuquerque with littles in tow. This time of year, we like to visit the places where we can enjoy some fall foliage. See this post for some of my favorite hikes to take with kids.
#4: Wildlife West Nature Park
Have you ever visited the Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood? Because it’s in a pretty desert-like setting, there isn’t a lot of shade on the trail through the park. The cooler fall weather makes for a really nice visit. It’s a cute little zoo with only species that are native to New Mexico. All of their animals are rescues, and many would not have been able to survive on their own in the wild.
#3: A Playground
I think this goes without saying, but a trip to the playground is an absolute must in the fall! We like to head out early with jackets, a picnic blanket or two, some simple breakfast treats, and a thermos of hot chocolate. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to enjoy some hot air balloons, and we may even have the playground all to ourselves! Some of our favorite tucked-away playgrounds (all in the NE Heights) include: Lynnewood, Ross Enchanted, Rotary, Barstow, and City View.
#2: The Botanic Gardens or Zoo
I can’t pick which destination I love more; they’re both so wonderful! We have a BioPark pass and tend to switch back and forth between the two. The gardens this time of year are beautiful–all the fall flowers are blooming, and it’s a completely different experience from a spring or summer visit. The zoo is also a great choice because the animals are so much more active once the weather cools down.
#1: The Pumpkin Patch
We are lucky to have multiple pumpkin patches in Albuquerque and surrounding areas. The two that my family has visited are Galloping Grace Youth Ranch Pumpkin Patch and McCall’s Pumpkin Patch. Galloping Grace offers low-cost admission, but you can pay extra for the petting zoo, etc. It is packed with fun activities, including a corn pit, tractor trikes, and rubber duck races. It is located in the parking lot at Santa Ana Star Center. McCall’s, located in Moriarity, is a bit more expensive, and they are only open to families on weekends. Admission includes entrance to the park, most activities within the park, entrance to the corn maze & a hayride to the pumpkin patch. I have done both with my kids. In my experience, Galloping Grace had more to offer to kids of all ages. McCall’s is bigger, and has more to offer for older preschool and school age kids.