Free Things To Do In Albuquerque This Weekend

October 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Attractions, Balloon Fiesta, Kids, Live Performances

It’s Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta time (hurrah!) but there are plenty of free Albuquerque events this weekend too.  We’ve mentioned some of them before, but if you’re looking for free entertainment, free things to do with the kids, or other easy-on-the-budget ways to spend the weekend, here are our top picks of free and cheap places to go and things to do on October 1 and 2, 2011. 

Saturday October 1

Albuquerque Mothers of Twins Club garage sale from 7:30 am – 2 pm with free admission to hunt for baby and kids’ clothes, nursery equipment and gear for children like car seats, toys, furniture, plus maternity clothing and household items. Find the fall sale at Montgomery Church of Christ, 7201 Montgomery Boulevard NE.

Free Home Depot workshop for kids aged 5 – 12 from 9 am to noon to make a Fire Rescue Helicopter, and take home a free child’s workshop apron, commemorative pin and a certificate of achievement.

Lighter Than Air Fare on the lawn of the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum runs throughout the period of the Balloon Fiesta to October 9, and is free to all, from 6 am – 2 pm daily.  Expect live music, arts, crafts, and food vendors. The theme and activities change each day, so see the Lighter Than Air Fare schedule for the latest details. Highlights today include the Smokey Bear Mascot, a US Navy flight simulator, a 1970’s Car Club, pet adoptions, and kite flying.

San Felipe de Neri Santero Market around Old Town Plaza on Saturday and Sunday, with traditional Spanish religious arts, music and dance at the Gazebo, food vendors, and activities for kids.

Galloping Grace Youth Ranch Pumpkin Patch is due to open today October 1, through the end of the month. It’s a cute space and lovely for kids to play there, and admission is free from 9 am – 6 pm.  Find it at 4349 Irving Boulevard on Albuquerque’s Westside, on the corner of Eagle Ranch Road and Irving.

Albuquerque International Festival is free for all from 10 am – 5 pm at Talin Market (corner of Central Avenue/Louisiana Boulevard.) The Festival includes crafts, a kids’ zone, world foods, and entertainment from country artist Kathryn Soapes and others.

Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival runs all weekend. Save $1 on admission with this Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival coupon – regular admission is $7 for adults, free for kids aged under twelve.  Browse the arts and children can create their own art in the Kids Creation Station, and enjoy a magic show. Take one coupon for each person in your party! Hours are 9 am – 6 pm on Saturday.

Wagner’s Farmland Experience corn maze and pumpkin patch in Corrales costs $7 for adults, $5 for kids aged 3-11, and tots aged 2 or under go free. On Saturday evening they host a night maze with a campfire. See directions to Wagner’s Farmland Experience.

Museums on Us program gives free admission this weekend to a visitor showing a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit card or debit card and a photo ID at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and SITE Santa Fe (and around 150 museums nationally.)

Tinkertown Museum is open daily until October 31, then it closes for the season. Admission is $3 for adults,  $2.50 for seniors aged 62+, and just $1 for kids aged 4 to 16. Tots aged 3 and under get in free. Hours are 9 am – 6 pm, with the last admission at 5:30 pm.  But go much earlier – you need at least an hour (two!) to explore this extravaganza of folk art by the late Ross Ward, including a model circus, a miniature Wild West town that stretches the length of a room, animated wood-carved figures, and arcade-style wonders such as Esmerelda the fortune teller.  These and an amazing collection of American ephemera are housed in a rambling building constructed from over 50,000 glass bottles.  Head to the highlands and Tinkertown Museum, on the road to Sandia Crest off Highway 14 (the Turquoise Trail), about 25 miles east of Albuquerque.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2011 You might have heard of this event 😉 The evening session starts at 5:45 pm, with the Twilight Twinkle Glow and the launch of the America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race, followed by the fantastic fireworks!  Admission is $8, and kids aged 12 and under go free.

Albuquerque Maize Maze with the 7-acre dinosaur-themed corn maze and a Dino Hunt game is open on Saturday from 9 am – 9 pm.  Admission is $7 adults (aged 12+), $5 kids aged 3-11, and free for kids aged 2 and under. Pick up a coupon at the Maze for 50% off admission to the Planetarium at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science (and make sure to get it stamped at the Maze to get the deal.)

It’s the Zuni Pueblo Fall Festival this weekend, October 1 – 2,  if you’re in the mood for a day trip (about 150 miles west of Albuquerque via I-40). Expect traditional dances, watermelon eating contest, and on Saturday a free Street Dance from 8pm. On Sunday there’s a horseshoe tournament. Call (505) 782-7238 for info.

Sunday October 2

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta The Dawn Patrol is at 5:45 am, the Krispy Kreme Morning Glow at 6:30 am, then the morning mass ascension takes to the skies at 7 am.  (Arrive good and early! Basically don’t go to bed the night before…) That’s followed by the Fiesta of Wheels Car Show. The evening session starts at 5:45 pm with the Balloon Glow, followed once again by fireworks. See the Balloon Fiesta schedule for today and the rest of the week.  Admission is $8, and kids aged 12 and under go free.

Lighter Than Air Fare on the lawn of the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum runs during Balloon Fiesta to October 9, and is free to all, from 6 am – 2 pm daily.  Expect live music, arts, crafts, and food vendors. Activities change each day, so see the Lighter Than Air Fare schedule for the latest details. Highlights today include the Smokey Bear Mascot, a US Navy flight simulator and static helicopter, pet adoptions, kite flying, Model T Club antique automobiles, and (from 9 – 10 am) the New Mexico Territorial Band playing antique and repro instruments.

San Felipe de Neri Santero Market around Old Town Plaza continues, and New Mexico santero Carlos Otero talks at 2 pm on “‘Perspectives of Traditional Spanish Religious Arts – A Santero’s Experience.’

Rio Grande Nature Center Nature Walk A naturalist-led tour at 1 pm through the bosque. The walk is free, just pay the park admission fee of $3 per vehicle at 2901 Candelaria Rd NW.

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is free to New Mexico residents on the first Sunday of every month. That means this week – Sunday October 2. Take your New Mexico ID.

Arts in the Park  at at El Oso Grande Park from 1 – 5 pm with free music and entertainment and the Artisan Market. Learn to drum and play music with Drumfest, free face painting and arts and crafts for kids, magic from Pink Elephant Theatre and teaching kids juggling skills,  and picnic in the park with your own basket or buy food from vendors.

Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival continues. Save $1 on admission with this Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival coupon – regular admission is $7 for adults, free for kids aged under twelve. Browse the arts and children can create their own art in the Kids Creation Station, and enjoy a magic show.  (Print one coupon per person.) Hours are 9 am – 5 pm on Sunday.

Sandia Mountain Natural History Center in Cedar Crest is open to all from 9 am to 4 pm, for hiking and wildlife-spotting. A presentation on Seasonal Changes in the Sandias is at 10 am, and solar telescopes to view the sun from 11 am – 2 pm. Admission is free.

Museums on Us program gives one free admission this weekend to a visitor showing a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit card or debit card and a photo ID at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and SITE Santa Fe (and around 150 museums nationally.)

Albuquerque Maize Maze with the 7-acre dinosaur-themed corn maze and a Dino Hunt game is open on Sunday from 9 am – 6 pm.  Admission is $7 adults (aged 12+), $5 kids aged 3-11, and free for kids aged 2 and under.

Albuquerque Museum of Art and History Free admission from 9 am – 1 pm.

National Hispanic Cultural Center Torreón fresco Free tour from noon – 4 pm. The National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum also offers free admission on Sundays, from 10 am – 5 pm

Coronado State Monument Admission is free on Sundays for New Mexico residents with ID.

Hope you find some cheap or free Albuquerque fun in there to ease you into October!

–Tania


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