Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Free Bike Valet Service

October 3, 2013 by  
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Park free at Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta when you get on your bike and beat the traffic.

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta bike valet service lets cyclists park free again this year, throughout the 2013 Fiesta from October 5-13. That saves the $10 per car parking fee, and probably some sitting-in-traffic stress!

The service has been likened to a “coat check for bicycles” and bikes are stored securely while the rider is at the Balloon Fiesta sessions during these hours:

  • Morning Sessions: 5:30 – 10:30 am
  • Evening Sessions: 5 – to 9 pm

Take the bike trail running along the AMAFCA North Diversion Channel, underneath Paseo del Norte and Alameda, ending at the north of the Balloon Museum in the bike valet parking station.

I always see loads of cyclists whizzing past my (slower) car on the way to the morning ballon ascensions and they always look very smug about it. They are smugger still for free parking!  Balloon Fiesta officials remind cyclists that you’ll be arriving in the dark in morning sessions (well, you know that already). But easier to forget: although you’ll arrive in daylight for evening sessions, it’ll be dark when leaving after the evening events and fireworks, so bike lights and proper gear are essential.

If you do decide to drive instead of taking advantage of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta free bike valet, it’s cheaper to buy a $50 parking pass if you are going for more than five separate sessions. You can also use the Park & Ride options.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place from October 5 – 13, 2013.

–Tania


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Free and Cheap Things To Do In Albuquerque This Weekend

October 5, 2012 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 6 and 7, 2012. 

Saturday October 6

Free Home Depot workshop for kids aged 5 – 12 from 9 am to noon to make a Fire Truck. (From 10-11 am parents can also join a free fire-safety workshop to make a fire prevention plan for the home.)

Big Top Chocolate Festival at the Balloon Museum from 7 am to 4 pm. Get 40% Off Adult Tickets making them $6 each when you buy tickets online in advance using the promo code Chocolate – the discount only works on adult one-day tickets.  Otherwise, admission is $10 for adults (aged 13+), $1 for kids aged 4-12, and free for tots aged 3 and under. This includes entry to the Balloon Museum where there will also be live entertainment, and parking is free from 10 am – 2 pm, outside the busy Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta hours.  If you pay on the door take cash – they’ll add a $2 per ticket fee to any credit card payments.

Kirkland’s Grand Opening on Saturday and Sunday at the Coronado Center includes a free personalized design consultations with interior designer Deborah Smith from 1 – 4 pm both days. Take floor plans or photos of the rooms you’re decorating. They’ve also got some giveaways. (More info at our previous post.)

Author Karen Baldwin Meet & Greet from 12 noon to 1:30 pm at Barnes & Noble in the Coronado Center. I have to declare favoritism here, as New Mexico writer Karen Baldwin wrote her wonderful book Ruby’s World while taking one of my writing seminars so I know how good it is! Karen was recently appointed American Ambassador to the Rural Women’s Movement of South Africa. Go hear her read from Ruby’s World and say hi for me!

San Felipe de Neri Santero Market around Albuquerque Old Town Plaza from 9 am to 5 pm, with traditional Spanish religious arts, and music and dancing at the Gazebo. It’s all free – unless you buy something!

Albuquerque Grecian Festival offers all things Greek with live entertainment, cooking classes, Greek language classes, and (of course) food vendors. Admission is $5, or $2 for Seniors 62+, and free for kids under 12. It’s also free for police, fire, emergency, and military personnel. Find it at St George Greek Orthodox Church (308 High Street SE) on Saturday from 11 am to 11 pm, and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm.

Galloping Grace Youth Ranch Pumpkin Patch is open through October 31. It’s a cute space and lovely for kids to play there, and admission is free from 9 am – 6:30 pm.  Find it at 4349 Irving Boulevard on Albuquerque’s Westside, on the corner of Eagle Ranch Road and Irving.

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, enjoy the entertainment, and children can create their own art in the Kids Creation Station. Hours are 9 am – 6 pm on Saturday.

Albuquerque Maize Maze with the 7-acre frog-themed corn maze is open on Saturday from 1o am – 9 pm.  Admission is $7 adults (aged 12+), $5 kids aged 3-11, and free for kids aged 2 and under. However, here’s a  50% off Albuquerque Maize Maze admission deal at $7 for two people or $14 for four people, available via Groupon till Sunday, for a maze visit through October 14.

Wagner’s Farmland Experience corn maze and pumpkin patch in Corrales costs $7.50 for adults, $5.50 for kids aged 3-11. On Saturday they open from 9 am to 10 pm, and in the evening they host a night maze with a campfire. (Sunday is 9 am to 6 pm.)

Albuquerque Gem, Mineral and Jewelry Show is free to visit this weekend, from 9 am to 5 pm both days at EXPO New Mexico Creative Arts Center.

Museums on Us program gives free admission this weekend to the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History when vistors show a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit card or debit card and a photo ID. The offer is also at around 150 museums nationally. The free admission is only for the card holder, but Albuquerque Museum children’s admission aged 4 – 12 is only $1, and it’s free for kids under 3.

Tinkertown Museum is open daily until October 31, then it closes for the season. Right now you can get a 50% off Tinkertown Museum deal of Family Four Pack of four admissions for $7, at the link via SweetJack. FAQ’s say they’ll email your admissions certificate within 10 minutes of purchase.  Otherwise, admission is $3.50 for adults,  $3 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, seven days a week, 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).

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2012 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.

Free Star Party from 6 pm to 10 pm, by The Albuquerque Astronomical Society at the Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center. Study to the heavens with the astronomers’ telescopes, get a green laser guided tour of the night sky, and hear talks on amateur astronomy and asteroids.

Poesía de México Free Performance at 7 pm at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in the Wells Fargo Auditorium. The trilingual Náhuatl, Spanish, and English production with music presents 500 years’ worth of Mexico’s best poetry. Although the event is free, reservations are recommended (505-724-4743). The production repeats on Sunday at 2:30 pm.

It’s the Zuni Pueblo Fall Festival this weekend, October 6-7,  if you’re in the mood for a day trip (about 150 miles west of Albuquerque via I-40). Expect traditional dances, a human and horse relay race, and a horseshoe tournament.

Sunday October 7

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. Admission is $8, and kids aged 12 and under go free.

Big Top Chocolate Festival at the Balloon Museum from 7 am to 4 pm. Get 40% Off Adult Tickets making them $6 each when you buy one-day adult tickets online in advance using the promo code: Chocolate.  Otherwise it’s $10 for adults (aged 13+), $1 for kids aged 4-12, and free for tots aged 3 and under.  Other details are the same as in the Saturday mention of this event, above.

Rio Grande Nature Center Nature Walks A bird walk at 8:30 am and another 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.

Poesía de México Free Performance at 2:30 pm at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in the Wells Fargo Auditorium. Although the event is free, reservations are recommended (505-724-4743). See the Saturday show above for more details.

San Felipe de Neri Santero Market around Old Town Plaza continues, from 11 am to 5 pm on Sunday, with traditional Spanish religious arts and live entertainment. New Mexico santero Adan Carriaga gives a lecture at 12:30 pm at the San Felipe church.

A ChamberCHOPS Free Concert at 2 pm on Sunday includes Mozart’s Serenade No. 11. ChamberCHOPS is the Chamber Music Cooperative of the Southwest and while admission is free, they accept donations. The concert is at Central United Methodist Church, 201 University Boulevard NE. Find any updates on the Chamberchops Facebook page.

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 7. Take your New Mexico ID. From 11 am – 3 pm it’s Meet The Experts Day with behind-the-scenes insights from curators and staff in the museum atrium

Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival continues. Save $1 on admission with this Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival coupon (Print one coupon per person.) Regular admission is $7 for adults, free for kids aged under twelve.   Hours are 9 am – 5 pm on Sunday and other details are as per the Saturday mention above.

Sandia Mountain Natural History Center in Cedar Crest is open to all from 9 am to 4 pm, for hiking and wildlife-spotting, and viewing the sun with solar telescopes! A presentation on Family Nature Mapping is at 10 am.  This property is usually closed to the public, you can only visit on the first Sunday of the month.

Albuquerque Maize Maze is open from 10 am to 6 pm on Sunday. See the Saturday mention above for details and how to get 50% off tickets.  

Albuquerque Museum of Art and History Free admission for all on Sundays from 9 am – 1 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 enjoy your weekend!

–Tania. There are some affiliate links in this post.

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ABQ Balloon Fiesta Free Bike Valet Service

October 1, 2012 by  
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Park free at Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta when you get on your bike and beat the traffic.

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta free bicycle valet service lets cyclists park free again this year, throughout the 2012 Fiesta from October 6-14. That saves the $10 per car parking fee, and probably some sitting-in-traffic stress!

The service has been likened to a “coat check for bicycles” and bikes are stored securely while the rider is at the Balloon Fiesta sessions during these hours:

  • Morning Sessions: 5:30 – 10:30 am
  • Evening Sessions: 5 – to 9 pm

Take the bike trail running along the AMAFCA North Diversion Channel, underneath Paseo del Norte and Alameda, ending at the north of the Balloon Museum in the bike valet parking station.

I always see loads of cyclists whizzing past my (slower) car on the way to the morning ballon ascensions and they always look very smug about it. Smugger still for free parking!  Balloon Fiesta officials remind cyclists that you’ll be arriving in the dark in morning sessions (well, you know that already). But easier to forget: although you’ll arrive in daylight for evening sessions, it’ll be dark when leaving after the evening events and fireworks, so bike lights and proper gear are essential.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place from October 6 – 14, 2012.

–Tania

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ABQ Trolley Glow Tours

August 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Attractions, Balloon Fiesta, Kids

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Plan in advance for the ABQ Trolley Co. Glow Tours during Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Tickets are likely to sell out fast…

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta runs from October 6 – 14, 2012, and tickets go on sale today, August 1, for the 2012 ABQ Trolley Glow Tours.  ABQ Trolley Co. run the tours on every evening there’s a Balloon Fiesta event, on October 6, 7, 11, 12, and 13, and tickets cost $55 including tax.

Although the tickets cost $5 more than last year, I reckon this is still a very good deal – and a unique night out –  as the package includes:

  • The round-trip ride on the trolley (avoiding the traffic! Need I say more?)
  • Admission to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
  • Admission to the Chasers’ Club hospitality tent, including a hot dish, some beverages, and pastries
  • Admission to the private Chaser’s Lounge, with its bar and live music
  • Time to watch the Balloon Glow events and fireworks before you leave on the return trolley
  • A guide on the trolley and Albuquerque trivia while you ride, including local business giveaways

There are only 34 seats on the trolley, and last year those seats filled fast!  Evening events are on October 6, 7, 11, 12, and 13. My own favorite is the Special Shape Glowdeo. You kind of wonder how those balloons can ever fly, with shapes from Darth Vadar to giant houses.

Note that there are no refunds on these Albuquerque Trolley Co. tickets. Even if a Balloon Glow is cancelled due to wind or weather, the trolley still rolls, and there are still activities at Balloon Fiesta Park.

ABQ Trolley Co.  Trolley Glow tours depart at 5 pm from the Albuquerque Convention Center.

You need to book trolley tickets directly online with the ABQ Trolley Co., but here’s the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta schedule for 2012 to help plan your visit.

–Tania

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Free Things To Do In Albuquerque This Weekend

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There are lots of free Albuquerque events this weekend again, although we’ll have to watch the weather… so here’s a mix of indoor and outdoor fun stuff. 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 picks of free and cheap places to go and things to do on October 8 and 9, 2011. 

Saturday October 8

Lighter Than Air Fare on the lawn of the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum during Balloon Fiesta is free to all, from 6 am – 2 pm daily.  Expect live music, arts, crafts, and food vendors. See the Lighter Than Air Fare schedule for details. Highlights today include a US Navy flight simulator, pet adoptions, and kite flying.

Who’s Who in the World of Black Birds Bird walk and presentation by Ranger Karen Herzenberg at 8:30 – 10:30 am. Free at the Rio Grande Nature Center, but parking is $3 per vehicle.

Albuquerque Just Between Friends maternity & childrenswear consignment sale from 10 am to 2 pm.  Admission is free, and most items are half priced today, at NM Army National Guard, 600 Wyoming Blvd NE.

ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden Harvest Festival on Saturday and Sunday, from 10 am – 2 pm each day. Activities include cider making and sampling, crafts and games, building scarecrows, sawhorse steer roping, demonstrations by farriers, quilters, bakers and chicken keepers, and live music. It’s free with Botanic Garden admission. (Which also covers admission to the Aquarium.)

Albuquerque Museum family art workshop from 1 – 2.30 pm on Saturdays are open to all museum visitors and included in museum admission.  Supplies are provided, and budding artists of any age can show up to create art inspired by the Museum’s exhibits.

Poe’s Weekend of Woe from 1 – 3 pm at Cherry Hills Library with family activities including Spin the Wheel of Misfortune (ha!), creepy puzzles, scavenger hunt, and readings.

Turning NO to ON: The Art of Parenting with Mindfulness book talk and signing at 2 pm with Author Dr. Beth Gineris at Page One Bookstore, 11018 Montgomery NE. While you’re there, use this Page One $5 Off Coupon to save $5 on any $30 or more purchase, whether new or used.

Galloping Grace Youth Ranch Pumpkin Patch is a cute space and lovely for kids, open daily to October 31. Admission is free from 9 am – 6 pm, at 4349 Irving Boulevard on Albuquerque’s Westside, on the corner of Eagle Ranch Road and Irving.

Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival runs all weekend. Save $1 on admission with this Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival couponregular 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.  See directions to Wagner’s Farmland Experience.

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 $1 for kids aged 4 to 16. Tots aged 3 and under get in free. Hours are 9 am6 pm, last admission at 5:30 pm.  But go much earlier to explore this extravaganza of folk art, including a model circus, a miniature Wild West town, animated wood-carved figures, and arcade-style wonders such as Esmerelda the fortune teller.  Tinkertown Museum is on the road to Sandia Crest off Highway 14 (the Turquoise Trail), about 25 miles east of Albuquerque.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2011 The evening session starts at 5:45 pm, with the Night Magic Glow, followed by fireworks!  Admission is $8, and kids aged 12 and under go free.

Albuquerque Maize Maze UPDATE: CLOSED SATURDAY. You might want to check in advance that they’re open, as they were closed on Friday Oct 7 due to rain/mud in the fields. Otherwise 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.

Abiquiu Studio Tour If you feel like a trip out of town into red rock country, the Abiquiu Studio Tour runs over the Columbus Day weekend from October 8 – 10, from 10 am – 5 pm daily.

Sunday October 9

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta The Dawn Patrol is at 5:45 am, the Krispy Kreme Morning Glow at 6:30 am, then the final mass ascension takes to the skies at 7 am. (Arrive good and early! Basically don’t go to bed the night before…) 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 is free to all, from 6 am – 2 pm. Expect live music, arts, crafts, and food vendors. See the Lighter Than Air Fare schedule for the latest details. Highlights today include Irish and African music, a US Navy flight simulator, pet adoptions, and kite flying.

Kirtland AFB Open House from 9 am – 4:30 pm. Everyone is welcome to join Kirtland’s free 40th anniversary celebrations, with aircraft exhibits and aerial demonstrations including the Thunderbirds at 3 pm.  See the schedule at the link.

Local Food Festival and Field Day from 11 am to 4 pm at the Gutierrez-Hubbell House and Demonstration Farm. The free festival offers free workshops and talks on food preservation, gardening and urban farming; chef demos and food samples, free face painting, agames, and live music. See the full Local Food Festival and Field Day schedule.

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.

Traveling Poe Performance 2 – 3 pm as part of Albuquerque’s The Big Read. Campbell ‘Lou’ Harmon presents a dramatic reading about Edgar Allan Poe with audience interaction, at Cherry Hills Library.

Arts in the Park at Ventana Ranch 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.

Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival continues. Save $1 on admission with this Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival couponregular 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.

Albuquerque Maize Maze You might want to check in advance that they’re open, as they were closed on Saturday October 8 due to rain/mud in the fields. Otherwise 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.  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.)

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 whatever the weather! Happy Columbus Day weekend!

–Tania

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WAHL Face the Day Tour

October 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Balloon Fiesta, Freebies

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The Wahl Face the Day Tour comes to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta this week, offering free facial hair grooming for men…

If you’re going to Balloon Fiesta, look out for the Wahl Face the Day Tour from October 6 – 8, 2011. Especially if you have a beard, mustache or goatee.  (So I’m probably *mainly* talking to our gentlemen readers.) Wahl’s 30-foot mobile barbershop will be on site giving guys free facial hair grooming and tips during Balloon Fiesta, and also expect a strongman competition, prizes and music.

For every free trim they give, Wahl donates $1 to Movember, a non-profit organization that funds the Live Strong Prostate Cancer Foundation and Movember Foundation.

The master barbers will be in action from Thursday October 6 to Saturday October 8, between 6 – 11 am and 4 – 9 pm each day.

Wahl is also running a national facial hair face-off, in the search for the Wahl Man of the Year, with prizes including an iPad, Flip camera, and Wahl Trimmer.  They’re also taking entries on the web at the link, regardless of whether you’re at Balloon Fiesta. The contest looks for a winner illustrating “excellence in facial hair” and I’m having to bite my tongue so hard not to suggest that my least favorite aunt enters it.

Wahl is an industry leader in barber tools, so they should know what they’re talking about, and you can’t say we don’t bring you a rich variety of freebies and deals here at ABQ on the Cheap. You do of course have to pay regular Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta admission – $8 for adults, free for kids aged 12 and under.

–Tania

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Free Things To Do In Albuquerque This Weekend

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

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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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Balloon Fiesta Tickets & Free ABQ Aloft Ascension

September 27, 2011 by  
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Save $1 on Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta tickets and watch a free fiesta preview on September 30 with Albuquerque Aloft balloons launching from Albuquerque and Rio Rancho schools!

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2011 tickets cost $8 per session for adults – which means anyone over the age of 12. This is $2 per adult more than last year, whether you buy in advance or on the gate, but advance tickets also include admission to the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum.  Children aged 12 and under get free Balloon Fiesta admission, but they must pay their way into the Balloon Museum ($1 for ages 4 – 12).

However, if you buy a pack of 5 tickets, you pay $35 – saving $1 a ticket or $5 in all. That offer is good both for advance purchases and on the gate, and gets you into five different sessions during Balloon Fiesta.   

Go to the Balloon Fiesta ticket office (4401 Alameda Blvd. NE) or purchase Balloon Fiesta tickets online, although note that there is a 60 cent per ticket fee for online sales. Or call 1-888-422-7277 for ticket information.

On Friday September 30, everyone can watch a free Balloon Fiesta preview with the Albuquerque Aloft community flights taking off from a reported 61 Albuquerque and Rio Rancho schools.

Pilots from Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta take to the skies from all points around town in a simultaneous launch coordinated by our friends over at KKOB 770 AM Radio. THAT sounds like a fun job! “OK guys, all together now, we have LIFT OFF!”

This is the only time that Fiesta balloonists launch outside Balloon Fiesta Park, so if you’re near a participating Albuquerque Aloft school, watch the skies overhead for up-close-and-personal views of the preview flights, before the 40th annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta officially starts on Saturday October 1.

Our understanding is that schools are not open for outsiders to come on to school grounds, but some schools may invite parents to attend the launch. Everyone else has to take a perch nearby to watch the balloons.

  • Where: See the list of Albuquerque Aloft schools
  • When: Friday September 30, 2011
  • Time: The launch is due to take place at 7:25 am

All scheduled balloon flights do of course depend on weather and safety concerns. Pilots may choose to stay on the ground if conditions are unsuitable to fly.

Find full information and schedules for the 2011 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

–Tania

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Balloon Fiesta Free Bike Valet Service

September 25, 2011 by  
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Park free at Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta when you get on your bike and beat the traffic.

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta free bicycle valet service lets cyclists park free again this year, throughout the 2011 Fiesta from October 1 – 9. That saves the $10 per car parking fee, and probably some sitting-in-traffic stress!

The service has been likened to a “coat check for bicycles” and bikes are stored securely while the rider is at the Balloon Fiesta sessions during these hours:

  • Morning Sessions: 5:30 – 10:30 am
  • Evening Sessions: 5 – to 9 pm

Take the bike trail running along the AMAFCA North Diversion Channel, underneath Paseo del Norte and Alameda, ending at the north of the Balloon Museum in the bike valet parking station.

Last year I saw loads of cyclists whizzing past my (slower) car on the way to the morning ballon ascensions and they looked very smug about it. Smugger still for free parking!  Balloon Fiesta officials remind cyclists that you’ll be arriving in the dark in morning sessions (well, you know that already). But easier to forget: although you’ll arrive in daylight for evening sessions, it’ll be dark when leaving after the evening events and fireworks, so bike lights and proper gear are essential.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place from October 1 – 9, 2011.

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Balloon Fiesta Free Breakfast Event for Teachers

September 22, 2011 by  
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Free Balloon Museum breakfast for teachers and home schoolers on October 7, 2011, and watch the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Special Shapes Rodeo balloon ascension! RSVP needed…. and you can bring family members at regular Balloon Museum admission prices.

The Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum is hosting a free Teacher Appreciation Breakfast on the morning of Friday October 7, open to public, charter, private and home school teachers in the greater Albuquerque area.

The event for teachers is free at the Balloon Museum, and as it takes place during Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, you can sit in the museum and watch the Special Shapes Rodeo for free!  (My own fave event during the entire fiesta.) You get a free breakfast burrito, plus a free parking pass, free Balloon Museum admission, and a workshop. (Last year it was a workshop on making a paper balloon to fly. Not sure what it’ll be this year.)

Space is limited, so you need to reserve a place for the Balloon Museum Teacher Appreciation Breakfast. If you want to bring family, they can come if they pay the usual Balloon Museum admission on the day. (That’s $3 adults, $2 seniors 65+, and $1 children, free for kids aged 3 and under.) They have to buy their own food though! See the info at the link.

Don’t wait to reserve, this event could fill fast. Note that you don’t get actual admission to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, just to the Balloon Museum, overlooking the launch field.

  • When: Friday October 7, 2011
  • Time: 6 – 9 am
  • Where: Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum
  • Price: Free for teachers but register for the free breakfast event!

What a great perk for Albuquerque teachers – an insider free seat at the 2011 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta! And of course teachers deserve it… there’s a lot of teacher love around in this back-to-school month.

Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum is located at 9201 Balloon Museum NE.

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