Free Bee & Pollinator Awareness Day: June 22

June 21, 2014 by  
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Free honey tasting, meet beekeepers, and learn all about making your garden bee-friendly, or even keeping bees yourself, at the Bees, Bats, and Butterflies event on June 22, 2014.

Oh yes, it’s a free bee freebie!

So no, you don’t get free bees, but when you buzz down to the Bee, Bats and Butterflies Pollinator awareness day at the Open Space Visitor Center on Sunday June 22 between 10 am and 3 pm, you do get to taste honey and see a bee hive. You can also learn about pollinator-friendly plants to grow in your garden, and meet an Albuquerque beekeeper to find out how you could do it yourself.

Other activities for adults and kids include:

  • Put on a beekeeping suit and have your photo taken (sounds fun! How will anyone know it’s YOU though?)
  • Make a native bee house
  • Make pollinator plant seed balls
  • Make rolled beeswax candles
  • See the Wings of Enchantment Butterfly Life Cycle display
  • 10:30 am: Presentation on the Butterfly Life Cycle, Wings of Enchantment
  • 11:30 am: Bats as Pollinators presentation by William Gannon, a UNM Biologist
  • 1 pm: Mead Making presentation with Phil Grosfblatt
  • 2 pm: Basics of Beekeeping Presentation

They are also promising pollinator plant giveaways. See all the Bee, Bats, and Butterflies Pollinator Awareness Day info at the link.  The bee celebration takes place:

  • When: Sunday June 22, 2014
  • Time: 10 am to 3 pm
  • Where: Open Space Visitor Center
  • Cost: Free!

This is part of the National and New Mexico Pollinator Week, an initiative to raise pollinator awareness of species vital to our food systems and economy. We love the bees here at Albuquerque on the Cheap, and if you’re interested in keeping bees yourself, don’t forget to check out the Albuquerque Beekeepers Group which is a great resource for anyone interested in urban beekeeping.

Open Space Visitor Center is located at 6500 Coors Boulevard NW (between Montano and Paseo del Norte).



Free Meet A Wolf

December 12, 2013 by  
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Meet a friendly wolf (or two!) and celebrate the “Howl-i-days” on Sunday December 15, 2013.

This free wolf encounter event is one to note on your calendar for Sunday if you’re as fascinated as I am by these beautiful and mysterious beasts. Meet the real thing for yourself in a Wolf Meet and Greet presentation on December 15 at 12:30 pm at the Open Space Visitor Center.

Stephanie Kaylan of the Wanagi Wolf Fund will take at least two of her friendly wolves or wolf-dogs along. Hokshila the timber wolf will be there, and Bindi the wolf too. I know from experience that Stephanie is a very lively and interesting speaker on the subject of wolves and their relationship with humans. In fact, you can read my profile of her in a series I wrote of Albuquerque Insider Profiles  for their Re:Discover Albuquerque project.

The family-friendly event is free, although donations to the non-profit Wanagi Wolf Fund are welcome as this is a holiday fundraiser.  There will also be a photo-op with a wolf for a donation. You can shop for wolf calendars, stocking stuffers and wolf-fur filled ornaments, and check out the raffle.

It’s usually wise to arrive early to be sure of a seat at the beginning of the presentation, as late arrivals are not always  guaranteed admission.

Interesting note: Wanagi is Lakota for “The one who guards and protects the spirits of those who have passed onward.”

  • When: Sunday December 15, 2013
  • Time: 12:30 pm
  • Where: Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center
  • Price: Admission is FREE but donations to the Wanagi Wolf Fund and Rescue are very welcome.

Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center is located at 6500 Coors Boulevard NW. (East of Coors at the end of Bosque Meadows Road, between Montano Boulevard and Paseo del Norte.)



Bugg Lights Christmas Display

December 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Attractions, Holiday Events, Kids

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The Bugg Lights Christmas Display twinkles on selected evenings until December 24, 2013.

Albuquerque’s traditional show of the Bugg Lights Christmas Display is free to visit through the holiday season, although it’s not open every evening – see the schedule below.  The intricate display featuring animals and popular characters was originally created by the Bugg family (talk about one-upmanship on your holiday lights!) but has found a home for the last several years at Menaul School.

You can also see Santa Claus and enjoy festive entertainment with a different line-up of performers each evening including Sunset Mesa Choir, Dukes of Albuquerque, First United Methodist Church Choir, Folklorico del Valle, and more.

Although the Bugg Lights Christmas Display is free and open to all, you gotta bet your big black Santa boots that they do accept donations.

The Bugg Lights Christmas Display 2013 is on show on the evenings of:

  • Friday December 13 and Saturday December 14, at 6 pm to 9 pm
  • From Friday December 20 every night through Monday December 23, at 6 pm – 9 pm
  • Christmas Eve, Tuesday December 24, at 6 pm – 10 pm

The Bugg Lights Christmas Display is located at Menaul School, 301 Menaul Boulevard NE, just east of the Broadway intersection. Access the campus from the Menaul entrance.



Return of the Sandhill Cranes Festival

November 14, 2013 by  
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The annual Return of the Sandhill Cranes celebration is back on November 16 and 17, 2013, offering plenty of free fun, including Tai Chi. (You do it with the cranes, although who knows if the cranes will join in?)

Albuquerque’s Return of the Sandhill Crane Celebration this weekend at the Open Space Visitor Center gets us all in a flap on Saturday and Sunday November 16 – 17. It’s a great opportunity to join with others to see the sandhill cranes traveling south for the winter. Whenever I see the large flocks of cranes migrating along the Rio Grande Valley I’m awed by their beauty and grace.  I often want to fly away with them but I haven’t got the hang of that bit yet.

The free family event is not just about birdwatching through the viewing scopes, however. The line up includes:

  • A guided Bosque bird walk (8:30 am on Saturday) plus a couple of fly-in and fly-out walks
  • Tai Chi with the cranes at 9 am on both days
  • Silk painting demonstration at 11 am on Saturday
  • A tin punch workshop at 11:30 am on Saturday
  • Two performances of the musical Love in the Bosque by Phil Bock, about a romance between cranes who pass through Albuquerque along the Rio Grande. (Cute! The performances are on Saturday at 1:30 and 3 pm.)
  • See Wildlife Rescue birds from 10 am – 2 pm on Sunday (I always love that!)
  • The Albuquerque Origami Society – they usually get everyone making origami cranes
  • Films including Waking Up Crane and Stories of Wolves
  • Children’s games and crafts, and solar scopes for everyone!

See the full Return of the Sandhill Crane Celebration 2013 schedule as some events only happen once. And check the times for anything you especially want to do, as all events are subject to change.

Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center is located at 6500 Coors Boulevard NW. (East of Coors at the end of Bosque Meadows Road, between Montano Boulevard and Paseo del Norte.)



Albuquerque Chicken Coop and Rabbit Tour: July 13-14

July 12, 2013 by  
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The new Bernalillo County Coop and Rabbitry Tour pecks (and hops) into action this weekend to tour Albuquerque chicken coops, and it’s free for all the family.

This tour used to be the Albuquerque Coop and Garden Tour, which since 2008 offered inspiration to grow your own backyard edibles and keep chickens. For 2013, Bernalillo County 4-H Small Animal Projects has taken the tour weekend under its wing (ha!) and renamed it the Bernalillo County Coop and Rabbitry Tour. Yes, they’ve added rabbits to the tour!

The Bernalillo County Coop and Rabbitry Tour takes place on Saturday and Sunday July 13 – 14, from 10 am to 2 pm. Even if you aren’t ready to take the plunge into poultry-rearing or rabbit-raising just yet, the free tour of Albuquerque chicken coops looks like a fun way to get outside this weekend. I reckon kids will love it!

Check out the maps to see where all the Albuquerque chicken coops and rabbitry venues are open to the public on each day. There are 6 locations to visit on Saturday July 13 shown in this Saturday map. There are 13 locations to tour on Sunday July 14 and they are on the Sunday map.

The tours are free and open to all, and sites are only open for public visits between 10 am and 2 pm on each day.



Lavender in the Village Festival 2013

July 9, 2013 by  
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The Los Ranchos de Albuquerque Lavender in the Village festival includes live entertainment, cooking demos, how to grow lavender, lavender crafts and activities, and plenty for the kids to do.  They’ve got new additions to this sweet summer festival for 2013, including beekeepers and meet a mule or donkey!

It’ll be a fragrant weekend at the Lavender in the Village Festival in Los Ranchos on Saturday and Sunday July 13 and 14, 2013, with family fun including:

  • Lavender crafts and activities
  • Cooking with lavender demonstrations
  • Live music including Watermelon Mountain Jug Band, The Sandivas, and Railyard Reunion Band.
  • Kids’ activities in the Children’s Tent including music with Susie Tallman & Friends, face painting, storytelling, and the Wings of Enchantment Butterfly Farm.
  • A Pet Parade on July 13 at 10 am with awards (it’s free to register your own pet to the parade, from 9 am)
  • Wine tours of Casa Rondeña Winery
  • Los Ranchos Beekeepers will be talking about honey bees and how to get started keeping your own bees, with demonstration hives on site.
  • Meet donkeys or mules, courtesy of the Rio Grande Mule & Donkey Association
  • Family Fun Run/Walk on July 14 at 8 am (fee required to participate)
  • And of course, lots of lavender goodies to buy!

Check out the Lavender in the Village Festival schedule as there’s far too much going on to mention it all here.

Admission is a little higher than last year at $5 for adults. But it’s still only $2 for kids, and admission is free for children under age 10.

The Agri-Nature Center (4920 Rio Grande Boulevard) is the hub of the event, although they only have handicapped parking available there, and no other public parking. Festival park and ride shuttles will be available.

Lavender in the Village admission includes activities at all locations except a few special events, such as participation in the fun run.

Lavender in the Village Festival takes place:

  • When: July 13 and July 14, 2013
  • Time: 8 am to 4 pm both days
  • Where: Various Los Ranchos locations, with The Agri-Nature Center as the focus for many events and entertainment, but also including the Growers’ Market, Casa Rondeña Winery.
  • Price: $5 adults, $2 for kids, free for kids under 10 – cash only

The Lavender in the Village map of festival locations also shows park and ride shuttle routes – in case all that soothing lavender makes you too relaxed to walk!



Recycled Art Fair 2013

April 17, 2013 by  
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The City of Albuquerque’s fifth annual Recycled Art Fair talks trash on April 27-28, 2013, with plenty of free family fun and the chance to browse the unique and very earth-friendly work of upcycled arts and crafts people. The event takes place over two days this year, instead of just one.

The Albuquerque Recycled Art Fair at the Open Space Visitor Center is on Saturday April 27 and Sunday April 28 from 10 am to 4 pm, and admission is free.

First off you can see recycled art – a.k.a. upcycled art – made from discarded materials, for sale in the vendors’ booths. I guess at least you know that every piece of art is unique! Then check out the exhibit in the visitor center gallery: Revived! Lost, Found and Reinvented Objects of Art show.

The event also includes live music, arts and crafts workshops and other activities. Details are sketchy at time of writing, but here’s what I know:

  • Saturday April 27 features music by Juniper Hill and the Andy Moss Celtic Trio, plus a workshop on plantable stationary.
  • Sunday April 28 features storyteller Rachel Carson, kids’ activities, live music, a workshop on papermaking, games and prizes, a raffle, plus info from City of Albuquerque Solid Waste Department folk who’ll be there to answer your questions about recycling in Albuquerque.

Check out the Recycled Art Fair schedule for the latest details.

  • When: Saturday and Sunday April 27 and 28, 2013
  • Time: 10 am – 4 pm
  • Where: Open Space Visitor Center
  • Price: Free

Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center is located at 6500 Coors Boulevard NW. (East of Coors at the end of Bosque Meadows Road, between Montano Boulevard and Paseo del Norte.)



Free Junior Ranger Day for Kids at Petroglyph

April 17, 2013 by  
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To celebrate National Junior Ranger Day and National Park Week, Petroglyph National Monument hosts a day of free activities for kids on April 20, 2013, including see a wolf!

Pack a picnic lunch and take the family to join in the free events at Petroglyph National Monument Visitor Center this Saturday April 20 from 10 am to 3 pm.  Here’s the Junior Ranger Day schedule:

  • 10 am:  See a live wolf with Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary
  • 11 am: Safe solar viewing – I guess that’s the solar telescopes!
  • 1 pm:  See a raptor presentation
  • 2 pm: String a shell necklace

Usually, all the participating children have received Junior Ranger awards too.  I’ve no idea if that will be happening this year (there’s no mention of it) but we can hope so!

No reservations are needed, and there’s no fee to enter Petroglyph National Monument or to join in the activities. Call them at (505) 899-0205 x333 for any other info.



Albuquerque Comic Con 2013: January 12-13

January 6, 2013 by  
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Albuquerque Comic Con on the weekend of January 12-13, 2013 packs quite a punch. Tickets are cheaper in advance and there’s free admission for our real-life heroes: police, fire fighters, and active military.

The star-studded Albuquerque Comic Con this weekend at the Hard Rock Hotel includes Verne Troyer who played Mini Me in Austin Powers and also appeared in Harry Potter, and Denise Crosby of Star Trek Next Generation and horror films including Pet Semetary.

The cheapest way to play is by buying advance tickets at this Albuquerque Comic Con ticket page. If you wait to buy tickets on the door, adult tickets will cost $5 extra although children’s ticket prices for ages 6 – 12 remain the same. Advance ticket prices are $25 for a two-day pass ($10 for children). A daily pass for either Saturday or Sunday is $15, or $5 for kids. There are also VIP ticket options. Print out your receipt to act as a ticket, and note there is a $2 flat fee on the online tickets, for any quantity ordered. (So if you want three tickets for you and a couple of friends, order them all in one go and pay the $2 only once.)

Police, fire fighters, and active military get free admission if you take your badge and ID.

Albuquerque Comic Con is held at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (formerly the Isleta Casino & Resort) at 11000 Broadway SE. It’s about 5 miles south of Albuquerque International Sunport on I-25 exit 215.



Free Urban Farm and Harvest Festival: September 16

September 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Events, Food, Kids

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They’re making hay while the sun shines at the annual Urban Farm and Harvest Festival at the Open Space Visitor Center on September 16, 2012.  It’s a free event for all the family, and the festival at the 24-acre working farm and wildlife preserve celebrates urban farming and traditional local agriculture – and offers lots of free kids’ activities too!

The Albuquerque Urban Farm and Harvest Festival includes:

  • Live music including the Tumbleweeds and Apple Mountain
  • Hay bale rides
  • A farm-themed kids’ costume parade (11 – 11:30 am)
  • Magic, juggling, harvest games, and a kids’ art table
  • Beekeepers and a presentation on beekeeping at 11:30 am and honey harvesting at 1 pm
  • Live raptors from Wildlife Rescue (1:30 pm)
  • The Home Farming Revolution Book signing and talk at 3 pm with authors Zoe Wilcox & Melanie Rubin
  • Other workshops and demonstrations including a tin punch workshop, the history of food in New Mexico, water harvesting, and beneficial bugs!

I’ll be there with Mr Cheap, because he’s a “beneficial bug” and I’d love to find out more about him :-) Well, also I love the Open Space Visitor Center, and I wrote about them and this event in a magazine article for Urban Farm magazine as well as for, so I’m not going to miss this fifth annual festival!

They’ll also have green chile roasting, and local artisans and farmers will do their thang in the booths, including sales of local foods.  It should be a lovely way to spend a Sunday, celebrating Albuquerque’s food and farming heritage.

See the full Urban Farm and Harvest Festival schedule

  • When: Sunday September 16, 2012
  • Time: 10 am – 4 pm
  • Where: Open Space Visitor Center
  • Price: FREE!

Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center is located at 6500 Coors Boulevard NW. (East of Coors at the end of Bosque Meadows Road, between Montano Boulevard and Paseo del Norte.)



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