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.



Albuquerque National Get Outdoors Day: June 8

June 5, 2013 by  
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National Get Outdoors Day 2013 on June 8 encourages us to back slowly away from the remote control and brave the Realm of No Air Conditioning, otherwise known as Outside.

Once we’re there, we’ll find free outdoor fun at Tingley Beach for all the family this Saturday for National Get Outdoors Day. The event at Tingley Beach includes:

  • Rock climbing walls
  • Learning about camping
  • Fishing clinic
  • Wildlife watching
  • Short guided hikes into the bosque

You can also usually get more info too about cheap outdoor activities and local events this summer.

National Get Outdoors Day at Tingley Beach is not actually a full day, just kind of an extended lunchtime, so we can probably all manage that.

  • When: Saturday June 8, 2013
  • Time: 10 am to 2 pm
  • Where: Tingley Beach, 1800 Tingley Dr SW

And it’s all totally free.

Find out more about National Get Outdoors day at this link. The America-wide initiative aims to promote healthy outdoor fun activities and recreation, especially for young people and families. My idea of outdoor recreation is usually a picnic followed by an open-air nap, but I suspect that’s probably not what they’re thinking about.



Bernalillo County Free Movies in the Park

May 30, 2013 by  
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Here’s a great free Albuquerque film series this summer, providing the perfect excuse to enjoy a picnic while watching family-friendly free movies in the park.

The Bernalillo County Free Movies in the Park 2013 series runs on various Friday and Saturday evenings until September 20, at different outdoor locations around town.

The next free Movies in the Park dates are:

June 1 – The Amazing Spider Man with Andrew Garfield in the title role
June 7 – Les Miserables featuring a slew of unhappy French people played by a star-studded cast including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway
June 8 – ParaNorman, an animated film featuring a boy who tackles ghosts, zombies and (even worse) grown-ups to save his home town from a centuries-old curse
June 14 – The Pursuit of Happyness starring the fantabulous Will Smith
June 15 – Hotel Transylvania with a fresh take on Dracula in this animated movie voiced by Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, and others.

The schedule may change, and the movies start at dusk at different locations each time, so check out the full Bernalillo County Free Movies in the Park program.

It’s fine to take blankets, lawn chairs, and coolers with a picnic, but no alcohol. In previous years any other beverages also had to be in a sealed (unopened) container, just in case you were spiking your orange juice with vodka :-) Now, would we ever do that?

Take note: All outdoor movies are weather-permitting.



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.



Free Urban Farm and Harvest Festival: September 16

September 10, 2012 by  
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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.)



Civic Cinema Free: July 27

July 24, 2012 by  
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Enjoy an outdoor movie viewing experience like no other with Civic Cinema –  films shown on a giant screen on the Downtown Civic Plaza! It’s a cool, fun, free family event, just like an old-fashioned drive-in, except it’s a walk-in.

The next City of Albuquerque Civic Cinema movie will be on Friday July 27 and the movie is Back to the Future.  The free movie screening will start at darkness, at approximately 8:30 pm, but it’s wise to arrive early to nab your space. The city will provide seating, but you’re welcome to take your own blankets. Heck you can even take Fido, as long as he’s leashed.

After this movie, the final free Civic Cinema screening for 2012 will be on Friday August 3, so save the date!

Civic Cinema takes place at the Harry E. Kinney Civic Plaza in the heart of downtown Albuquerque.



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