Albuquerque New Mexico
April 2000

Beakman's World Tour Albuquerque is a great city with lots of sites and several museums.  We went to the science museum and stumbled onto Beakman's World On Tour.  Beakman is a kid's science show on TV.  It's pretty nutty and has a very funny guy, "Beakman",  along with a young female assistant, a six foot tall fat guy that wears a gray rat suit, (he's often the object of an experiment), and commentary from two penguins. 
 

 

Beakman's Tour included a lot of hands on displays.  However, most of the hands on aspect was to lift doors, spin drums, lift out cards and push computer buttons to access written information that went along with static displays.  Mitch and Max were reading through the displays looking for answers to complete a worksheet.  This activity is similar to a scavenger hunt for science information.
Several bus loads of elementary school kids arrived for a field trip.  With a ratio of ten kids to one adult, most of the kids were on their own.  Soon Max had two questions.  First, he asked if we could go to different section of the museum because it was too noisy.  Then he asked, "how can these kids be learning anything? All they do is run around and play with the moving parts."
After that question, we did notice that it looked more like a playground scene than a museum.
Two favorite exhibits were the world wide earthquake display with realtime updates from the USGS webpage and the high powered binocular microscopes.

We looked at everything we could fit under the lens.  The boys ended up washing their hands before eating for the next two days and still refused to eat anything Ed cuts with his pocket knife.

 

Later that night we heard on the news that the state of New Mexico has the highest crime rate in the nation.  We agree with this claim-to-fame because Mitch's bike was stolen that day.  While we were in the museum someone pried it off of the top of the truck.  At least the bike rack was not damaged beyond repair since it cost more than the bike.

We rode one of the world's longest trams to the top of Sandia Peak.
 

You can barely see the tram midway along the cable.  The base of the tram is over the peak and down in the valley seen in the far distance.

Have you heard that the temperature drops six degrees for every one thousand feet of elevation?  It was near freezing at the top and the kids barely stood still long enough for this picture.  They look like turtles with their necks tucked in.
The top of the peak is long and narrow.  It's a few miles long, but here it is only fifty feet wide before it starts down the back side.  On the back side are ski trails and a couple of ski lifts.  There was a little snow left on the ground but they never got that much this year.  Most of their snow was man-made.

We could see for twenty to forty miles in both directions.  As the sun set we could even see the sun reflecting off windows in Santa Fe. 

 

Over dinner we could see the tram going up and down and watch a hang glider soaring back and forth out the window.  I was wondering if a hang glider could become distracted by the scenery and fly right into the tram cables.
We went on to Santa Fe, New Mexico but returned on the weekend to attend the Gathering of Nations.  Every year Indian Nations from across the country gather in Albuquerque for three days of dance and festival. 
Their clothing and costume is an amazing display of color and exquisite craft work.

The Boy's enjoyed the missile display at the National Atomic Museum across the street from Sandia Labs.  This museum presented the history of atomic technology as well as the history of missiles and bombs.

Here Mitch and Max are standing next to models of the bombs that brought an end to World War II.  They are known as "Fat Man" and "Little Boy".

Outside was another twenty to thirty missiles and rockets that were too large to put inside.

This was Max's favorite missile.  He was real surprised how large many of the missles really are when we stood close to them.



 
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