You Can’t See All of Santa Fe In Three Days

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…but you can see a lot! During the upcoming Veterans Day three day weekend, immerse yourself in the natural beauty, history and culture that makes our corner of the world so intriguing and special. With free entrance to national parks on Veterans Day and free admission for veterans and their families to state-run museums every day, the weekend is proving to be a budget-friendly destination for you and your family.

Grab a Santa Fe hotel deal and start planning. Here are just a few ideas to create your memorable weekend in Santa Fe.

National Parks “Free Entrance Day”

The Ancestral Pueblo people lived in homes built of carved blocks of volcanic tuff. (Courtesy of US National Park Service)
The Ancestral Pueblo people lived in homes built of carved blocks of volcanic tuff. (Courtesy of US National Park Service)

Did someone say day trip? Take some time to discover the magnificent landscape and diverse cultures surrounding the city. Why not take advantage of the U.S. National Park Service Free Entrance Day this Veterans Day?  Two U.S. National Parks are within close driving distance and make a worthwhile and enjoyable day trip.

(Photo courtesy of US National Park Service)
This site is the setting of a continuous story of human habitation covering a 7,000-year period. (Photo courtesy of US National Park Service)

Pecos National Historical Park is situated in the midst of pinon, juniper and ponderosa pine woodlands in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This historical park demonstrates the cultural exchange and geographic facets central to the rich history of the Pecos Valley. At this historical park you will find the remains of what was once the largest Indian pueblo in the Southwest. Pecos Pueblo dominated a major trading route between the farming Pueblo Indians and the Great Plains hunters.

Bandelier National Monument is situated amongst 33,000 acres of canyon and mesa country. There is evidence of human presence going back 11,000 years. Explore Bandelier with a walk on the Main Loop Trail which leads you through excavated archaeological sites. There are other trails of different lengths and difficulty which lead to the top of the mesa. Make sure to view the ancestral pueblo “Long House” dwelling.

New Mexico’s Veteran History

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The New Mexico National Guard Museum is a hidden jewel in Santa Fe. (Photo courtesy of NMNGHM)

Delving deeper into the Land of Enchantment’s past comes via the New Mexico National Guard Military Museum. Storied figures like Kit Carson fought on the Union side in the Civil War era and New Mexicans served with Teddy Roosevelt’s Roughriders. World War Two’s Pacific Theater intelligence relied on the Navajo Code Talkers’ unique skills, and the notorious Bataan Death March claimed many of our native sons. New Mexico boasts one of the nation’s largest per capita veterans populations, with their experiences intriguingly represented at this fascinating museum. Admission is free. After a visit to the New Mexico National Guard Military Museum be sure to visit some of our other local museums.

Immerse Yourself In History, Culture and Art

All veterans and active duty military personnel and their families enjoy free admission every day to all state-run museums and monuments. Take the time this Veterans Day weekend to enjoy the many special exhibits on display in Santa Fe.

From ancient artifacts to computer interactives, the New Mexico History Museum brings the past to life and challenges you to look at the American story in new ways. Transport your family through 500 years of New Mexico state history, by visiting the exhibit, “Telling New Mexico: Stories from Then and Now” which explores the experiences of Native peoples, Spanish colonists, Santa Fe Trail riders, outlaws, the railroad, artists, scientists, hippies and more. Another exhibit worth checking out is “Setting the Standard: the Fred Harvey Company and its Legacy”. Learn about Fred Harvey and how he pioneered cultural tourism, the chain restaurant and farm to table gastronomy.

El Santo , 1919 Marsden Hartley oil on canvas 36 x 32 in. Anonymous gift from a friend of Southwest art, 1919 523.23P
Many artworks such as this one will found in the exhibit “Southwest Sampler” (Photo courtesy of New Mexico Museum of Art)

After visiting the New Mexico History Museum, head across the street to the New Mexico Museum of Art. On display is “Southwest Sampler”.  You’ll view a selection of artworks that showcases work created in New Mexico and works by Taos Society of Artists, Santa Fe Art Colony member and others. This is one of the best collections of regional artwork that defines the early beginnings of Northern New Mexico life and art.

The Morris Circus is modeled after a 1930s “railroad circus,” back in the days when a circus would come to town by rail, set up in a day, perform for a local audience, then pack up and move on to the next venue. (Photo courtesy of MOIFA)
The Morris Circus is modeled after a 1930s “railroad circus,” back in the days when a circus would come to town by rail, set up in a day, perform for a local audience, then pack up and move on to the next venue. (Photo courtesy of MOIFA)

Just a short drive from the Santa Fe Plaza is Museum Hill. You can even take the free Santa Fe Pickup Shuttle  shuttle from the Plaza. There you will find the Museum of International Folk Art—home to the world’s largest collection of folk art. Exhibition galleries have special appeal to children of all ages with their interactive activities and regularly scheduled docent-led hands on art making activities. Now showing at the Museum of International Folk Art Museum is The Morris Minature Circus: Return of the Little Big Top. This miniature circus was built over a course of forty years and is a 3/8” scale circus model. This exhibit will surely delight you and your family.

Just across Milner Plaza on Museum Hill, you will find A New Century: The Life and Legacy of Cherokee Artist and Educator Lloyd Kiva New exhibit at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. The exhibit reviews the life of this American Indian visionary. New was a pioneer in the worlds of fashion, entrepreneurship, and Native art instruction. His vision of cultural studies and creative arts education continues to influence and inspire.

Getting a good deal in Santa Fe can be almost as thrilling as your trip itself, no matter what your travel budget is. With that in mind, please check out our Deals and Specials. Start planning your next Santa Fe weekend getaway by ordering your 2016 Santa Fe travel guide. We hope to see you soon!

 

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