Posts Tagged ‘parks’

City of Rocks

January 2nd, 2010
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Rock formations like those at the City of Rocks State Park exist in only six other places in the world. Imaginative visitors may see the rock formations as a small city with houses, chimneys, courtyards and streets. Visitors can choose from 62 campsites scattered among the rocks, from which they can hike, bird watch, picnic, bike, take in the interpretive exhibits at the visitor center, explore the parks botanical garden or star gaze.

City of Rocks State Park lies in the Mimbres Valley of the Chihuahuan desert. The park and surrounding grassland support yucca, agave, cacti and ocotillo, while growing among the rocks are Emory and gray oak. Mule deer, roadrunners, javelinas, cactus wrens, western diamondback rattlesnakes, ground squirrels, coyotes and jackrabbits all make their home here. Until 1200 A.D., Mimbres Indians roamed this area, leaving arrowheads and pottery shards as evidence of their culture.

The park also lies within the traditional homelands of the Chiricahua and Warm Springs Apache. Spanish explorers and settlers arrived in 1500 and mule trains loaded with copper from the nearby Santa Rita mine passed nearby on their way to Chihuahua from 1804 to 1834. After the Mexican War of 1846-48, the Mormon Battalion blazed a trail south of the park to link newly acquired New Mexico and Arizona with the eastern United States.

Angel Peak in Bloomfield, New Mexico

December 19th, 2009
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Angel Peak Scenic Area offers more than 10,000 acres of rugged terrain recognized for its scenic and scientific wonders. The nearly 7,000-foot Angel Peak, a landmark composed of river deposited sandstone from the San Jose Formation, is visible for miles in any direction. However, the banded colors of the badlands and the deep sculpted fingers of the canyon at the base of Angel Peak are only fully revealed to those who make the short journey along the rim.

The panoramic view of the canyon offers the visitor a spectacular glimpse into the earths past. This landscape etched by time, has been more than 60 million years in the making, and the geology of the area is as important to understanding the evolution of mammals, as it is spectacular to view.

City of Rocks State Park

November 4th, 2009
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Formed of volcanic ash 30 million years ago and sculpted by wind and water into rows of monolithic blocks, City of Rocks State Park in Faywood (near Deming) takes its name from these incredible rock formations. Cactus gardens and hiking trails add to this unique destination. The rock formations at the park are so unique that they are only known to exist in six other places in the world. Imaginative visitors may see the rock formations as a small city, complete with houses, chimneys, courtyards, and streets.

Until 1200 A.D., Mimbres Indians roamed this area and left arrowheads and pottery shards as evidence of their culture. Spanish conquistadors also spent time in the area, carving crosses into the rocks.

City of Rocks was the first New Mexico state park to receive an observatory. The observatory consists of a 12 x 16 building with a roll-off roof and is permanently equipped with a 14″ Meade LX-200. The entire facility is solar-powered and includes a 20-inch monitor, which allows several visitors to simultaneously view the jewels in the night sky, as images are transmitted through the telescope.

Visitors can see a sampling of southwestern plants and animals. The park’s desert botanical garden is home to cow’s tongue and bunny ear cacti, yucca, and towering century plants. Deer, antelope, javelinas and jackrabbits are frequently seen in the area, along with over 35 species of birds, ranging from golden eagles to finches.

Hidden Treasure: Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

November 4th, 2009
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The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is a remarkable outdoor laboratory, offering an opportunity to observe, study, and experience the geologic processes that shape natural landscapes. The national monument, on the Pajarito Plateau in north-central New Mexico, includes a national recreation trail and ranges from 5,570 feet to 6,760 feet above sea level.

The cone-shaped tent rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago and left pumice, ash and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. Tremendous explosions from the Jemez volcanic field spewed pyroclasts (rock fragments), while searing hot gases blasted down slopes in an incandescent avalanche called a pyroclastic flow. In close inspections of the arroyos, visitors will discover small, rounded, translucent obsidian (volcanic glass) fragments created by rapid cooling. Please leave these fragments for others to enjoy.

Precariously perched on many of the tapering hoodoos are boulder caps that protect the softer pumice and tuff below. Some tents have lost their hard, resistant caprocks and are disintegrating. While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet.

As the result of uniform layering of volcanic material, bands of gray are interspersed with beige and pink-colored rock along the cliff face. Over time, wind and water cut into these deposits, creating canyons and arroyos, scooping holes in the rock, and contouring the ends of small, inward ravines into smooth semi-circles.

Albuquerque Biological Park

July 23rd, 2009
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The Albuquerque Biological Park is the Albuquerque Aquarium, Rio Grande Botanic Garden, Rio Grande Zoo and Tingley Beach.

The Albuquerque Aquarium takes visitors on a journey down the Rio Grande from Albuquerque to its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico. Fresh water riverine, estuarine, surf zone, shallow waters, coral reefs, open ocean and deep ocean species are represented along the way. Other highlights include an eel tunnel, seahorses, luminous jellies and a 285,000 gallon ocean tank where brown, sandtiger, blacktip and nurse sharks swim alongside brilliantly colored reef fish, eels, sea turtles and open ocean species.

The Rio Grande Botanic Garden is located across the plaza from the Albuquerque Aquarium and bordered on the west by the famed Rio Grande and the largest cottonwood gallery forest in the world, the lush and peaceful Rio Grande Botanic Garden is an oasis in the desert.

The Rio Grande Zoo was founded in 1927 and the 64-acre Rio Grande Zoo offers visitors close encounters with more than 250 species of exotic and native animals. Popular species include seals and sea lions, chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, elephants, polar bears, giraffes, hippos, camels, tamarins, koalas, Mexican wolves, mountain lions, monkeys, jaguars, zebras and rhinoceros. State-of-the-art exhibit design and eye-pleasing landscaping enhance zoo animal husbandry by creating naturalistic habitats with trees, grasses, water features and rockwork. Walking distance through the zoo is about 2.25 miles.

Tingley Beach features three fishing lakes, a model boating pond and a train station with gift shop and food service. During the summer only, Tingley visitors can rent pedal boats and bicycles. Tingley Beach is open from sunrise to sunset every day of the year and is free to the general public on a first come, first served basis.

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