Albuquerque Day Trip via Rail Runner
Trip Start Jun 01, 2011
60Trip End Jul 31, 2011
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The train must have been somewhat popular as the parking lots were almost full when I got there
The station is right in the middle of the ABQ as the city is called sometimes. The downtown area does not have many high rise or out-of-the-world buildings. But it is nice and compact and unlike Atlanta, it has a REAL train station. Besides this commuter train, the AMTRAK and Greyhound stations are also hear with commuter buses going in all kinds of directions. A real transportation center. Out of the train I quickly found my bus that would take me to the ABQ Bio Park
The Bio Park includes an aquarium, botanical gardens, and a zoo. All this for $12. Heck, back in the ATL, just the zoo costs more than that. Now, the aquarium is not near as large as the Georgia Aquarium or the Tennessee Aquarium, but it had most of the cool fish you’re looking for anyway. I saw Sting Rays, sharks, Puffer Fish, Coral Fish, etc. The Botanical Gardens was just a real nice place to walk around and smell the roses. The zoo, however, was almost three miles away. That is going to be a long hot walk in the area of the world. However, the smart people at ABQ Bio Park built a small train to take you there. What a concept. Oh, and the train is included in the $12 cost. It was slow – took 30 min. to get to the zoo – but when you’re here who cares about time. The zoo was top notch – just as good as or better than Zoo Atlanta. It had all the usual suspects and a few more cool animals of note. There were White Rhinoceros, a koala, polar bear, and others. The layout was nicely done also. After an hour and a half at the zoo, I took the train back to the botanical area to catch the bus back past downtown. Now I was heading toward a neighborhood called Nob Hill. It is right across from the University of New Mexico. Well, when you mix a university with a neighborhood, you are going to get some unique places to shop and eat.
The place I choose was not an eccentric place – the Route 66 Diner. You see, the road that runs right though Nob Hill was the old Route 66. So mixed in are some historic buildings and hotels from the period. The Route 66 diner just served good-ol American food. I did try some authentic New Mexican food – Green Chili Stew with a tortilla (wow, one of the best stews I have ever had) and a Green Chili Cheeseburger (another major wow)
After my meal it was time to walk the Nob, with all the cool shops. It felt a little like downtown Athens back in Georgia or Little Five Points in Atlanta. I got my daughter some posters from this place that has 30,000 of them (but no Lost posters). And I went to several other shops but just to look. After a few hours here and soaking up the vibe, I took the bus back past downtown to Old Town Albuquerque. This was another place just like Santa Fe and Taos with the old Spanish Mission type square with adobe shops all around. Again, I went into a few shops and did get a few things (a few shops had stuff for much cheaper than other places). It too had its share of galleries, nut it is not near as famous as Santa Fe and Taos and it was much less crowded than those two cities.
Coming to Old Town meant that I missed the first of three trains heading back. My goal was to hit the second train and not have to wait around for the third train. I was getting tired now after I had been on my feet all day – except for lunch. Since I was short on time, it took awhile for the bus to get me. Lucky for me, downtown was only 10 min. away by bus. I got on my train in downtown with 7 min. to spare. It felt good to sit down and watch the city pass away and turn into fields along the Rio Grande. Back home, Pooh had a great day just chilling and then we just relaxed for the rest of the evening as a major rainless storm came through.