Looking for Free Activities for Kids in Albuquerque? I’ve got you covered! Here is a list of 20 free things to do with your bambinos in the 505!
When I first moved to Albuquerque in 2016, I had just gotten a divorce, moved into a much more expensive apartment than I was used to, and my budget was tight! I wasn’t used to the higher cost of activities in a larger city, and had to be really careful about planning activities I could afford.
I didn’t want my kids cooped up inside all day, so I quickly learned the best places I could take my kids to that were free.
Two years later, I feel like I’m somewhat of an expert on the funnest, most engaging places to take kids when you’re on a tight (or non-existent) budget!
20 Free Activities for Kids in Albuquerque
Museum Discovery Pass Program
Most of the public libraries in Albuquerque have the Museum Discovery Pass Program, which allows you to check out passes for free to some of the best museums in the city, including:
- Albuquerque International Balloon Museum (admission is also free on Sundays from 9am – 1pm)
- Albuquerque Museum of Art and History (admission is also free on Sundays from 9am – 1pm)
- ¡Explora! (<– my kid’s FAVORITE)
- Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico
- Maxwell Museum of Anthropology
- National Museum of Nuclear Science & History
- New Mexico Family Pass (visit any of 15 state museums and historic sites throughout NM)
- Unser Racing Museum
It’s free to join the library, and the passes are on a first come, first served basis. While you’re at the library, let your kids borrow a couple of books, and check one out for yourself!
Located near the Rio Grande Bosque, Tingley Beach has three fishing ponds that you can visit for free. Pack up lunch and grab a blanket and you can enjoy a picnic by the pond on a warm afternoon.
You can also bring oats, corn, or seeds to feed the hundreds of ducks that inhabit the area.
Paseo del Bosque Trail
Taking a walk or bike ride through the Bosque is a great way for kids to burn off some energy and get some Vitamin D. There are 16 miles of paved multi-use trails, and lots of cottonwoods that frame the Rio Grande. It’s gorgeous.
Petroglyph National Monument
Located west of I-25 is the Petroglyph National Monument, which is one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America. There you will find designs and symbols that were carved into volcanic rocks 400 – 700 years ago.
Entry into the park is free, but there is a $1 parking fee on weekdays and $2 parking fee on weekends.
The first time I went to Old Town, I was surprised at how much it reminded me of Santa Fe! In Old Town, you’ll find adobe buildings, folk art, Flamenco dancing, Mexican restaurants, and Mariachi music, submerging you in an almost different world and time.
There is plenty of fun and free entertainment when you visit Old Town plaza with kids.
ABQ BioPark – Aquarium, Botanic Garden, & Zoo
While not free, if you purchase an annual membership to the Albuqeurque BioPark, you get unlimited entry into the aquarium, botanic garden, and zoo (including the Zoo Boo and Harvest Festival).
Family memberships start at $99 per year (for 2 adults and 4 children), and IMO, are definitely worth it. My family regularly packs picnics to enjoy at the zoo or botanic garden, and we visit the animals at the zoo and aquarium.
They also host a Mother’s Day concert at the zoo, which is really lovely. And the polar bears are a must see!
Off of I-40 at Atrisco Vista Boulevard, are five cinder cone volcanoes that were formed over 100,000 years ago. It’s open from 9 am to 5pm daily.
UNM Carino Early Childhood Toy Library
Cariño Toy Lending Library is a joint venture between UNM and CNM, with the help of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, offering thousands of educational toys, materials, books, games, and videos for parents to check out for free.
They have resources for all ages and stages of development, and are also a great resource for teachers and caregivers.
It’s basically a library, but with toys. Pretty awesome, right?
Take advantage of being so close to the Sandia Mountains by visiting Sandia Peak! Drive east on I-40 and take the Cedar Crest exit (NM 14), then turn left on Sandia Crest Rd, where you can drive all the way up to the top of the mountain.
There are lots of hiking trails and breathtaking views on the way!
Every summer, the City of Albuquerque puts on 4 Summerfest parties, where you and your little ones can enjoy free music, activities for kids, lots of food trucks, and entertainment.
Summerfest takes place in four areas of town: the Heights, Route 66, Downtown, and Westside. Grab the dates and learn more here.
Musical Highway on Route 66
There is a quarter mile section on route 66, just outside of Albuquerque (by Carnuel) that plays “America the Beautiful” when you drive across it going 45 miles per hour. Take your kids for a car ride and enjoy the fun!
On the third Friday of every month, you and your littles can go on a self-guided gallery walking tour around the city to explore art!
Learn more here.
UNM Duck Pond
In the center of UNM, there is a beautiful and serene duck pond! It’s a great place for a picnic, or just for an afternoon stroll, and it’s free of charge.
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