Animals Bird watching

Rio Grande Nature Center State Park

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The Rio Grande River is huge and beautiful!

Rio Grande Nature Center State Park is a tiny wildlife oasis located right in the middle of Albuquerque. We loved visiting this park, and will drop by on all of our future Albuquerque visits.
We started with a picnic at the shady pavilions at the park. There were five or six tables, and plenty of shade at the mouth of the park. From the parking lot and pavilions, we walked about 100 yards through the trees to the Visitor’s Center. Along the way we saw two different kinds of birds and a ground squirrel with a big bushy tail. The boys were also excited to enter the Visitor’s Center because we got to walk through a giant culvert. The nice volunteers inside showed us their playroom first. There were magnifying glasses and different things to look at, blocks to build with, animal tracks to identify, and best of all, a camera that was watching three-day old baby bluebirds! We watched for a while until the volunteer showed us the observation room.

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This sign greets you as you pull into the park, and you pay your fee here as well.

You follow this trail toward the visitor's center.

Just follow this trail toward the Visitor’s Center.

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Our boys loved walking through the “tunnel” into the Visitor’s Center.

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This room is filled with hands-on activities for the kids like making tracks in the sand, puzzles, coloring, and much more.

Our boys loved this sand table.

Our boys loved this sand table.

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We loved watching the baby bird camera!

The observation room has a huge plexiglass wall that looks out on a beautiful pond. Mallards, several kinds of turtles, wood ducks, and cormorants swim just on the other side of the glass. Hummingbirds flit around feeders hanging on the other side of the glass. It is a truly beautiful spot where you could sit for hours. We sat and watched until we’d seen enough and then went out for a walk.

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We loved the observation room. There was so much to see!

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There were turtles everywhere! Hiding in the moss, on little logs and swimming in the water!

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There were hummingbirds flying all over and enjoying the feeders, too.

There is also a small museum with information about wetlands and rivers. We spent a few minutes in here.

There is also a small museum with information about wetlands and rivers. We spent a few minutes exploring.

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Just outside the observation room is a wall filled with holes so you can look into the water from a different side. We watched a big fat squirrel eating at the bird feeder!

There is a loop trail at Rio Grande Nature Center Park that leads down to the river. Since the volunteer told us it was required to play Pooh Sticks on the bridge over the small tributary, we did. This is a stick racing game where you drop your sticks at the same time and see which one comes out first. We had fun playing for about 15 minutes.

 

After crossing the bridge, we started looking for wildlife. There are lizards and black-chinned hummingbirds everywhere. We kept our eyes peeled for porcupines in the trees, but didn’t manage to see any. When we finally reached the Rio Grande, we did see a tiny frog that would fit on the tip of your pinkie swimming in the water. The river is truly massive here, and the wetland area is beautiful.

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Getting read to race our Pooh Sticks!

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We spotted this Blue Grosbeak on our hike.

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Most of the trail is wide and easy to follow.

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There are a few signs along the way, and a few river crossings.

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Can you spy that frog on the stick? So tiny!!

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The trail ends right at the Rio Grande River.

The trail looped around to the right or left (we chose right) and headed back to the Visitor’s Center. It was an amazing state park, especially for us birders. We visited the Albuquerque Zoo, the Botanical Gardens, and the ABQ Aquarium, but Rio Grande Nature Center State Park was as good as nice as any of them!

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The Rio Grande River is huge!