Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.
Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m. Remember to bring your nametag (sent previously). This is a large group program; participants will be separated into two smaller color groups for some activities. Groups will be determined by Road Scholar in advance of the program start; if you are travelling with someone with whom you would like to be grouped, please include their name(s) on your Personal Information & Preferences as far in advance as possible.
Afternoon: Program Registration: 2:30-4:30 p.m. After you check in and have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff, get any updated information, and confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please locate your Group Leader and let them know you have arrived. Orientation with your color group: 5:00 p.m. Your Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Our experienced and knowledgeable Group Leader will conduct field trips and we will learn from a series of local experts who will give lectures. Program-related travel and transfers will be via private motorcoach unless noted otherwise. We will have meals in the hotel banquet room, local restaurants, and at Balloon Fiesta Park, featuring local cuisine wherever possible. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Dinner: In the hotel meeting room.
Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the full day ahead.
Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles; climbing flights of stairs, standing up to an hour at a time, paved and uneven surfaces.
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: We will begin the morning with an overview by our Group Leader of the area’s history, from its earliest Ancestral Puebloan inhabitants to Spanish and American soldiers and settlers who followed. We will then set out on a walking field trip to Old Town for an introduction by our Group Leader, followed by time to explore the area independently. We suggest visiting the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. Both are in Old Town, which has been the focal point of community life since Albuquerque was founded in 1706. About 10 blocks of historical adobe buildings surround the central plaza, including San Felipe de Neri Church that dates back to 1793. The city’s settlers built homes, shops, and government offices here; many of these historical structures have been converted into the restaurants, art galleries, and shops we see today. The Albuquerque Museum, established in 1967, is one of the leading institutions for art, history, and culture in the Southwest, highlighting the unique culture of the people, history, and art through exceptional exhibitions. The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science features eight exhibition halls tracing the area’s journey through time. Other permanent exhibits include a planetarium and galleries focusing on astronomy and space exploration.
Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Afternoon: We’ll have some time for independent exploration before returning to the hotel. There, we’ll be joined by an expert professional balloonist who will give us a presentation on hot-air ballooning and will provide a behind-the-scenes look into the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Dinner: At a local restaurant.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving 40 miles, at least 1 hour riding time over the course of the day (depending on traffic). Walking over packed dirt, grass, and paved terrain at the Balloon Museum; standing and walking for up to 2 hours at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Balloon ascensions and flights are weather-dependent and may be cancelled at any time by Balloon Fiesta officials.
Breakfast: At the Chasers' Club at Balloon Fiesta Park.
Morning: Our motorcoach will depart at 4:45 a.m. for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Park to experience the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. From our fabulous vantage point on the Field, we are right in the action. We will be able to observe the Mass Ascension and explore the Field. Due to the large number of people in attendance and the size of the Park (crowds can exceed 100,000 people, and the launch field is 78 acres, the equivalent of 54 football fields put together), it’s impractical to view all the events as a group; you may choose to stay near the Chasers’ Club or walk around the field. During Mass Ascensions, all participating balloons launch in two waves as directed by “zebras,” launch coordinators recognizable by their striped black-and-white shirts. Note: Balloon ascensions and flights are weather-dependent and may be cancelled at any time by Balloon Fiesta officials. At a designated time and place, we will meet our Group Leader for a short walk to the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, where we will have time for independent exploration of the many fascinating exhibits. We’ll then board our motorcoach and depart for the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.
Lunch: At the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.
Afternoon: The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is operated by the nineteen Pueblos of New Mexico, dedicated to preserving and perpetuating Pueblo culture as well as highlighting the accomplishments and evolving history of the Pueblo people. During our self-directed exploration, we’ll have opportunities to learn about New Mexico’s many different Pueblos as we view Pueblo-curated exhibits on the lower level. We’ll return to the hotel with some time to freshen up and relax before setting out for dinner and evening events at Balloon Fiesta.
Dinner: At the Gondola Club at Balloon Fiesta Park.
Evening: We will enjoy both the Twinkle Twinkle Glow™ and the AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show. The Balloon Glow is a special moment at dusk when tethered balloons ignite their burners and inflate without launching, glowing from within in a display of rich colors. Afterwards, the AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show lights up the sky with a spectacular display that brings the evening to a perfect close. We will return to the hotel after the fireworks show concludes. Prepare for the early morning field trip tomorrow.
Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 40 miles, approximately 1.5 hours riding time throughout the day. Walking up to 2 miles over varied terrain, climbing ladders at Coronado; standing up to 2 hours at a time; varied terrain. Crowded conditions. Balloon ascensions and flights are weather-dependent and may be cancelled at any time by Balloon Fiesta officials.
Breakfast: At the Chasers’ Club at Balloon Fiesta Park.
Morning: We’ll set out for our second morning of the Balloon Fiesta by 4:45 a.m. This morning’s session is scheduled to include another Mass Ascension. Today, we will be right on the field, among the balloons as they inflate and take flight; participants are welcome to explore the launch field independently to see what interests each of us most. We’ll regroup at a predetermined time and place after the balloon launch and return to the hotel. Afterwards, we’ll return to the hotel for some time to freshen up and relax before lunch.
Lunch: At a popular local restaurant.
Afternoon: After lunch at the Balloon Fiesta Park, we will explore the art, history and culture of Albuquerque and the Southwest at the Albuquerque Museum.The Albuquerque Museum opened in 1967 in the Albuquerque International Sunport. After outgrowing that location, a new facility was built and the museum has been in it's current location since 1979. The museum's permanent exhibits includes an impressive art collection that showcases the finest in New Mexico artists, as well as the history of Albuquerque including early maps, conquistador armor, weavings, and other relics of colonial life in New Mexico. There are also changing exhibits, a photo archive, art galleries, and an outdoor sculpture garden. Returning to the hotel, we’ll have some independent time to do as we wish. Before dinner, we'll join with our color groups for a program closing.
Dinner: At the hotel. Share favorite experiences and enjoy camaraderie with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.
Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.
Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.
Breakfast: At the hotel. This concludes our program.
Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!