New Mexico
Christmas in Albuquerque
Revel in the displays at BioPark’s River of Lights, attend Christmas Day dances at Jemez and Kewa Pueblos and learn about New Mexican arts as you celebrate Christmas in Albuquerque.
Rating (4.75)
Program No. 14369RJ
7 days
Starts at
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7 days
6 nights
16 meals
6 B 4 L 6 D
Getting There
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Registration, Orientation, Introductions, Welcome Dinner
Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town

Activity note: Check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff, to get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule and other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet at the front desk when you check in. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Transportation for program-related activities will be via motorcoach unless specified otherwise. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please be aware that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Buffet or plated meal In our private meeting room with a salad, entrée, dessert, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Take the rest of the evening to continue getting to know your fellow participants, relax, and get a good night’s sleep for the full day ahead.

History of NM & Albuquerque, Old Town, River of Lights
Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile over the course of the day; paved terrain; standing up to 1 hour at River of Lights. The River of Lights is outside, so please dress accordingly.

Breakfast: In our private meeting room, choose what you like from a buffet with hot and cold selections such as eggs, breakfast meat, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: This morning we'll be joined by a local expert and learn about the history of New Mexico and Albuquerque. We'll then go for a walking field trip in Old Town, which has been the focal point of community life since Albuquerque was founded in 1706. About ten blocks of historic adobe buildings surround the central plaza, including San Felipe de Neri Church, which dates back to 1793. The city's settlers built their homes, shops and government offices here; many of these have been converted into the restaurants, art galleries and shops that we'll see today.

Lunch: Plated meal at an Old Town restaurant includes choice of entrée, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration and using your “culture pass” to explore two of Albuquerque’s outstanding mueums. Exhibits at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science include “Time Tracks: A Walk Through Time,” “Fossilworks,” and the Naturalist Center. The Albuquerque Museum across the street is considered one of the leading institutions for art, history, and culture in the Southwest. The interactive exhibition on Albuquerque details life in the Rio Grande Valley including history up to and including Route 66. The 'culture pass' will provide admission to the NM Museum of Natural History. The Albuquerque Art Museum will be on your own.

Dinner: At a local favorite, includes choice of entrée, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We’ll reboard our coach and ride to the Albuquerque BioPark for the annual "River of Lights," New Mexico's largest walk-through light show. There are many sculptures and displays designed and constructed by Albuquerque BioPark artists and craftsmen, as well as live musical entertainment.

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Hands-On Art Class
Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; walking and standing at the Pueblo Cultural Center.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning, we'll board our motorcoach and depart on a field trip to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. This beautiful, unique center preserves and perpetuates Pueblo culture and advances understanding of the accomplishments and evolving history of the Pueblo people of New Mexico. We'll see the tribally-curated exhibits that present Pueblo legacy through art and oral histories of the Native Americans of the region. Native American dances will also be performed during our visit.

Lunch: At the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, enjoy a plated meal or buffet featuring local cuisine, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll be joined by an award-winning local artist who will teach us about some traditional New Mexican handcrafts as we create our own piece of folk art to take home (materials provided.)

Dinner: Buffet or plated meal In our private meeting room with a salad, entrée, dessert, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Evening at leisure

Holiday Music, Museum of Nuclear Science, Luminaria Tour
Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; standing and walking for up to 1 1/2 hours at museum.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we'll be treated to a performance of festive holiday music presented by a very special group of notable instrumentalists, Music for All Seasons. MFAS was created in 1991 as a program to bring solace and heal people’s lives, providing live, interactive musical programs especially to those who have no regular access to the arts.

Lunch: At a local favorite, includes choice of entrée, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We'll travel to the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History for a docent-led exploration. Museum exhibits cover the history of atomic theory, geopolitical politics, the origins of World War II and the Cold War, the Manhattan Project, nuclear medicine and nanotechnology. Return to the hotel following the museum visit.

Dinner: At the hotel or a select Old Town restaurant.

Evening: This evening we'll go on a motorcoach excursion, riding through a twinkling wonderland in neighborhoods filled with Christmas lights and the golden glow of Albuquerque's “luminarias.” Traditional luminarias are simply brown paper bags filled with a few cups of sand and a votive candle. They are placed on the ground, along pathways, and other spots where the illumination creates a magical effect.

Jemez Pueblo Field Trip, Holiday Luncheon, Kewa Pueblo
Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; walking several blocks; varied terrain, possibly snowy or muddy; standing for up to 3 hours at the Pueblos. It may be cold and snowy, please dress accordingly.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Merry Christmas! We'll board our motorcoach and take a field trip to Jemez Pueblo to observe the Buffalo Dance. Pueblo dances are a blend of religious ceremonies with seasonal celebrations of Native American culture and beliefs that are deeply meaningful to members of the community. They are not public performances, and it is a privilege for us to attend. Please observe quietly and respectfully without comments or applause; photography is not allowed. See the "Web Links" section of your Information Packet for guidelines regarding Native American cultural etiquette during Pueblo visits.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: After lunch, we'll depart for Kewa Pueblo (formerly known as Santo Domingo). Kewa is one of the most populous yet least open of all New Mexican pueblos. It is home to many talented artists who rely on contact with outside markets for their livelihood and are happy to see visitors. The pueblo has an especially lovely Catholic church and some fine arts and crafts shops. It is a Keres-speaking pueblo established in the 15th century by immigrants from villages atop the nearby Pajarito Plateau. Kewa was the site in 1598 of the first gathering of thirty-eight pueblo governors when Don Juan de Onate called on the Pueblo peoples to pledge allegiance to the Spanish Crown. Today, the All-Indian Pueblo Council assembles here for its first meeting of the year, continuing this oldest of America's political gatherings. Currently, the tribe has a population of more than 4,500 people, two-thirds of whom live on the reservation, which encompasses 81,000 acres, including upland mesas, grasslands, a portion of the Galisteo Creek drainage, and astretch of the Rio Grande. Santo Domingo artisans are known for beadwork and other jewelry and pottery.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Optional video: A Southwest Christmas.

Santa Fe Field Trip, Museum Hill, Free Time, Closing Dinner
Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town

Activity note: Santa Fe is a 7,000 feet above sea level. Motorcoach trip is about 60 miles, approximately an hour depending on traffic. Getting on/off motorcoach; walking up to a mile on the walking exploration and on your own; standing up to 2 hours in the museums.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we'll depart via motorcoach for Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico. It is the oldest capital city in the U.S. and the highest altitude. Our first stop will be Museum Hill for self-directed visits to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the Museum of International Folk Art. The MIAC offers a huge collection of pottery, basketry, rugs, jewelry and artifacts, mostly from tribes of the southwest region. The exhibits are beautifully displayed and documented. The Museum of International Folk Art's holdings constitute the largest collection of international folk art in the world, including wings featuring some of the 106,000 pieces donated by collectors Alexander and Susan Girard and Lloyd Cotsen's Neutrogena collection.

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. Santa Fe has many excellent restaurants.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. There are three state museums that you can visit using your “Culture Pass” —the Palace of the Governors, New Mexico Museum of Art, and New Mexico History Museum. You might also like to explore the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and some of the numerous galleries in the area. We’ll meet at a designated time and location for the ride back to Albuquerque.

Dinner: At a selected restaurant.

Evening: We’ll gather as a group one last time in our hotel meeting room. Share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends and exchange farewells. Then prepare for departure in the morning.

Program Concludes

Activity note: Hotel check out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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