15464
Albuquerque
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Santa Fe Art and Culture
See hot-air balloons decorate the sky at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, learn about the history of the Pueblo Indians and discover Santa Fe.
Rating (5)
Program No. 15464RJ
Length
7 days
Starts at
1,499
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7 days
6 nights
14 meals
6 B 3 L 5 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Program Registration, Orientation, Introductions, Dinner
Albuquerque
D
Best Western Plus Rio Grande Inn

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.

DAY
2
New Mexico History, Ballooning Lecture, Aerial Tram
Albuquerque
B,L,D
Best Western Plus Rio Grande Inn

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; walking up to several blocks on paved terrain; standing in enclosed tram car for up to 30 minutes.

Breakfast: Plated meal or buffet in our hotel meeting room includes eggs, pastries, cereal, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We begin the morning with a presentation by our Group Leader on the history of New Mexico, from its earliest Paleo-Indian inhabitants to the Puebloans, Spanish conquistadors and American settlers who followed. After a short break, we'll set out for independent explorations of nearby Old Town.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: After returning to the hotel we'll enjoy a class in the hotel meeting room on hot-air ballooning led by a local expert balloonist. We board our motorcoach in mid afternoon and depart for the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway where we'll board the tram and ascend along the western face of the rugged Sandia Mountains, traveling 2.7 miles and gaining 4,000 vertical feet in about 15 minutes. At the top of the tram — an elevation of over 10,000 feet in the Cibola National Forest — we have an 11,000-square-mile panoramic view of the Rio Grande Valley and Land of Enchantment.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Return to the hotel.

DAY
3
All-Day Field Trip to Santa Fe
Albuquerque
B,D
Best Western Plus Rio Grande Inn

Activity note: Getting on/off coach; walking several blocks or more on varied terrain with inclines.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We board our motorcoach and depart for a full-day trip to Santa Fe. Established by the Spanish in 1610, Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in North America and is home to the oldest public building in the United States: the Palace of the Governors. On arrival, we'll go to the historic Santa Fe Plaza, the heart of this town for nearly four centuries, for a walking field trip with our Group Leader. As we walk, we'll learn about Santa Fe's history, as well as the art, architecture and cultural diversity which make it one of the most fascinating cities in the country. The remainder of the day is free. Take this opportunity for personal independent explorations to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. For those who wish to visit any of the Museums of New Mexico we will provide a “Culture Pass” for admission to the various state museums including the Palace of the Governors, the New Mexico History Museum, and the New Mexico Museum of Art.

Lunch: On your own to sample local fare or enjoy what you wish; the Group Leader can offer suggestions and directions.

Afternoon: On your own to continue exploring the unique city of Santa Fe. Meeting at a predetermined time and place, we will head to dinner.

Dinner: At a local Santa Fe restaurant, order a plated meal off a select menu featuring local cuisine, plus coffee, tea, soft drinks and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Return to Albuquerque.

DAY
4
Balloon Fiesta, Free Time
Albuquerque
B,D
Best Western Plus Rio Grande Inn

Activity note: Getting on/off coach; walking over varied terrain and standing for two hours at Balloon Fiesta Park; walking on paved terrain to restaurants.

Breakfast: To-go breakfast from the hotel.

Morning: We board our motorcoach for an early morning departure for Balloon Fiesta Park. This morning's session is scheduled to include the Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension. 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 the events as a group; participants will be free to enjoy the launches and explore the field on their own. During Mass Ascensions all participating balloons launch in two waves as directed by "zebras," launch coordinators who are recognizable by their striped black-and-white shirts. Return to the hotel following the launch.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Free afternoon for independent explorations of Old Town and nearby museums.

Dinner: Early dinner at the hotel.

Evening: After dinner we'll depart for Balloon Fiesta Park for this evening's Twinkle Twinkle Glow™. 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. Afterward, the AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show lights up the sky with a spectacular display that brings the evening to a perfect close. After the fireworks show, we will return to the hotel.

DAY
5
Balloon Fiesta, Petroglyph National Monument, Coronado Site
Albuquerque
B,L
Best Western Plus Rio Grande Inn

Activity note: Getting on/off coach; walking up to two miles over varied terrain with inclines over course of the day.

Breakfast: To-go breakfast from the hotel.

Morning: Early morning departure for Balloon Fiesta Park. This morning's session is scheduled to include the Special Shape Rodeo. After leaving the balloon park, we'll travel to Petroglyph National Monument, one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America. Four to seven centuries ago, the Rio Grande's Pueblo people carved symbols and images into the boulders along a volcanic escarpment. Spanish settlers followed suit, and depictions of crosses and horses lie side-by-side with those of suns, spirals, birds, animals and hump-back flute players representing the Hopi fertility deity.

Lunch: Plated meal at a popular local restaurant includes selections of entrées, coffee, tea, soft drinks, water; additional beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: To learn more about New Mexico and its rich history, we board our motorcoach after lunch and head out to Coronado Historic Site, a New Mexico state monument opened in 1940 as part of the Cuarto Centenario (400th anniversary) commemoration of Francisco Vásquez de Coronado's arrival in New Mexico. With a docent, we will learn about the history and culture of the Pueblo people and the symbolism of the murals. Although named for Coronado, this archeological site is most significant for the ruins of Kuaua Pueblo that thrived from about 1325 CE until abandoned towards the end of the 16th century. The ruins were excavated by an archeological team in the 1930s to reveal a series of murals considered one of the finest examples of pre-contact (pre-1492) Native American art anywhere in North America.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like at Balloon Fiesta Park. There are a number of food booths offering everything from funnel cakes to flavorful New Mexican favorites. (Some vendors may not accept credit cards, so bringing some cash is advised.)

Evening: At Balloon Fiesta Park enjoy the Special Shape Glowdeo™ and AfterGlow Fireworks Show™. Return to the hotel after the fireworks show.

DAY
6
Balloon Fiesta, Balloon Museum, Pueblo Cultural Center
Albuquerque
B,L,D
Best Western Plus Rio Grande Inn

Activity note: Getting on/off coach; walking over varied terrain and standing for two hours at Balloon Fiesta Park; walking uphill to the Balloon Museum; standing at Balloon Museum and Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

Breakfast: To-go breakfast from the hotel.

Morning: Early morning departure for Balloon Fiesta Park. This morning's session is scheduled to include the Special Shape Rodeo. After the launch we'll meet the Group Leader at a designated location and walk to the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum with a museum docent. The Museum showcases a large collection of balloons and related aerial artifacts tracing the history and science of hot-air and gas ballooning. Travel to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center after the museum 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: Independent explorations at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. This beautiful, unique center, operated by the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, preserves and perpetuates Pueblo culture and history.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Program closing.

DAY
7
Breakfast
Albuquerque
B

Breakfast: At the hotel. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are departing from the hotel, please check out no later than 12:00 p.m. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys!