2017 albuquerque balloon fiesta

As I said yesterday, we've been back from our cross-country roadtrip to Albuquerque for a week now. We saw so many wonderful sights in New Mexico, the land of enchantment after all, as well as along the way...but the thing everyone asks about is the Balloon Fiesta. And for good reason: it's absolutely magical. This is our second year attending the Balloon Fiesta and I can truly say it's one of those things that never gets old. Year after year, you will still be able to find magic in every bit of the fiesta. Our favorite part is watching the sun rise over the mountains and feeling the chilly New Mexico temperatures (which Pinon coffee and hot cocoa accompanies perfectly) while the balloons get ready to take off for mass ascension. It is absolutely surreal to watch them slowly take off into the sky, floating over the mountains.

There are so many beautiful hot air balloons but our favorites are always the special shapes. This year Ethan's favorite was a rocket ship balloon as well as a penguin named Tall Steve. Carmen really loved the pink elephant balloon which was so bright and beautiful! It's always fun to pick out the usual favorites each year as well as discover new and unique balloons that we didn't see the previous year.

This year, in addition to a beautiful morning mass ascension, we also visited the Balloon Fiesta for a nighttime Glowdeo. It turns out that watching the sun go down behind the mountains is just as magical as watching the sun rise. The kids loved being able to sit in the field and have dinner, watching the balloonists get ready for the Glowdeo up close and personal. While the balloons don't fly in the evening, watching the Glowdeo is every bit as magical.

The Glowdeo kicks off with an incredible laser light show followed by a fabulous fireworks show.

No matter where you live or how many times you've been before, the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is worth seeing. As beautiful as it is photographed and on TV (so many of our South Floridian pals were watching the fiesta on the news!), it's even more incredible in person. It's a bucket list must-do for sure.

Check out The Balloon Fiesta website for event details, scheduling and to get planning your trip!

 photo signature_zps5tftxxmn.png


our visit to the birmingham zoo

Last year, we only briefly passed through Birmingham on our way to New Mexico and it was enough to get me to fall in love. This year, we knew we wanted to spend a couple of days exploring beautiful Birmingham, including taking a trip to the Birmingham Zoo. We are huge fans of our local zoo, The Palm Beach Zoo, where we've been members for close to five years by now. It's always hard to imagine being impressed by another zoo the way we are with our home zoo, but the Birmingham Zoo did not disappoint. The zoo contained so much open space and so much green space. Not only did we get to walk around and explore all the zoo had to offer, but there were places to run and enjoy the fall weather. Everything was so green and beautiful!

The zoo had a lot of interactive exhibits that let you get up close to the animals, including goats and other farm animals, lorikeets and (my kids favorite) giraffes! The giraffe feeding was such a unique and cool experience. Carmen wasn't sure what to make of the giraffe, but Ethan loved it -- especially seeing the giraffes long tongues!

The Birmingham Zoo had a lot of really cool animal residents different from the ones at our zoo, including some super adorable red pandas. (I think Carmen and I loved the red pandas most of all.) Each exhibit had a ton of information to share about each animal who resided in it and the animals all had a lot of room to play, climb and explore. Many of the exhibits contained indoor and outdoor viewing areas, too. The zoo housed all kinds of unique animals, from bumble bee dart frogs to red river hogs and everything in between.

Ethan's favorite part of our zoo is the zoo train and carousel, which the Birmingham Zoo also had, much to his delight. The zoo train actually went around a great portion of the zoo and had a great pirate theme to get the kids into the Halloween spirit.

As we left the zoo, Ethan declared that even though Birmingham was just a stop on the way to our destination, it would make an amazing place to just visit on its own. I completely agree. There are so many wonderful things to see and do around Birmingham with kids and the zoo is definitely a must on that list. The zoo is perfect for adults and children alike -- anyone who appreciates nature and the amazing animals we are lucky to share this planet with.

Visit https://www.birminghamzoo.com to plan your visit!

 photo signature_zps5tftxxmn.png

the great 2017 roadtrip (or -- destination: albuquerque)

I have a lot of catching up to do. We got back into town last weekend from our two week cross-country roadtrip to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the annual balloon fiesta. Everyone has a "happy place," or a place that puts them at peace and makes them feel like they're just home. For us, that place is Albuquerque. Now that Ethan is in school, I knew my days of heading out west in October for the Balloon Fiesta were numbered, so this trip was even more meaningful as it doubled as a final hurrah. A couple of months before our trip, I had the idea to renew our vows in Albuquerque to give ourselves a new anniversary and a fresh start in the place that we love so, so very much. My husband was on board and the planning began -- hush hush, of course -- a surprise to most everyone except us and our photographer. But, I'll save these details for another post.

We drove across the country to reach our destination. A lot of people ask "why?" or "how?" when they find out we're driving but can I confess something for a minute? I love these cross country family drives so much. There's nothing that can compare to just being together in the car, talking about thoughts and sights and music. Ethan occupies himself with crayons, paper and chapter books but I was admittedly a little nervous about how Carmen would do. With the help of some snacks, sticker books and crayons, she handled the trip like a boss. Our very first stop was in beautiful Birmingham, Alabama where we stayed for two nights to soak up more of the city we fell in love with as we passed through on our last trip. Our hotel was a short walk from Railroad Park, which is just this incredible green space and community park that simply can't compare to anything I've seen here in South Florida.

On our first full day in Birmingham, we got the chance to visit the Birmingham Zoo. I'll give the zoo it's own post for sure, which it definitely deserves. After leaving Birmingham, we drove straight into Oklahoma City which was our second place to stop. We were met there with terrible weather but the rain stopped just long enough for the kids to get to explore a real farm (another luxury to us South Floridians).

From Oklahoma City, we drove into Albuquerque to the same wonderful Airbnb rental we stayed in last year. We spent the next few days at the Balloon Fiesta, having our super secret surprise vow renewal, trying out every local coffee shop in Albuquerque, enjoying the beauty of the city and venturing out to the White Sands National Monument as well as Tent Rocks to do some exploring. New Mexico isn't called the land of enchantment for nothing, please believe.

We came back last Sunday and have been swirling around with the chaos that is coming home from such a trip: laundry and cleaning and schoolwork and Halloween parties (oh, the Halloween parties) so this update has taken me longer to get up than I would have liked. But over the next couple of days, I'll break down more details about our trip including some roadtrippin' with kids tips as well as a quick guide to New Mexico with kids.

 photo signature_zps5tftxxmn.png

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...