SECUNM’s Guide to Free and Low-Cost Family Fun in New Mexico
Ah summer. The warm weather. The long days. And kids whining there is nothing to do. Um, yeah, that can be a challenge. But we’ve got a ton of ideas to keep ‘em busy and happy.
For those who shun the sun and crave a chill kind of experience, there are places to don skates and slide across the ice.
Ice Arena at Genoveva Chavez Community Center, Santa Fe
A good option in the Santa Fe area—with general skating/admission just $2 for up to 10 years, youth up to 17 is $4, $7 for 18-59, and $4 for seniors. Be sure to check the schedule for public skate sessions since there is an active summer camp running. Private and group lessons are offered as well. Skate rental is just $3.
McDermott Athletic Center, Rio Rancho
The rink is a standard NHL-sized (85’ x 200’) sheet of ice with rounded corners. There are also lessons, hockey leagues, and figure skating. Admission is $5 for ages 6 and under; and $10 for ages 7 and older. Memberships are also available (and may lessen the cost for frequent attendance).
Outpost Ice Arenas, Albuquerque
There are public sessions at the Tramway Blvd. ice skating mecca as well as private lessons and hockey programs. The high tech CooLLoop rink is priced a bit higher. General skating fee (ages 6 and up) is $7, tots are just $1; rentals are $3.
For those more enamored with skating on concrete, here are a bunch of outdoor skate parks. Be sure to find out the safety rules of each park.
Alamosa Skate Park, Albuquerque
The largest skate park in the ABQ, located at 6900 Gonzales SW, this one’s got 35,000 square feet of skateable area with a street course and two bowls.
Coronado Skate Park, Albuquerque
Designed for BMX bikes, skateboards, and in-line skates. Features include a modular course, five-foot quarter pipe, fun box, and pyramid with hubba, rail, and euro gap. Located at 301 McKnight NW.
DeVargas Skate Park, Santa Fe
On Santa Fe’s north side, 302 W De Vargas St., this skate park is usually populated with boarders and can be a little sketchy at times.
Genoveva Chavez Skate Park, Santa Fe
Located just north of the GCCC, 3221 Rodeo Rd., you can find a 9,000-square-foot park featuring a three lobed bowl, sizing up at 4’, 5’ and 7’deep with a double waterfall.
Las Vegas Skate Park, Las Vegas
Open 6 a.m. to sunset, at the Abe Montoya Recreation Center.
Los Alamos Skate Park, Los Alamos
This pretty little park is next to the library at 1000 Oppenheimer Dr.
Los Altos Skate Park, Albuquerque
Designed for BMX bikes, skateboards, and in-line skates. Includes a street course, two bowls, and five stair grind structures. Night lighting provided. Located at 10140 Lomas NE.
Martha Ramirez Skate Park, Santa Fe
Located within Franklin E Miles Park in central Santa Fe, this is one of the best in town with features and bowls. Graffiti is allowed for artistic skaters. Located at 1210 Camino Carlos Rey.
North Domingo Baca Skate Park, Albuquerque
Located at 8301 Wyoming NE. Designed for BMX bikes, skateboards, and in-line skates. Includes a half-concrete and half-fixed modular sections, quarter pipes, steps, ramps, banks, and more.
North West Modular Skate Park, Albuquerque
Half concrete and half modular, with 5-foot half bowls, 3-foot quarter pipe, and fun box.
Skate School Santa Fe, Santa Fe
With summer camps and lessons, a daily open skate ($10), parties, and special events and films, this spot focuses on a well-rounded skating education experience. The indoor skate park at 825 Early Street was established in 2003 and is a popular local draw with its 36’ wide bowled ramp, banks, boxes, and street terrain.
Tower Skate Park, Albuquerque
Located at 700 82nd street, this park’s got a modular course, fun box, 5-foot half pipe, and more.
White Rock Skate Park, White Rock
99 Sherwood Blvd. at Piñon Park
Other parks around (with limited information) include Belen Skate Park, Belen; Edgewood Skate Park, Edgewood; the MIX Skate Park, Albuquerque; Mountain View Park, Rio Rancho; Rio Vista Park, Rio Rancho; and Skatewave, Rio Rancho.
Make a Splash
Cool water is the ultimate refreshment on a hot summer day. Here’s a guide to a selection of New Mexico’s invigorating spots.
Abe Montoya Recreation Center Pool, Las Vegas
This pool is indoors, but children (12 and under) and seniors swim for just $1.50, adult admission is $3.
Albuquerque Public Pools, Albuquerque
Wherever you find yourself in Albuquerque, there is bound to be a nearby spot to cool off. From spray pads to wading pools to lap pools, there are many great options. Check out the available special passes that reduce the already purse-friendly rates (.50 to $3). Friday nights at all indoor pools are just 50 cents, and on Sundays during recreation swim hours all pools are free for youth ages 17 and younger! Some of the most popular include
Rio Grande Pool—near the zoo and plenty of grassy shade; West Mesa Aquatic Center—with an outdoor pool with two water slides plus in indoor water park and indoor Olympic pool with lap swim, and Los Altos Pool—right near the skate park (see above) for hours of inexpensive enjoyment.
Abiquiu Lake, Abiquiu
The views of the Cerro Pedernal and awesome rock formations (and jumping cliffs) are worth the trip and there is no day use fee.
Bicentennial Pool, Santa Fe
A serious staffing shortfall has caused reduced hours at this popular outdoor pool (the only public outdoor pool in Santa Fe!) that is within the lovely and shady Alto Park. As of the time of this blog post, Sundays are closed and weekdays only run from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Be sure to call ahead to double-check hours at (505) 955-4779. Fees are $1.50 -$3.
Cochiti Recreation Area, Cochiti
Enjoy swimming around at the swim beach (day use $5) or the more rustic Tetilla Peak Recreation on the east side of the lake (no day use fee).
Conchas Lake State Park, NW of Tucumcari
One of the largest lakes in all of New Mexico, located NW of Tucumcari (day use $5). With secluded cove, sandy beaches, and canyons, this makes a terrific spot for boating, fishing, and camping.
El Vado Lake State Park, Tierra Amarilla
Fishing, boating, camping, and hiking—and a 5.5 scenic trail connects El Vado to the neighboring Heron Lake. (Day use $5; camping $8-$18).
Fenton Lake, Jemez Springs
With the Jemez Mountains as backdrop along with Ponderosa Pine forests, this is a stunning location for water play and camping. (Day use fee $5, camping from $8).
Genoveva Chavez Community Center Pool, Santa Fe
An Indoor Olympic-size pool and adjacent water play area with a water slide make a great place to beat the heat. Daily admission fees $2-$7 (memberships and punch cards available).
Haynes Community Center Pool, Rio Rancho
Outdoor pool with a water slide and water spray. Just $3-$4 admission
Heron Lake State Park, Alcalde
This no wake lake (day use $5) is located in Rio Arriba County and offers campgrounds (primitive to more developed from $8 to $18) and a hiking and fishing trail along the Rio Chama near Heron Dam.
Rainbow Pool, Rio Rancho
Outdoor pool with water slide and spray.
Rio Rancho Aquatic Center, Rio Rancho
Daily fees are just $3-$4 at this multi-pool facility (punch cards reduce the prices more).
Santa Cruz Lake, Chimayo
Located 30 miles north of Santa Fe and managed by BLM, Santa Cruz Recreation Area is a scenic spot for boating, fishing, camping, and hiking. Due to the potential for rough undercurrents only wading is allowed. Day use $5 per vehicle.
Santa Rosa Blue Hole, Santa Rosa
This amazing water hole has crystal clear views that can reach a depth of 100 feet. But be warned—it is cold! At around 62 degrees you will want to make it a quick dip. Blue Hole is also a popular diving spot with caves to explore ($20 for a week permit).
Santa Rosa Wibit, Santa Rosa
In addition to the incredibly creative interlocking inflatable water park (the Wibit), there’s a water slide, pedal boats, canoes, diving board, and swimming. The Wibit is located on Lake Drive in Santa Rosa; $5 per vehicle, plus $10 per person for all activities (there is a 42” height requirement).
Storrie Lake, Las Vegas
This small but nice lake is located just outside Las Vegas (day use $5).
Sometimes you just need to sit inside in the dark and tune out the summer sun. (Or enjoy movies under the stars.) There are plenty of low cost options around to do just that.
Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse, Albuquerque
A 10-week program of recently released kids’ movies—costs only $1 or grab a punch card for $5 for all 10 movies. Two Albuquerque locations are offering this terrific deal. Movies in the lineup include Smallfoot, Kung Fu Panda, and Sherlock Gnomes. The movies at Cinemark Movies 8 run on Tuesday mornings at 9:30 a.m.; the movies at Cinemark Movies West run 9 a.m. on Wednesdays.
Premier Cinemas Summer Kids Fest, Rio Rancho
Take the kiddos to a series of free movies at the Rio Rancho Premier 14 theater! Showing at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays—films include Trolls, Paddington 2, and How to Train Your Dragon 2.
Regal Movies Summer Express, Santa Fe & Albuquerque
The Regal Movies Summer Movie Express program promises a great selection of G or PG rated movies for only $1 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. Some highlights this year will include Turbo, Boss Baby, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies, and The House with a Clock in its Walls. Participating theaters are Regal Santa Fe Stadium 14, Regal Winrock Stadium 16, and UA Cottonwood Stadium 16.
Railyard Park Movie Series, Santa Fe
An outstanding roster of free movies this summer awaits at the Santa Fe Railyard! Standouts include Isle of Dogs, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Mary Poppins Returns. Be sure to bring chairs, blankets, snacks, and a light jacket.
Southside Summer Fun Movies, Santa Fe
The free line-up is taking place on Santa Fe’s midtown and south side and includes Hotel Transylvania at the outdoor quad at 1600 St. Michael’s Drive (June 21 at 6:30 p.m.), Moana at Swan Park (July 6 at 6:30), The Incredibles at Swan Park (July 19 at 6:30), Coco at the outdoor quad at 1600 St. Michael’s Drive (August 2 at 6:30), How to Train Your Dragon into the Hidden World at Romero Park (August 16), Spiderman into the Spiderverse at Romero Park (Sept. 20). Double-check local listings and the City of Santa Fe website for updates on times.
Movies (and Music) Under the Stars – Rio Rancho
Movies and music on a number of Saturday eves, including The Sandlot (June 29) and Christopher Robin (July 27). Movies start at dusk and vary between Cabezon Park and Haynes Park; check the official Rio Rancho website for details.
Movies in the Park, Bernalillo
This popular summer series returns at a variety of parks. Series includes Mary Poppins Returns and Antman and the Wasp–check out the website for details.
Turn it Up!
There’s no better way to enjoy a summer eve than with family and friends, enjoying the sounds of talented musical artists.
Amp Concerts, Albuquerque
Throughout the summer and at various library locations, check out some free performances such as from Café Bomba, the Porter Draw, and the Rumelia Collective.
Domingos en Arte, Albuquerque
A summer music and dance series in NHCC’s Fountain Courtyard featuring Latin artists. (Most tickets are $10 in advance, free for 12 and under).
Free July 4th Concert, Taos
This one was worth mentioning! Can you believe there will be a FREE Fourth of July concert featuring War and Ozomatli? Get yerself to Kit Carson Park, but make sure you get the free tickets first. Register online or call Hold My Ticket at 505-886-1251.
Fridays al Fresco, Las Vegas
Free music at the Plaza Park from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Music on the Hill at St. John’s College, Santa Fe
Always a great time on the athletic field—with blues, jazz, world music, and more.
Santa Fe Bandstand, Santa Fe
Locals and visitors alike rejoice in this annual summer institution of music—on the Plaza, all summer long (south side shows added at SWAN Park)!
Santa Fe Summer Music in the Railyard, Santa Fe
A summer of eclectic sounds awaits: from the high energy zydeco twang of Dwayne Dopsie to rock and roll demon Reverend Horton Heat to a salute to Aretha. There’s a ton of free concerts on the schedule.
Amazing free entertainment throughout the city from the Heights and Nob Hill to Downtown and the Westside.
We hope this wrap up of free and low-cost activities gets you out of the house and away from the screens! There are so many amazing cultural, historical, and outdoor sites and events taking place in New Mexico this summer. Let us know here if we missed something awesome that SECU members should put on their calendar!