The very first thing I do when I plan a trip is sit down and plot out the National Park Sites. That is especially true in the Southwest. There is a lot of very beautiful and historic publicly owned land!
Unfortunately, our Albuquerque visit for the Balloon Fiesta coincided with the government shutdown in October of 2013. That meant National Park Sites were closed. No detour to Fort Union or Bandelier National Monuments were going to happen during this trip.
Boca Negra Canyon was an exception. This portion of Petroglyph National Monument is co-managed with the city of Albuquerque and remained opened.
After a morning of watching hot air balloons, we took a ride over to Boca Negra Canyon and spent some time being transported back in history. In Petroglyph National Monument there are an impressive 24,000 petroglyph images carved by Pueblo people and early Spanish settlers.
It is an important site to give the kids an understanding of relics left behind of an ancient civilization within our borders. They had a great time looking at the petroglyphs, trying to identify animals and people, and speculating on their meanings.
The context of each image is extremely important and integral to its meaning. Note each petroglyph’s orientation to the horizon and surrounding images, as well as the landscape in which it sits. Today’s native people have stated that the placement of each petroglyph image was not a casual or random decision.Some petroglyphs have meanings that are only known to the individuals who made them. Others represent tribal, clan, kiva or society markers. Some are religious entities and others show who came to the area and where they went. Some petroglyphs still have contemporary meaning, while the meaning of others is no longer known, but are respected for belonging to “those who came before.”While viewing these petroglyph images, please consider their importance to both past and present cultures.
Website : Petroglyph National Monument
Disclosure – While in Albuquerque, our family was guests of the Albuquerque CVB, but we paid the $1 admission ourselves.