a VirtualTourist member from Miami
I'm planning two weeks in SF with my family.
1. Any suggestions on where we can take a 3 year old?
2. How good is public transpo? Do we need to rent a car?
3. I was told to take the Sandia shuttle from ALB airport. Is that the best option?
We brought our 5 year old twins to Santa Fe in April and they had a blast at the Children's Museum there (i have lots of pics of it in my Santa Fe pages).
Our twins already wanted to go after lunch to the hotel to watch TV, but I decided to bring them instead to the Santa Fe Children’s Museum (I think I also read about it through VT member Rexvaughn’s pages) – and wow, it was hard to get them out of the place.
Unfortunately, non-NM residents have to pay9 per adult (free for kids); whereas, resident of NM pay only2. But it was worth it because there were so many activities – my son’s favorite being the giant bubble maker. There were also costume-dressing, painting, rock-climbing, magnetic metals, chair pulleys that bring you up as you pull down the rope…and so on
There was a place for little kids as well to play little water boats and a little plastic park center with mirrors inside…
Outside, they even have a soil field where kids can get dirty (we did not do this because we did not want soil on our new car! hehehe) …and there was also a treehouse!
Will try to get back to you with some help for your little one but I'd say if you're going to be in town for two weeks, I'd definitely rent a car. One of Santa Fe's best attributes is its proximity to day-trip opportunities (Bandelier National Monument, Taos, Madrid, etc). There is a terrific (and easy) trail at Bandelier that your whole family will enjoy. It's a 1.2 mile loop that passes by ruins and petroglyphs and the scenery is gorgeous!
And as the previous poster mentioned, the children's museum is supposed to be excellent. Not having little ones, we didn't do that one but the others we visited were fantastic.
OK, here's a little more:
The International Folk Art Museum is really fun and great for kids (we did this one). Here's a quote from Travel and Leisure:
"It's impossible to imagine the child who wouldn't like the Museum of International Folk Art (706 Camino Lejo; 505/476-1200; Tuesday-Sunday, 10-5). On display are almost 106,000 folk dolls and figurines from around the world in windowed dioramas. The scenes—of rowdy festivals, dinner parties, a funeral, a bullfight with an audience of at least 100—are so intricate, and the loft-like space they're in is so beautifully designed, that the line between the display and that which is being displayed is blurred. For young or tired children, the museum has a play area with couches, toys, and books."
Here's a website that lists the local playgrounds...
....and another with other ideas:
Don't miss a visit to Jackelope! www.jackalope.com
It's primarily a home and garden store that's unlike any you've seen before. Spread across several acres and involving multiple buildings, it's like a small, sunny village. They carry everything from furniture to pottery to hats to folks art to toys and it's simply a riot of color! Your young persons will love it! They also have an animal barn and prairie dog village so are very family-friendly. There's a small cafe and they often have artisans demonstrating their craft on site. GREAT fun for all - really!!
So - a start? I have a tip about Bandelier in my in-process Santa Fe pages but would be happy to answer more questions should you have them?
> 2. How good is public transpo? Do we need to rent a car?
There's a small bus system in Santa Fe, but it's not very active. Really it depends on where you're staying. Most of the sites in town are around the Plaza area Downtown, but there's also "Museum Hill" which is just to the south of the Plaza area, but is accessible by bus.
With two weeks, you're going to run out of things to do in Santa Fe itself, so it would be best to rent a car for at least part of your trip. There's quite a bit to see in Northern New Mexico, and you may want to think about spending at least a couple of those days in Albuquerque. I would also consider a side trip up to Colorado for a couple of days, maybe Durango, Pagosa or even Colorado Springs.
> 3. I was told to take the Sandia shuttle from ALB airport. Is that the best option?
If you don't end up renting a car from the airport, one option is to take the relatively new RailRunner up to Santa Fe. It doesn't run on Sundays though, so you have to time it right: http://www.nmrailrunner.com/. I would think that your kid would get a kick out of the train though, and it would give him/her more room to move around on the journey.