Discover a lush oasis on the banks of Albuquerque's beloved river
Fly into Albuquerque and for all the stark drama of the SandiaMountains and the surrounding high desert, the most strikingfeature from the air is the verdant, serpentine course of the RioGrande.
While the river physically divides the city, it's also one ofthe places that brings Albuquerque together. Home to the botanicgarden, aquarium, and zoo that make up the Albuquerque BiologicalPark, as well as to the natural areas protected by the Rio GrandeValley State Park, the river and its cottonwood forest are like along, meandering central park for the city.
Spend a day exploring highlights along the 20-mile stretch ofriver from near downtown to Alameda Boulevard and you'll discoverone of Albuquerque's most diverse summer destinations. Along theriver and the forest ― known locally by the Spanish word bosque (pronounced bohs-keh) ― locals walk, bicycle, fish, catchconcerts, and simply retreat into the shade on hot afternoons.
For out-of-towners who visit the bosque, it's always a surpriseto discover that Albuquerque is a river city. The Rio Grande is notjust central geographically; it is also close to the hearts of manyAlbuquerque residents. "As the world gets crazier and crazier,people need more of these natural places to stay healthy andhappy," says Beth Dillingham, superintendent of the Rio GrandeNature Center State Park. "And because Albuquerque has so manybarren and brown areas, a place that is lush and green takes on awhole new meaning. We have people who come just about every day― avid birders, bicyclists, and one woman who comes just towrite her poetry."
The nature center and the lands surrounding it offer the bestlook at the natural river and bosque environment. Designed byarchitect Antoine Predock, the center blends into its forest andwetland setting. You enter the half-buried building through aculvert-style tunnel. Inside, an observation room overlooks areed-lined pond busy with waterfowl, while the Sandias rise in thedistance.