There are many things to do in Santa Fe if you are traveling with young children. Start your day at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden. There is a fabulous program called, “Garden Sprouts Pre-K Activities.” I visited in spring and the theme was nests. Before entering the children’s tent, a sensory table filled with bird seed and nature treats welcomed children to play. Ms. Lydia, the Sprouts leader, read the book Best Nest by P.D. Eastman. Children made a sash to hang on a tree filled with all sorts of objects birds could use to build a nest. Hummingbird and other types of nests were shown to the children followed by a nature walk in the garden to look for nests. The Botanical Garden is full of interesting New Mexican plants, trees, artwork, and has the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as a backdrop. It hailed and snowed the day we visited at the end of April, so bring layers of warm clothing. You never know what Mother Nature has in store for you.
Next stop is the Santa Fe Children’s Museum. This is a short drive from the Botanical Garden. The museum just reopened to the public in spring 2016. By now you might be hungry from your morning at the Botanical Garden. Have lunch at the Children’s Museum in their new café. The food is delicious. My preschooler and I split a Panini with pasta salad for $6. It was a generous portion and fresh. Lunch gave us energy to play for several hours in the museum. There were at least five areas in the museum to participate in activities facilitated by museum staff. We made snow cones, kites, painted rocks, and learned about the science of bubbles from Science Girl.
If you have time before dinner, head over to the Plaza and go shopping. A popular destination for children is Toyopolis. This toy store has everything from Calico Critters to children’s clothing. They have toys set out for children (and adults) to play.
I surveyed several locals about their favorite places to eat. Everyone I talked to told me to go to Counter Culture Café at 930 Baca Street. The locals were right. The food at Counter Culture is fantastic! They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a family-friendly environment. The diverse menu at Counter Culture has something for everyone. Kids and adults alike are made to feel welcome in this laid back atmosphere. They have a section in the restaurant for kids to play with toys, children’s reading material, and other fun stuff for the little ones to do. End your day with some sweets to take back to your room from the Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s which are close by.
The thriving art community with all the wonderful galleries and museums may discourage adults from bringing children on a trip to Santa Fe, but there are a lot of things for children to do in this vibrant town. ¡Aprender divirtiéndose no puede hacerse mejor! Learning, while having fun, was never so easy!