Bandelier National Monument and Bradbury Science Museum

Today, we woke up and headed out the door to Bandelier National Monument.  This stop was on our very original list of places to stop but had been dropped at one point because there were just too many places to stop between Grand Canyon and the Santa Fe.  I am so happy that we decided to add it back in on the drive to Santa Fe.

This is such a beauitful canyon and area and full of wonderful history.  They have history of humans in the area going back 11,000 years (nope, I didn't add too many zeros).

As we were driving in we saw this gorgeous tree.




Since we weren't planning on stopping here we didn't have our Jr. Ranger books beforehand so we had to pick them up in the Visitors Center.  The Ranger said I looked trustworthy so he handed me the Ranger patches at the same time.  They don't do the badges at this Monument only patches.  Each child had a different grade level book to complete.

We headed down the Main Loop trail to start learning the 11,000 year old history of this area.  The Ancestoral Puebloans started building permanent settlements here in 1150 CE but had left the area by 1500.

The next inhabitants were the Spanish settlers in the 1700's.  Adolph Bandelier visited the canyon in 1880.  The monument was created in 1925.  The CCC arrived and built the road into the canyon, built the current visitor center, a new lodge and trails from 1934 to 1941.  During WW II, the park was closed and used to house scientists and military personnel involved in the Manhattan Project.  

Here we are looking down into a kiva in the Tyuonyi village.  No one is sure exactly what a kiva was used for but they surmise religious reasons, and community meetings.  There are rectangular holes in the bottom they aren't sure about either.


The round holes held the logs that helped support the roof.

The walls of the village were built from the surrounding volcanic tuff rocks.  The tuff is soft and easy to break.  They built their village down here on the canyon floor and also against the canyon walls which we will get to shortly.



Here is the view of the canyon floor village from the canyon wall rooms.


The kids were able to climb into the cavates, which is a man-made shelter.

The cavates had storage rooms,

 places to store food and even a fireplace.


We were walking around the trail when we found our 2nd horned toad.  This one was very calm and let Andrew hold him.


Here he is on Dad's shirt.  He really liked this warm spot.


At this point of the trail, Grandma and Mom headed back to the car to make lunch while everyone else headed to the Alcove House.

Skylar and Andrew found some really cool pinecones that they wanted to show us so they first put them in Skylar's pockets but they hurt her.

So they took them out and put them in Andrew's cool vest.  He loved to carry everyone's things in his vest.

Here are the pinecones they had found.

Everyone is heading up the series of ladders to get to the top of Alcove House.

At the top in the village where approximately 25 people lived.

Time to go back down.





The view of Alcove House from the bottom of the ladders.

The girls were getting really tired and hungry on the way back to the picnic area.  But we were all ready for everyone to arrive.  Sandwiches were made and fresh water in everyone's water bottles.

After a quick lunch (quick because there was a storm blowing in and the wind was picking up) we headed to Los Alamos to see the Bradbury Science Museum.  The museum is generally geared toward the Manhattan Project and its history.  Right now they have an exhibit about nanotechnology.  They had several stations where the kids could get their hands on something.

Skylar found a puzzle within 10 steps.
Here is the problem.

Now I know what mathematical field she needs to go in to. Topology.  She is drawn toward puzzles and will sit for hours solving them.

It took her a bit but she eventually solved it.  We did step away and take a break and we saw someone solve it part of the problem.  It motivated her to see that it was solvable and she headed back and solved it.

Cairn loves to search for minute details so this nano game of I Spy was right up her alley.  We all sat around and worked on our own sheets and we helped each other too.  It was a lot of fun.


After the museum it was time to get in the car and drive to Alamosa for our next stop.  Along the way, we saw this house from the highway so of course we had to take a detour and go check it out.


Now,  I just to figure out why this house is here and who created it.  Will post when I solve that riddle.

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