To help plan your Santa Fe vacation with family, the sampling of family-friendly activities described below will give you a good idea of the kinds of adventures available in the area, and at least provide the basis for your own research. Whether you're looking for laid back Santa Fe attractions or for more active participation, there are endless ideas for engaging every member of the family, so that all will be enchanted by the beauty, the excitement, and the inviting atmosphere of the Southwest.
This is one of the best family activities you'll find in the region, because it amounts to an outdoor living history museum, with numerous buildings and artifacts restored from the 18th century, and living historians dressed in period costume. Visitors can witness the daily routines of Spanish ranch inhabitants of the time, grinding corn, making leather, and even producing various objects made of metal.
The whole family will love this open-air market, open from May through October, where you can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, produced entirely by local farmers. A great many artisan crafts are also sold here, as well as specialty foods such as jams and jellies, packaged foods, and different varieties of bread. Free samples are available for many items, and kids are sure to be entertained by the constant presence of entertainers, street performers, and live music.
What youngster wouldn't be thrilled and fascinated to participate in an actual treasure hunt? This one takes place in the Santa Fe National Forest, and a friendly guide will lead your group through gorgeous trails and natural wonders to find shoe boxes filled with little treasures for participants. While everyone is glued to the trail looking for clues, they also get to explore the great outdoors of the American Southwest and get plenty of exercise in the process.
Railroads are not nearly as prevalent in the lives of Americans as they were a century or so ago, but that doesn't mean that your family can't enjoy this terrific railway adventure while on vacation. This four-hour trip goes round trip from Santa Fe to nearby Lamy on the original tracks that were built over 120 years ago. The rail cars themselves originate from the 1920's and have been updated so they can transport you to the exotic world of the high desert, and all its natural splendor.
Literally, dozens of exhibits are available for children to explore at this charming museum, located on the Old Pecos Trail in Santa Fe. All members of the family will have loads of fun playing in a giant sandbox, singing along to music, creating personalized art projects, and having fun with magnets. While many of the exhibits target youngsters in the toddler to 12-yr old range, everyone in the family will appreciate the fun times at the Children's Museum.