Albuquerque’s Lesser-Known Museums

If you crave the off-beat, peculiar or odd, Albuquerque has museum options for you. Here are 6 lesser-known museums in the Albuquerque area.

American International Rattlesnake Museum

Old Town’s Rattlesnake Museum is home to the largest collection of different species of live rattlesnakes in the world.

Don’t let the name fool you – this hidden gem is much more than just rattlesnakes. The shop and museum is a wonderful place for kids to learn about the biology, history, and cultural significance of the snake and other reptiles and venomous creatures while getting close encounters with a wide variety of unusual creepy crawlies, including Gila monsters, albino snakes, rescued tortoises, scorpions, tarantulas, and more.

Ticket holders receive a certificate of bravery, and kids can get a free temporary tattoo.

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Wheels Museum

Located in the 21,000 square foot Freight building at the Rail Yards, the museum is dedicated to the preservation of the history of transportation in New Mexico. Collections embrace the history of the railroads, the impact of the rail yards on Albuquerque, as well as automobiles, horse and wagon, and other modes of transportation.

Loads of antique cars, model trains and ephemera from the golden age of the railroad. Entry to the museum is free, don’t forget to bring donations.

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Unser Racing Museum

The Unser Racing Museum is a multi-dimensional museum experience utilizing modern technologies to educate and immerse the visitor in the exciting world of racing.

Take a guided tour and learn about the Unser family history, then explore on your own, seeing and interacting with racing history as it happened. The museum spans the early days of racing from Pikes Peak and Indianapolis to the latest technology, including a racing simulator that puts you in the driver’s seat, and interactive kiosks for young and old to learn more about racing in a fun, educational environment.

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Turquoise Museum

Housed in the spectacular castle built by Gertrude Zachary as her main residence, the Turquoise Museum invites visitors to uncover the mystery of turquoise, delve into its’ rich history and learn about the different mines, specimens and dupes. The rich repository features spectacular specimens classified primarily by mine.

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Telephone Museum of New Mexico
Reopening in February

That slick smartphone of yours is just the latest frontier of the wondrous telephone. Did you know that the first pay phones were placed in the men’s restrooms of fine hotels? Or that, as of 2009, pay phones themselves are no longer being manufactured?

Housed in a four-floor space in a historic building in downtown Albuquerque, the museum offers as much history about New Mexico as it does about the history of the telephone.

Tinkertown Museum
Reopening in April

It took Ross Ward over 40 years to carve, collect, and lovingly construct what is now Tinkertown Museum. His miniature wood-carved figures were first part of a traveling exhibit, driven to county fairs and carnivals in the 1960s and ’70s. Today over 50,000 glass bottles form rambling walls that surround a 22-room museum. Wagon wheels, old fashioned store fronts, and wacky western memorabilia make Tinkertown’s exterior as much as a museum as the wonders within.

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