Sightseeing in Roswell?
By Os Davis
JULY 17, 2000:
Sure, Roswell can lay claim to the title New Mexico's Conversation Piece. Sure, conspiracists, amateur ufologists, and Trekkies will be drawn to America's center for flying-saucer freaks. So what'll keep 'em there? And more importantly, what can more earthbound vacationers look forward to? Read on, true believers.
International UFO Museum and Research Center
First and foremost, there's this one. Since 1991, this museum has been the repository for factual and fictive extra-terrestrial studies. Permanent exhibits include "The Story of the Roswell Fragment," for those not in the know; "The Lighter Side," a collection of UFO-related comic strips; and the famous 8-foot by 12-foot creepier-than-thou mural greeting earthly visitors upon entry. Current exhibits include props from the "Roswell" TV show. And be sure to check out the world's largest UFO-related library inside the museum. Free Admission. Open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. May 1-Sept. 30 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 1-April 30. (505) 625-9495 or www.iufomrc.com.
Robert Goddard Planetarium
For those who prefer their astrophysical concepts a bit, well, more down-to-earth, check out this more sober-minded take on spacy concepts. Named for the rocketeering pioneer and arguably Roswell's all-time most famous long-term resident, Goddard Planetarium boasts the largest auditorium of its kind, seating 120 people. Various shows are scheduled on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays for an extra $3; on July 20-22, 27-29, this show will be "The Great UFO Mystery" and plays at 1:30 and 7 p.m. Occasional laser shows are held for $5. Free admission. Schedule varies. (505) 624-6744.
Roswell Museum Center
Adjacent to Goddard Planetarium is this museum which focuses on more traditional art, historical and cultural displays. Works by Georgia O'Keeffe, Stuart Davis, Henriette Wyeth, and Peter Hurd, are now on display as well as the Rogers Aston collection of Southwestern artifacts spanning four centuries. And if you just can't get enough Goddard, you can investigate a recreation of his workshop replete with the man's own history-making rockets. Free admission. Open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m, Sundays and holidays 1-5 p.m. (505) 624-6744 or www.roswellmuseum.org.
Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art
Back to the worlds of science-fiction? Almost: it's modern art! Specifically, one of the largest collections in southeast New Mexico of such, featuring artworks produced by past artists-in-residence. Free admission. Open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m.
Historical Center of Southeast New Mexico
With a promise to "enrich the present by preserving the past," the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico proudly presents this early 20th-century home for your perusal. Formerly home to one James Phelps White, the Historical Center now presents the huge house as a reminder of turn-of-the-century life. The building is filled with an amazing array of antiques and artifacts. The third floor, meanwhile, plays host to the Historical Society's archives, some 25,000 documents plus rare books and photos from the early 1900s. Free admission. Open daily 1-4 p.m.
Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Fret not, outdoorsy types, for just 10 miles northeast of Roswell lies this patch of 24,356 acres managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. There are two dozen species of fish and a veritable Noah's ark of birds to be sighted. The latter is represented by such types as sandhill cranes, snow geese, snowy plovers, killdeer, avocets, and black-necked stilts. Whatever you do, keep your eyes (and ears) out for a rare species of frog found only in Chaves, Eddy, and Otero counties commonly known as "the barking frog." That's what it says here. Free admission. Open daily 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (505) 622-6755 or www.southwest.fws.gov.
Bottomless Lakes State Park
For the campers, there's this marvelously-maintained state park with the mysterious name. About 15 miles outside of town, traditional activities abound: there's swimming, picnic areas, hiking trails, and motorless boating. No word yet on whether the lake is actually bottomless, though rumor has it that the lake bottom hides ... ah, forget it. $3/car or $7-$13 camping. Entrance open daily 6 a.m.-9 p.m. (505) 624-0889 or www.roswell-nm.com.
Alien Resistance Headquarters
Meanwhile, back in Roswell proper, there's this odd little coffeeshop. Duck off Main Street downtown, and you'll happen across Alien Resistance H.Q.'s logo: the familiar alien head set in the middle of a slashed circle. Pamphlets distributed in this cafe declare the little green dudes "WANTED for repeated and heinous crimes against humanity." Books lining the shelves link ETs to Satanism. What gives? Well, this place purports to "provide the only location and materials in Roswell offering a Biblical understanding on the subject of UFOs and Abductions." Turns out Goliath was actually--you guessed it--an alien. Turns out that outer-space visitors have been dipping in the human gene pool for millennia. (Check out Genesis 6:4, the bit about "giants on the earth.") This, readers, is the only spot in town slinging Starbucks coffee. Not, as they say in Utah, for the religiously intolerant. Hours not yet fixed. (505) 627-2001 or www.alienresistance.org.