Rio Grande Nature Center State Park

2901 Candelaria Rd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107, United States +1 505-344-7240

Rio Grande Nature Center State Park is located in Rio Grande flyaway and offers excellent bird-watching opportunities throughout the year. Visitors can observe over 250 species of birds, like wood ducks and roadrunners. Demonstration gardens, hiking trails along the river, and indoor and outdoor wildlife viewing areas overlooking the park add value to this public resource.

The indoor and outdoor wildlife viewing areas overlook ponds, the pollinator garden, a native plant garden, and access to the city-managed trails to the Rio Grande and Bosque. This park is for day use only, and no camping or biking is allowed; leashed pets are welcome on the adjacent city trails and in the parking area only. This park has different amenities like a visitor center and an education building; every amenity focuses on something specific.

Visitor Center

The park’s Visitor Center was designed and completed in 1982 by architect Antoine Predock. It displays interpretative exhibits about the Middle Rio Grande Bosque ecosystem’s animals, plants, geology, and hydrology. Front-desk volunteers can solve visitors’ doubts, offer trail guides, sell park memberships, and loan field guides and binoculars. Here, the Observation Room overlooks a three-acre pond with up-close encounters with geese, ducks, dragonflies, and turtles. It has comfortable seating and brings in the pond’s sounds via a microphone hidden near the bird feeders. The Visitor Center also has a reference library filled with natural history publications on herbs, birds, trees, and other things. Water fountains and restrooms are located here.

Education Building

This Educational Building opened in July 2011 and offered a 5,500 square feet area to meet the educational needs of 130,000 children and adults who visit the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park annually. This multifunctional building is located east of the entrance road and contains offices and classrooms for public screenings, talks, special events, and student activities. The building is heated and cooled with high-efficiency rooftop photo-voltaic power panels, resulting in lower energy use as it generates electricity as it consumes. The building also incorporates rapidly renewable materials, such as New Mexico materials like stone and cisterns store stormwater for irrigation of native plants and restrooms.

Nature Shop

You can find the Nature Shop inside the Visitor Center. It carries various educational materials and fun merchandise for children and adults. In addition to the first-rate books the Nature Shop offers, it also contains unusual nature-related items such as jewelry, glass, clothing, pottery, and art created by volunteers and local artists.

Park Grounds

One-third of the park areas are open to the public; the remaining regions provide a calm habitat for wildlife. The Nature Center’s public areas offer short trails leading to wildlife viewing areas, views of the Native Plant, the Sandia Mountains, and Mariposaville gardens, and a shaded shelter for picnicking. Some constructed ponds in the park are mostly closed t the public. Two have particular areas for wildlife viewing, and one – the Discovery Pond- is reserved for educational and research purposes. With the help of the Nature Center volunteers, students can observe, collect, and release aquatic life.

Native Plant Garden

This garden allows you to enjoy the magic of nature around you: bees, birds, butterflies, lizards, occasional porcupines, and of course, the native plants. The Native Plant Garden is the perfect place to birdwatch, photograph, inspire, read, relax, and marvel at the changing garden-scape every season.

Mariposaville Pollinator Garden

South of the parking lot, this small garden is devoted to providing a unique habitat to pollinators and teaching its visitors about these essential creatures’ lives and their important role in the ecosystem. Visitors can also learn strategies for dry land gardening.