FORT STANTON MUSEUM & VISITOR CENTER

Learn about the role that Fort Stanton played in the settling of the West! Located off Airport Road (Hwy 220). Hours are 10 AM to 4 PM Thursday through Monday. Call 575-630-0044 for more information.

 

HUBBARD MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN WEST 

The Hubbard Museum of the American West is one of the most respected museums in the state, housing an extensive permanent collection and ever-changing schedule of shows and activities. The Hubbard Museum houses the Museum of the Horse and the Anne C. Stradling Collection and is affiliated with the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. Featuring a magnificent collection of carriages, wagons, saddles, fine art and Indian artifacts, the role of the horse in the American West is highlighted in great detail. "Free Spirits at Noisy Water" a landmark Dave McGary bronze installation of seven larger-than-life horses graces the entrance to the Museum. 575-378-4142.

 

HISTORIC LINCOLN

The old West is more than a distant memory for Lincoln County and the surrounding area. Just down the valley from Ruidoso is the historic town of Lincoln. During 1878 and 1879, the citizens of this town experienced a full fledged war between two opposing merchants. Known as the Lincoln County War, this hard fought conflict brought notoriety to a young gun slinger called Billy the Kid. Today, old Lincoln, through careful preservation and restoration, has emerged as a visible reminder of the past. Within the town’s limits are 11 state monuments, including four museums. The museums pay tribute to the Lincoln County War, Mescalero Apache Indians, the Buffalo Soldiers, and of course, Billy the Kid.

 

MESCALERO APACHE CULTURAL CENTER

Located in Mescalero, this center features photo exhibits, basketry and clothing of the three Apache tribes indigenous to this area.

 

SMOKEY BEAR HISTORICAL PARK

The exhibits inside the park building include displays on the history of Smokey Bear and the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention program. Exhibits include articles and photos of the Capitan Gap Fire where Smokey Bear was found and displays of some of the earliest fire prevention posters. Exhibits about firefighting personnel, equipment and methods explain the natural role of fire in the environment. The outside exhibit area features a walking tour through six vegetative life zones and indigenous New Mexico plant life. Call 575-354-2748 for hours of operation.

 

SMOKEY BEAR MUSEUM/GIFT SHOP

Located on the grounds of the Park is a log cabin building constructed by volunteers as a tribute to Smokey Bear. The project was started by the local Women's Club in the late 50's and eventually donated to the Village of Capitan which now operates the Museum. The Museum contains exhibits and memorabilia of Smokey Bear as his legend developed over the years. Appropriate souvenirs and gifts are available in the Gift Shop. 102 Smokey Bear Blvd. (575) 354-2298.

 

WHITE OAKS SCHOOL MUSEUM

Built in 1895, the school has four large rooms in the two story building. The White Oaks Historical Society is restoring this building and has established a museum in it. The school was closed in 1947. The "big classroom" is now used as a meeting place. It is still heated by a pot-bellied stove and still has the old blackboards. The original school desks are also still in the building, many bearing the autographs of former students. Museum hours are 10 am to 4 pm weekends.

 

The main attractions of Ruidoso have to do with the surrounding Sierra Blanca Mountains and the Lincoln National Forest, which have some very scenic landmarks. About 24 miles south of the town, at Mile 284 on Highway 70, you will find the Hondo Iris Farm, which is home to an excellent botanical garden, art gallery and century-old adobe building. Admission is free and there is a picnic area on-site.

The Lincoln National Forest is full of beautiful scenery. There are some excellent bird-watching areas around Ruidoso, and fishing is usually quite good in the various lakes and streams around the forest. A day permit will also allow you to fish in the resort lake at Inn of the Mountain Gods.

White Sands National Monument is about an hour west of Ruidoso, but the unusual landscape is worth the time and gas it takes to get there. The place has huge sand dunes, including the world’s largest gypsum dune field. The place is open from 8am to 7pm during the summer and until 5pm during the rest of the year. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, White Sands is also open extra-late on nights of full moons, when the scenery takes on an even eerier appearance.