You'll find the best of two worlds at The New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum: a collection celebrating 3,000 years of agricultural heritage, housed in a state-of-the-art facility.
The sprawling 47-acre complex on the edge of Las Cruces consists of a handsome main building, dairy barn with interactive displays, corrals, apple orchard, gardens and amphitheater. Other outdoor exhibits: tons of implement classics, a 75-year-old blacksmith shop moved from a northern New Mexico ranch, a vintage Aermotor windmill spinning atop a 40-foot tower; and a herd of critters - longhorn calves to churro sheep, burros to goats-roaming the range.
The museum's galleries are located in the 90,000-square-foot main building. In addition to the permanent exhibits there, look for a restaurant, gift shop and theater.
The museum's just been open for a year, but the frantic pace won't slow down any time soon. Plans in the works: a Farmers Market, rodeo arena, dance bam, picnic pavilions, field crop demonstration areas (chile, alfalfa, onions, peanuts, lettuce and cotton), a working dairy parlor, interpretation centers, stables, additional livestock pens, and a reconstructed bridge. FC
For more information: The New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Road, Las Cruces, NM 88004; (575) 522-4100. Online at www.nmfarmandranchmuseum.org.
Hours: Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Admission: adults, $5; seniors age 60 and over, $3; 5-17, $2, children 4 and under free.