Editor’s Note: “Time to Get Spooky” is a series from Well Daily exploring the scary, weird and supernatural..
Short of going to Roswell’s annual UFO Festival in the summer, the only way to fully experience Roswell, New Mexico is, in my humble opinion, to go farther afield. Walk the streets in your favorite alien costume, take campy photos with a variety of wood-carved, inflatable or giant plastic alien statues, read testimonials at the UFO museum, fully immerse yourself in the virtual reality of the 1947 alien landing and government. Cover up and embark on a trip to the otherworldly White Sands National Park (green plastic saucer in hand, of course).
I 22-23 Oct. Celebrated my birthday in Roswell and White Sands with believers and non-believers alike. As “ancient alien” lovers, my mother and I fall into the first camp, while my father and husband ignore the idea of little green men. I admit it, a theorist on the History Channel Ancient Aliens Between their coverage of historical sites and their findings that aliens explain every strange phenomenon, including the Egyptian pyramids, take ridiculously grand leaps. But it seems a little presumptuous to think we’re the only game in the galaxy, so my mind leans more towards the curious, free end of the spectrum.
My husband refused to see the bunk, but he humored me over the weekend by wearing a green dress that we picked up at a thrift store over the weekend and wearing a squid, or, as we like to think of it, alien hat, that I bought in 2020. When we originally planned to go to Roswell for my birthday — until we found out the state was closed to tourists because of Covid. My father, a decorated Vietnam vet who lives in the more tangible world of building houses and fixing mechanical things, walks out of the International UFO Museum and Research Center thinking “something’s up,” but his story revolves around the military doing something wrong. Up and created a cover story, which after World War II after military people found little to entertain themselves turned into stories about aliens and UFOs, hence the alien alien story.
Honestly, I was sure my dad and husband would be believers, or at least seriously entertain the possibility of aliens after spending more than an hour in a UFO museum. I, personally, found it fascinating: military men confronting technology they couldn’t explain, government agents risking their lives if they claimed the Roswell crash was a weather balloon—only the number of sighting stories around the country convinced me. It was enough. That something strange is happening. And, a walk through the neighborhood’s research library filled with volumes of books and volumes of reports adding real evidence.
Despite all the heavy research and testimonials, Roswell doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is very refreshing. Even the UFO Museum, filled with sightings and even accounts of abductions, has a staged UFO, which, every now and then, comes alive with smoke and aliens who speak in their native language (uh, that is, if they have tongues).
The first stop on your Roswell adventure is the Roswell Visitor Center and Store, where your campy photos begin (or maybe you just want to pick up a pair of alien glasses — the visitor center is your cheapest bet). It includes a seasonally themed photo stage (picture this time of year, smiling under the “Faith” sign amid hay bales, scarecrows and, of course, the ever-present alien dressed in fall clothes), with free printed photos as the perfect souvenir. Pops out.
The International UFO Museum and Research Center is a must-see to fully familiarize yourself with the Roswell culture, as well as NASA data and research. It’s a huge amount to read on the walls, but it’s worth it. Photos, movie posters, a variety of short videos, and a variety of foreign scenes document, explain, and alternate reading encounters, resulting in a fun, interactive, imaginative adventure.
On the short walk from the Roswell Visitor Center to the museum, take at least a few minutes to capture some creative photos or video of the huge UFO wall mural, which features a hot pink caption: “Roswell …We Believe!”
Along the historic downtown strip, you’ll pass plenty of creatively decorated and painted storefront windows; If you’re a shutterbug like me, they’re all snapshots worth taking. Alien-themed stores are also fun; Beyond fun t-shirts and mugs, you’ll find everything from alien water-squirt guns to baby Yoda cookie jars and alien-themed dog leashes. Speaking of dogs, Roswell is an exceptionally dog-friendly town. Many stores allow the four-legged furry to find aliens.
Spaceport Roswell has one of the most memorable and exciting activities in the form of virtual reality experiences. Our receptionist, disguised as a future flight attendant, didn’t bat an eye at our attire – she just wanted to know if our carry-on or luggage had a flex capacitor or any extraneous goo, slime, mucus or glop. (This is prohibited) on our persons before showing to our pod.
Once there, we adjusted our VR goggles and went on a wild, dizzying ride through the 1947 Alien Crash in our swivel chairs. This adventure takes you face-to-face with aliens before their ship crashes and is captured by military officials. Even if you don’t opt for an alien adventure, this experience is truly a must-see: Spaceport Roswell also offers Apollo 11 and other intergalactic adventures. A tip: accept complementary, disposable ear plugs when offered, because you never know if you’ll end up sitting next to a pod with four people like us. ohing, whewing And Whoah As they go; You’ll want to focus on your own virtual reality, and ear plugs will add to that ability.
Visitors can also purchase tickets to Bricktown, which features aliens, pirates, a moon landing, a railroad, a city and more than 250,000 toy brick-built world wonders. Press a button and a part lights up, while the world building section tells you all about the structure via video.
Across the street, the Roswell UFO Spacewalk and Gallery takes you through an artsy blacklit, family-friendly otherworld. Pets are allowed and you can visit as often as you want and take as many photos as you want. Tip: Wear something bright white for the best photo ops.
If you’re into laser tag, check out the 15,000-square-foot Area 52 Tactical Laser Tag.
Beyond “The Strip,” you’ll find even more great photo ops. Dunkin’ Donuts has a giant green alien, while right next door, McDonald’s competes for attention with its own UFO-shaped fast-food restaurant, complete with streaming-colored lights and silver aliens (just in case you’re tired of the green variety). Further down the street, you’ll find a few other photo ops, especially those attached to the Invasion Station store.
I found the people in Roswell to be very friendly and welcoming; I never felt “out of place” in an outfit. In fact, passers-by and shopkeepers were amused. A 5- or 6-year-old boy yelled out the window, “Aliens!” As his parents passed before us; Tourists wanted to take pictures with us or with them (granted, one jokingly asked my husband if he had lost a bet) and people nodded and waved (I think) as the four of us (and two dogs), all dressed in exotic costumes, almighty Dunkin’ Donuts. Standing at the base of Green Being.
Robert H. We finished our day with a relaxing visit to Goddard Planetarium’s full-dome digital theater; $5 (discounts for seniors, children and military) is a bargain for a roughly 45-minute film on a variety of topics. We were engrossed Unveiling the Invisible UniverseWhich fit the theme with depictions of X-rays, gamma rays, neutrinos, black holes and cosmic rays.
The next day, we took a 2 hour 20 minute drive to White Sands National Park. This time, my dog and I dressed up as Yoda, because the vast white sand dunes looked perfect. Star Wars Background Admittedly, I wasn’t in costume the whole time; I sanded down my oh-so-sexy PJs (okay, so I’ve only worn them as a costume — so far) as I sledded and skied (with vintage silver valances, of course). HILLS On that particular day, the first snow of the season fell on Colorado and it was very windy in southern New Mexico, so I didn’t get to ski, sled or walk as much as I wanted, although I did pull out a sand angel. . My clothes prevented me from getting a full body exfoliation, but my face definitely broke out and my hair felt like straw after the wind. So, if you plan to visit, try to avoid stormy days.
Roswell and the National Park will make for a long, packed weekend to explore. Located a little more than 8 ½ hours from Vail, Roswell is a whole different world in which to descend, use your imagination, and possibly transport yourself.