What to Do This Weekend? You Do Not Have to Travel Very Far!

Weather Talk

POSTED: Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 11:33am

UPDATED: Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 11:52am

With Ideal 70º Temperatures, There Are Some Surprising Activities and Historic Sites to Visit Right Here in El Paso!

The above average weather has had me thinking about fun, close El Paso activities that can get you outdoors and you may even get some beneficial exercise while you are exploring. I work with a studio production person, Meghan, who also works with the newly named “Destination El Paso” (formerly the El Paso Convention and Visitors Bureau). She always asks me about the weather for Saturday morning, because she works in a “Destination El Paso” booth at the El Paso Artist and Farmer’s Market. She answers questions from local visitors and from people from all around the world. We also have a director and studio production person, Thomas who has a second job at the El Paso Zoo. Listening to all his stories makes me want to go and see what is new with all the animals! In today’s “Weather Talk” I thought I would list a few ideas for outdoor fun and exercise you can possibly put on your list for this weekend.

El Paso Artist and Farmer’s Market

Check out this happening every Saturday all year long in the Union Plaza District on Anthony Street in Downtown El Paso. The market extends from Anthony Street up around San Francisco Avenue where Anthony and San Francisco meet. One of the newest year round attractions in the El Paso region is the Downtown Artist and Farmers Market. Located at the Union Plaza District (near The Garden Restaurant) the market offers original arts and crafts, food vending, and entertainment from local artists and artisans in El Paso County. Established in 2011, the market offers locals and visitors the opportunity to shop in an outdoor setting while enjoying great food and free activities for the entire family. The farmers market was recently launched on June 8, 2013. Help support local artists and growers by shopping local every Saturday at the Downtown Artist and Farmers Market! Free Parking is available.

El Paso Mission Trail

The nine mile historic El Paso Mission Trail where you can see 3 of the oldest churches in Texas, originally built in the 1600s-1700s. You can visit the first El Paso County Jail, where Billy the Kid broke into, in 1876. You can see the 17 sites of “Presidio de San Elizario” Fort. You pass by the area where the 1877 Salt Wars took place. El Paso’s only permanent Art District with over 30 artist studio/galleries with over 100 artists represented. The Tigua Indian Cultural Center is also located along this route.

Franklin Mountains State Park

Two hiking trails are currently accessible off of Loop 375/Trans-Mountain Road. Work is underway for a trail network that will ultimately offer a system of more than 100 miles of trails. Rock climbing is one of the park's newest recreational activities, with established climbing areas in McKelligon Canyon. The park conducts tours open to the general public. These ranger-led tours are conducted on the first and third weekends of the month. Reservations are preferred, with tours limited to 10 persons. If attendance allows, others will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. For reservations, call the park office. Tours depart from the park's front entrance at 8 a.m.. during the summer months and 9 a.m.. during the winter months.
1331 McKelligon Canyon Road
El Paso, TX 79930 (915) 566-6441
Entrance Fees; Adult: $5 Daily
Child 12 Years and Under: Free Group - Adult: $2 Daily

Wyler Aerial Tramway

Located in Franklin Mountains State Park Driving the paved road that snakes up the east side of the Franklin Mountains from the intersection of McKinley and Alabama streets is half the fun. The visitor arrives at a parking area that sits at an elevation of 4,692 feet. The view of El Paso, to the east, is magnificent. Here visitors can admire the beauty of cacti gardens or watch the tramway gondolas take off. Visitors can purchase tickets at the tramway station to ride a gondola that will transport them to the top of Ranger Peak. The Swiss made gondolas travel on 2,600 feet long, 1 3/8 inch diameter steel cable. While waiting to depart, the visitor can view part of the machinery and mechanism of the system through a window located on the south side of the base station. On the smooth ride to the top, the cabin attendant will describe the different cacti and rock formations along the way. Abundant wildlife, including reptiles, birds and insects, offer exciting viewing opportunities. The 4 minute ride soars above a vast canyon that is 240 feet deep in some places. From Ranger Peak, 5,632 feet above sea level, the visitor can enjoy the view of 7,000 square miles encompassing three states and two nations. The tramway ride is a memorable experience offering a vista of the vastness and stark beauty of the southwest.

El Paso Zoo

The El Paso Zoo now covers 35 acres, including a 6-acre "Africa" section that opened in 2010. The various displays feature rare examples of critically endangered animals: the Amur leopard -- seen in only 36 zoos around the world! -- Sumatran orangutan, Baja California Pronghorn, Mexican grey wolves, and Przewalski's wild horse. It also shows endangered species like Asian elephants, Cotton-top and Golden Lion tamarinds, Spider monkeys, and others. Of course, it has crowd-pleasers like lions, giraffes, ostriches, sea lions, Galapogas tortoise, Texas horned lizards, iguanas, alligators, and a dozen or so different rattlesnakes from near and far. Don't expect a big zoo, but the El Paso Zoo maintains high quality, as one of only some 200 accredited members of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, and it works with others on Species Survival Plans for its endangered species.

Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site

Spanning more than 860 acres, this park is named for the large rock basins or "huecos" that have supplied water to this desert-like region for many centuries For thousands of years, people have trekked to these rock hills in far west Texas. In earlier times, they came for the rainwater pooled in natural rock basins, or huecos (“whey-coes”). Visitors today marvel at the imagery left by those ancient people. At Hueco Tanks, you can hike, rock climb, bird watch, study nature and history, picnic and stargaze. Visitors can take guided and self-guided tours to view rock imagery. Stop by our interpretive center, in a historic ranch house, to learn about the park and its history. The park store at headquarters sells gifts and other items. Hueco Tanks is mainly a day-use park. However, we do have 20 campsites. Access to the park is restricted to protect its fragile resources. Hueco Tanks has guided and self-guided areas; you may only access the guided area on a tour. Self-guided Area: Seventy people are allowed in the North Mountain area at a time. The park often reaches this limit on weekends and holidays, and from November through March. To avoid a wait, make reservations before you come. Call (512) 389-8900.

These are just a few of the many historic sites and places you can visit just in El Paso County! To find out more check out; http://visitelpaso.com/, home of the newly named “Destination El Paso”! There are many more like White Sands National Monument, Old Mesilla, Gila Hot Springs, the New Mexico Museum of Space History; I could go on and on! One activity I do daily is to drive up Rim road to Scenic drive and just soak in the view of El Paso and Juarez! Take just a few minutes and do some investigating and how will be amazed on how many places to see and learn about and activities right here in El Paso! I guess what, you even get a little exercise while you at it!

Chuck DeBroder, Chief Meteorologist
KTSM, NewsChannel 9, NBC, El Paso, TX
www.twitter.com/ Chuck DeBroder NC9 @wxchuckNC9

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