Discover Alamogordo, NM – Travel Break Downs, Photography and Finding Art

My husband and I spent an unexpected weekend in Alamogordo, NM and were pleasantly surprised with the unassuming little town. There are quirky shops, an art theatre, a small zoo, and amazing surroundings.

The Break Down

We were in the process of driving home a Japanese Imported Toyota Coaster that was formerly a mobile X-ray clinic and had been on the road for 8 days. After nearly 3000 miles under our belt we were done and ready to get home to our kiddos. So, of course, we blew a tire.

We were 20 miles out of Alamogordo, it was the middle of a Saturday Night, and we had metric tires with split rims and no spare. I don’t know if you know what a split rim tire is, neither did I before this fiasco, but they are dangerous and no one will put the dinosaurs on anymore.

Cue our weekend stay in Alamogordo.

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Alamogordo Historic Downtown

Once you put everything in the right perspective, even bad times can be an opportunity to
refresh your appetite, your desire.

Alex Zanardi

Going slow and steady we limped our little bus to a centrally located motel on Alamogordos main street and waited for morning to try our luck. We had 2 days to get home before a snow storm descended on our route and a 12 hr drive left. Having been told many times in my life “I lived in a lala land of rainbows and butterflies”, I was optimistic.

leela moon artist travel photographer and writer
Broken down in Alamogordo In our Toyota Coaster. Bringing in my spoils found in Arizona, Euphorbia Ammak Variegata.

The next morning, while my self-proclaimed Ninja husband found the only mechanic in New Mexico who had the old knowledge, and no fear, of our split rims, I took the opportunity to live in the moment. I enjoy spontaneous stops and would stop at every pretty sunset and cheap attraction along the way if it weren’t for my gung-ho, get ’em done husband.

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Leela Moon Google Maps Saved Places

So I pulled up my best buddy when out exploring the world, Google Maps.

Key Places To Visit While In Alamogordo

  • Alameda Park Zoo
  • Toy Train Depot
  • Alamogordo Historic Downtown
  • Shroud Exhibit and Museum
  • Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts Gallery, Antiques, And More
  • Flickinger Center For Performing Arts
  • Tularosa Basin Museum of History
  • Founders Park
  • Museum of Space History
  • White Sands National Park

Why You Should Take A Family Day Trip To White Sands New Mexico


The zoo, a few thrift antique stores, an art center, and grocery with quirky coffee and eats were all within walking distance.

The zoo was small and cute and offered learning and environmental education for the locals and tourists alike. We bought our kids a few trinkets and missed them terribly while we walked the boardwalk. Fox, bear, and the most beautiful birds I had ever seen were all close-up and active.

The magic for me though was walking the town.

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Founders Park Alamogordo, NM

Finding Art in Alamogordo

Alamogordo is full of opportunity to find unique art. Right behind our motel we stumbled into the Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts Gallery, Antiques, And More. It was packed full of original paintings, pottery, antiques and eye-catching decor. I was in love.

The building is an old bank and there are creative spaces full of makers wares throughout the building. My favorite was the gallery style painting room tucked away downstairs. Inside the room is an old, very large, bank vault full of pottery, dramatically illuminated with well placed lighting.

Thrifting is more than shopping. It is a treasure hunt, an adventure, a day full of possibilities.

Leela Moon

Two of the local paintings caught my eye and I vowed to come back someday for the awesome pottery. The man behind the counter told me how many of the pieces were from right across the street at The Flickinger Center For Performing Arts.

Naturally, I walked over to enjoy a coffee and browse more local paintings. Afterwards, I explored outside a bit more and enjoyed the historic adobe buildings.

I have always appreciated the earthen style buildings made of adobe and New Mexico is a haven for them. The county court building nestled between thrift, stores, coffee shops, and the art center was covered in morning light and shadow. It drew me in instantly.

With every road trip I take I learn more about myself and the world I live in. And most gratefully, how to handle unfortunate situations, because they happen a lot when traveling. No trip is ever going to go as planned and breaking down and unexpected turn of events are apart of the travel experience.

How To Find Joy When You Break Down On A Road Trip

  • Go Thrift Store Shopping
  • Find A Quirky Coffee Shop
  • Go For A Walk
  • Take Pictures
  • Journal Your Frustrations Then Journal Your Gratitude
  • Eat Local

If you ever find yourself broken down in a dusty little town, take advantage of the opportunity to explore a place you wouldn’t have otherwise. To slow down and walk more. Enjoy your travel companion and your own company a little deeper. Pull out your Google Maps and find a treasure hunt.

To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.

Bruce Lee

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Have You Been To Alamogordo or Broken Down While Traveling?
I Would Love To Hear Your Thoughts And Experiences!

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