The interesting thing about White Sands is that it is kind of in the middle of nowhere.  You either live near here and day trip in for a visit, or you are driving through to go somewhere else.  The closest town of Alamogordo is 15 miles away and provides ample eating and lodging sources. If you are planning a trip to the dunes, give yourself enough time to explore the dunes and the town of Alamogordo.  Since we were driving through, we spent 24 hours in the area and felt that was thoroughly enough time to enjoy the sites. White Sands National Monument, 24 Hours in Alamogordo by inspireandwander.com

Alamogordo

The town and the dunes are nestled in between two sets of Mountain ranges, the Sacramento Mountains and the San Andres Mountains.  This view is of the Sacramento Mountains.  As you can see, they make their own weather. I knew I wanted to be at the dunes around sunset so first, we set off to check out the New Mexico Museum of Space History.   I would highly recommend this museum, with or without kids.  It has great space artifacts such as moon rocks and replicas of satellites and missiles. On the walls, you will see photographs of all the people who have been inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame. On one of the higher floors, there is an excellent overlook of the Tularosa Basin, including Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range.  If you’re really into rockets, the Missile Range has a museum which is free. White Sands National Monument, 24 Hours in Alamogordo by inspireandwander.com

White Sand Dunes National Monument

Before heading out to the dunes, be sure to grab any food you may want to bring because once you get there, there really isn’t much.  Upon entering, you can get a map of the Dunes Drive when you pay the entrance fee.  The fee is $5 for adults and free for children, or just show your Interagency Access Pass. **TIP #1:  If you have kids and have the room, pick up a sledding disk at Walmart in town for $5.  If you don’t have the room, I believe they may rent them at the Visitor’s Center.  Although, if your kids are over the age of 8, I would pass on the disks.  The dunes are not that steep and my kids (13 & 11) quickly lost interest.  White Sands National Monument, 24 Hours in Alamogordo by inspireandwander.com

As you could see from the first photo, the clouds were building up along the mountain ridges.  I was hoping for a spectacular sunset but knew that I could also get nothing but cloud cover.  As we drove out, we stopped along the Interdune Boardwalk.  It is a short little walk and was good to stretch the legs.  Here, you can view the vegetation and animal life such as this baby rattlesnake.  I was told that snakes are not common, so some might say we were “lucky” to see this little guy.  I’m not sure I would use the word “lucky” though.  This is the closest zoom my husband could get without disturbing him.

After I ran back to the car, we proceeded to drive out to the Heart of the Sands area.  The dunes are a touch steeper here and have less vegetation, providing the photography background I was looking for.  It was beautiful hanging out and watching the clouds come in,  the light going from light purple to deep blue.  And although I did not get the gorgeous sunset I was hoping for, we witnessed an amazing thunder and lightning storm.

White Sands National Monument, 24 Hours in Alamogordo by inspireandwander.com White Sands National Monument, 24 Hours in Alamogordo by inspireandwander.com White Sands National Monument, 24 Hours in Alamogordo by inspireandwander.com

**Tip #2- Before you go, make sure you check out the notifications page on the White Sands website. It tells about heat advisories and road closures.  The road to the monument will close if they are doing testing.  

White Sands National Monument, 24 Hours in Alamogordo by inspireandwander.com
Aerial View of the dunes and Alamogordo

We had a great time visiting, as I am sure you will too.  One last tip:  the local Walmart offers great salads, fresh and ready to go.  I don’t visit that many Walmarts, but I have never seen these large size ones before.  They were perfect for bringing out to the dunes.  We tend to eat large lunches and smaller dinners while traveling, so these were just perfect.

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White Sands National Monument, 24 Hours in Alamagordo by inspireandwander.com

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June’s Free Digital Wallpaper

Whew! May came and went like a tornado in our house. With the kids getting out of school and us getting ready for summer activities and travel, May was pretty much a blur. But I’m back and happy to give you this freebie this month. I played with a photograph I took at the botanical gardens of this beautiful Queen Butterfly. I hope you enjoy it!
June digital wallpaper freebie by inspireandwander.com

Cool free wallpaper for your phone or desktop Click To Tweet

June digital wallpaper freebie by inspireandwander.com

June digital wallpaper freebie by inspireandwander.com

If you have access to the Resource Library, go ahead and download your freebie.  If you would like the code to download freebies like this and others every month, please sign up for the monthly newsletter.

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Why a Visit to Phoenix’s Musical Instrument Museum is a must for anyone.

A few years ago I heard that a musical instrument museum was being built in the northern end of the city.  I didn’t think much about it, I mean really, how could a museum of instruments be interesting?  Boy, was I wrong!   If you live anywhere near Phoenix or are planning a visit, this museum would be a wonderful way to beat the heat and simply enjoy a few hours.

The Musical Instrument Museum of Phoenix

Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum Review by inspireandwander.com

The best thing they did with this museum is they made it highly interactive.  Upon entering the museum, you are given a headset that allows you to fully immerse yourself.  It is a completely wild experience!  More on that in a minute.  When you arrive, head for the middle of the museum, the stairs around the inlay map of the world (which I just love).   Upstairs, you will find the galleries that allow you to put on your headset and visit different places around the world.

Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum Review by inspireandwander.com

 

The galleries are broken up into regions and seamlessly continue from one to the next.  My advice is to start on one end of the museum and go from there.  As you put on your headphones, the music playing in your ears will change from exhibit to exhibit.  You can go from screen displaying the drumbeats of Africa to Classical Austrian chamber music to Spanish Flamenco.  It is truly extrordinary!  It is not uncommon to see people dancing in front of the exhibit they are watching on the screens.

This is what makes the museum a special experience for any person of any age.  Not only do you hear the music of the world but you can also see all the different types of instruments that are from that region.  For those that want even more detail, there are placards next to the instruments that tell more about them.  Throughout the museum, there are docents eager to instill even more knowledge upon you as they show you instruments that you can touch and interact with.

Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum Review by inspireandwander.com

Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum Review by inspireandwander.com

Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum Review by inspireandwander.com

Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum Review by inspireandwander.com

Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum Review by inspireandwander.com

The in's and out's of the #MusicalInstrumentMuseum of Phoenix. @MIMphx Click To Tweet

If you have little ones, be sure to take them downstairs to the hands on gallery where they can touch and play some of the instruments in that room.  A warning though, it can get very loud in this room.  Also downstairs, is the auditorium concert hall where they regularly have performances.  It is a nice small venue in which I hope to see many more preformances.

Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum Review by inspireandwander.com

From historical to modern, from common to unique, the instruments and the music housed in this museum are sure to be a great experience for all.  For more information including hours and location, you can find it on their website.

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Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum Review by inspireandwander.com

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Reflections (Fab Photo Friday)- A Photo Essay

Welcome back for Fab Photo Friday!  This month I worked with others on a reflections collaboration.  I just love doing this post, I get to see so many beautiful photos!  Take a peek below at the entries, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Gold Beach on the Normandy Coast

Reflections, A photo essay by inspireandwander.com

“This sunrise was so peaceful that it was hard to imagine the fierce fighting that took place there 70+ years ago. This is much what the beach would’ve looked like as Allied troops stormed toward German defenses at dawn during low tide.”

Kris blogs at a Nomad By Trade.  It is a blog focusing on finding the fun in business travel and exploring the world for fun.

Evening on the Marsh

Reflections, A photo essay by inspireandwander.com

This photo was taken as a reminder of a great winter and it made for a great photography landscape.

Marcus is a 14 year old  follower of Inspire and Wander and wanted to contribute with his wonderful photography.

 

Reflection on the Fjord

Reflections, A photo essay by inspireandwander.com

This picture was taken on an early morning ferry on Sognefjord, Norway, between Solvorn and Urnes. Everyone else was looking out the front of the ferry (really a small boat) and I stood looking back the way we were coming from so got to snap this view that no-one else even saw.

You can find Suzie at I am But Wandering.   Her blog is mainly a diary of her travels with her husband around the world. They are travelling long term as of August 2016 and think they have at least 5 years on the road before they have to think about going back to England.

 

Loch Lubnaig

Reflections, A photo essay by inspireandwander.com

This photo was taken in November at the Lubnaig Lake (Loch Lubnaig) in Scotland. Sometimes when there is no wind (and it’s not raining, but it usually does) you can see a fabulous reflection.

Tripsget is a blog about expat life in the UK, great-value traveling and weekend trips.

 

Victoria Harbour

Reflections, A photo essay by inspireandwander.com

Most people will focus on the brilliantly lit British Columbia Parliament, and rightfully so — it is why I took the shot. But my favorite parts of the picture are the seaplanes lined up neatly next to the Seaplane Terminal in the foreground. We flew to Vancouver on one the next morning. What a thrill.

Doug is a hobbyist photographer and follower of Inspire and Wander.  I am happy to have Doug share his skills here.

A beautiful collection of reflections in this photo essay. Click To Tweet

 

Boathouse Row

Reflections, A photo essay by inspireandwander.com

Boathouse Row in Philadelphia, PA. It’s a historic landmark in Philadelphia that dates back to 1858 and is still in use for rowing teams today.

Philly with a Fjallraven is a Philadelphia photography and travel blog.

 

Nova Scotia

Reflections, A photo essay by inspireandwander.com

Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, Canada along the Cabot Trail. The cabot trail and National Highlands Park is filled with gorgeous settings and surrounds the island of Cape Breton.

Style Island is a lifestyle and entertainment destination with a focus on storytelling  as told by a native and local New Yorker. A place for the mind to roam and wander.

 

Lake Powell

Reflections, A photo essay by inspireandwander.com

Last but not least is my photograph of Lake Powell, Utah.  Boating on Lake Powell is dreamy and a photographer’s wonderland.  This is one of my favorite photos of the lake.

Every month is a new photo essay.  If you have something you would like to contribute, follow me on Instagram and Facebook to be the first to find out about submissions.  If you missed the gorgeous sunrises last month, you can find them here.

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Reflections, A photo essay by inspireandwander.com

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