Time to get spooky: An alien experience

An unidentified painting at the International UFO Museum in Roswell.
Kimberly Nicoletti/Daily Special

Editor’s Note: “Time to get spooky” is a Vail Daily series that explores the spooky, weird and supernatural..

Short of going to Roswell’s annual UFO Festival this summer, the only way to fully experience Roswell, New Mexico, in my humble opinion, is to go all out – far, far away. Walk the streets in your favorite outdoor outfit, take pictures of the camp with the variety of carved wood, inflatable or fancy plastic statues that line the streets, read the testimony in the UFO museum, immerse yourself completely in the reality of the 1947 government landing. cover and top the trip with a drive through the world’s White Sands National Park (green plastic saucer in hand, of course).

I spent Oct. 22-23 I celebrate my birthday in Roswell and White Sands for both believers and non-believers. Like the likes of “Ancient Alien”, my mother and I fall into the first camp, while my father and husband disagree with the idea of ​​little green men. I agree, History Channel’s experts Ancient Aliens they make ridiculously big strides with some gaps between including historical places and their endings explaining aliens about almost every weird thing, including the pyramids of Egypt. But thinking we’re the only game in the galaxy seems like a stretch, so my mindset leans more toward the curious, open-minded end of the spectrum.

Kimberly Nicoletti ‘meditating’ under the Roswell UFO mural.
Pat Mauk/Photo courtesy

My husband refuses to look at the squid, but he made fun of me all weekend by wearing a green onesie that we picked up at the thrift store last weekend and gave the squid, or, as we like to think of it, an outdoor hat, bought in 2020, when we originally planned to go to Roswell on my birthday – until we found out the country was closed to tourists due to COVID. My father, a decorated Vietnam vet who lives in the concrete world of building homes and repairing anything mechanical, left the International UFO Museum and Research Center thinking “something happened,” but his narrative focused on some military contamination. and a cover story was created, which changed to stories about aliens and UFOs after the military boys found themselves out of entertainment after WWII, hence the exotic alien stories.

Alien model at the International UFO Museum.
Kimberly Nicoletti/Daily Special

Honestly, I thought my father and husband would become believers, or at least deeply appreciate the possibility of extraterrestrials, after spending over an hour at the UFO Museum. Personally, I found it compelling: military men encountering technology they can’t explain, government agents threatening their lives if they say the Roswell crash wasn’t just a weather balloon – dozens of stories seen across the country were enough to convince me. that something unusual is happening. Also, one walks through a collective library filled with volumes of books and reports that add to the many testimonies.

Despite all the hard research and evidence, Roswell doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is quite refreshing. Even the UFO Museum, filled with accounts of sightings and even abductions, has a UFO on stage that is, every so often, evoked by smoke and aliens speaking in their native language (uh, that is, if they have languages).

An unknown journey

The first stop on your Roswell tour is The Roswell Visitor Center and Store, where your campy photos begin (or, maybe you just want to pick up some cool outdoor glasses – the visitor center is your cheapest bet). This includes a photo section with a seasonal theme (at this time of year, picture yourself smiling under the “Believe” sign, among bales of hay, scarecrows and, of course, the ever-present aliens, dressed in autumn clothes at the moment), where free printed photos come out as an excellent souvenir.

The International UFO Museum and Research Center is absolutely worth it to fully experience the culture of Roswell, as well as the data and research of NASA. There’s a lot to read on the walls, but it’s worth it. Pictures, movie posters, a variety of short videos and unique scenes offer an alternative way to read texts, descriptions and encounters, leading to a fun, interactive, imaginative experience.

On the short walk from the Roswell Visitor Center to the museum, take at least a few minutes to snap art photos or videos at the giant UFO mural, with its hot pink caption: “ROSWELL … we believe!”

Dylan and Kimberly Nicoletti are ‘stuck’ on the UFO painting in Roswell.
Pat Mauk/Photo courtesy

Alongside the town’s history, you’ll pass dozens of artfully decorated and painted shop front windows; if you’re a shutterbug like me, they’re all worth photographing. Strangely themed shops are fun too; beyond funny t-shirts and mugs, you’ll find everything from alien-squirt water guns to baby Yoda cookie cutters and uniquely themed dog leashes. Speaking of dogs, Roswell is a dog-friendly town. Many stores allow four furry legs to sniff out visitors.

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Spaceport Roswell features one of the most memorable and exciting activities, in the form of a virtual reality experience. Our receptionist, dressed as the expected flight attendant, didn’t bat an eye at our clothes – she wanted to know if we had any flex capacitors on us or in our luggage or any foreign goo, slime, mucus or glop. to our people (because this is not allowed) before showing us our pod.

Experience virtual reality in a pod at Spaceport Roswell.
Image courtesy

We got there, fixed our VR goggles and took a harrowing ride through the 1947 alien crash in our swivel chairs. The adventure takes you face-to-face with the aliens before their ship crashes and lands in the hands of the investigating military officers. This experience is a must-see, even if you’re not into outdoor adventure: Spaceport Roswell also hosts Apollo 11 and other intergalactic adventures. One tip: Accept compatible, disposable ear plugs when offered, because you never know if you’ll be sitting next to a pod like ours, with four people. wow, wow again wow as they go; you’ll want to be able to focus on your virtual reality, and ear plugs add to that ability.

Visitors can also purchase tickets to BrickTown, which includes an alien, pirate, moon landing, railroad, city and world wonders built from over 250,000 toy bricks. Press a button and the section lights up, while the Real Estate section tells you all about the building in a video.

Across the street, the Roswell UFO Spacewalk and gallery takes you into a darkly artistic, family-friendly world. Pets are allowed, and you can pass as many times as you like and take as many photos as you like. Tip: Wear something bright white for the best photo ops.

Dylan Nicoletti and four-legged Hani at the Roswell UFO Spacewalk and Gallery.
Kimberly Nicoletti/Daily Special

For laser tag, check out the 15,000-square-foot Area 52 Tactical Laser Tag.

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Beyond the “line,” you’ll find great photo ops. Dunkin’ Donuts boasts a giant green alien, while, next door, McDonald’s competes for attention with its UFO-shaped fast food place, complete with flashing colored lights and silver waiters (just in case you’re tired of the green. variety). Down the road, you’ll find a few more photo ops, especially those attached to the Invasion Station store.

I found the people of Roswell to be very friendly and welcoming; I never felt “out of place” in a costume. In fact, passers-by and shopkeepers seemed happy. Another 5 or 6 year old boy yelled out the window, “alien!” as his parents passed us by car; tourists wanted to take pictures with us, or with us (yes, one jokingly asked my husband if he lost a bet) and people honked and waved (in a friendly way, I think) as the four of us (and two dogs), all dressed in foreign costumes, stood under a green animal u -Dunkin’ Donuts.

We ended our day with a relaxing tour of the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium’s full-dome digital theater; it’s a $5 benefit (seniors, children and military get a discount) for about a 45-minute film on a variety of topics. We dived in Unveiling the Invisible Universewhich seemed to fit the theme, with its depiction of x-rays, gamma rays, neutrinos, blackholes and cosmic rays.

The next day, we took a two hour and 20 minute drive to White Sands National Park. This time, my dog ​​and I wore Yoda onesies, since the white sand dunes seemed right. star Wars the background. Granted, I didn’t stay in costume all the time; I didn’t want to get my oh-so-sexy pjs (okay, so I’ve only worn them as a costume – until now) covered in sand as I slogged and skied (in vintage silver Volants, of course) down the hills. That day, the first snow of the season hit Colorado, and southern New Mexico was very windy, so I didn’t get to ski, snowboard or get in as much as I wanted, although I did manage to sculpt a sand angel. . My clothes prevented me from being blown away, but my face was thrown, and my hair was like grass after the wind. So, if you plan to visit, try to avoid a windy day.

A long, packed weekend will see Roswell and the national park. Located just over 8 ½ hours from Vail, Roswell is a completely different world to live in, use your imagination and find yourself transported.


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