Coming to Roswell and you will immediately notice the alien-themed stores and restaurants because their alleged claim of a UFO crash incident in 1947. Green alien figures are ubiquitous in town. Even the lamp shades of street lights have a pair of alien’s eyes. But Roswell has other attractions to offer. It is home to the old New Mexico Military Institute. It also the center of science and adventure of southeast of New Mexico from launching rockets by Dr. Goddard, one of the founding fathers of modern rocketry, to hosting the world record skydive by Felix Baumgartner from more than 39,000 meters (128,000 ft) above.
Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Roswell, New Mexico, is an oasis with diverse wildlife in desert. The wetland provides wintering habitat for thousands of migratory birds including least sandhill cranes, Ross and snow geese, and ducks. More than 100 types of dragonflies and damselflies are documented on the refuge. It also home for some rare species such as least terns. The short movies at the visitor center gave us insights of the refuge. The life of dragonflies fascinated me. Dragonflies live for about a year and only have one month to fly. Why beautiful things don’t last longer? They spend most of their lives as nymphs in the water. The video showed the emergence sequence of a dragonfly at night. The process takes about 3 hours. Driving along the lake, we saw some cool ducks among coots: northern shovelers, buffleheads, cinnamon teals, blue-winged teals, and scaups. The sound of sandhill cranes drew our attention to a high flying flock in the distance. The sun was getting hot and we went in town and before it hit 90 in the afternoon.
Roswell Museum and Art Center features exhibits of local and regional artists, scientists, and culture. Dr. Robert H. Goddard, an American rocket pioneer, launched 32 flight tests in Roswell between 1930 and 1942, the best altitude was about 1.5 miles. There was a room housed his workshop and a rocket he and his crew built.
Current exhibitions feature RAiR at 50 (50-year anniversary of Roswell Artist-in-Residence program) and Finishing Touches by Julie Alpert. We enjoyed the exhibitions and appreciated the creativities of artists from this robust art community in the southwest. Julie Alpert used craft materials to create visual arts in the form of installation, sculpture, paper tapestries and drawings that evoke nostalgia for her childhood. Shannon Rankin’s Germinate (land & sea) created a visual pattern by arranging tiny circles that has maps of land on one side and sea on the other. Shanti Grumbine’s Surplus is an intricate cutout of a newspaper with images of a pearl necklace and diamond rings. A mural entitled Pow-Wow by Willard Midgette vividly depicts the scene of dancing and singing in a native Americans’ ceremony. The colorful traditional American Indians’ costumes contrast with men’s denim clothing. A young boy with glasses wearing traditional clothing walks out of the crowd as if he is walking towards the future carrying on the traditions.
We saw a mural of Black Betty BBQ on our first day here. To our delight, we saw the food truck on the Main Street just minutes away from the museum. I had a delicious chopped BBQ sandwich and a cup of pinto beans. Stephen’s sausage was just so so.
The Chaves County Courthouse is one of the most beautiful architectures we have seen in the southwest. The green dome on top of the imposing building is phenomenal. I wonder if it got its color from the green aliens. As we were taking photos of the courthouse, a cowboy riding on a white horse magically appeared from nowhere. He rode the white horse across the green lawn, up the entrance stairs, crossed the front of the courthouse and then disappeared in the street. We disbelieved what we captured in our cameras.