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Flying J Ranch in Ruidoso, NM

I'm always on the lookout for new adventures to do with my family.  But, I have to admit that when the opportunity became available to explore New Mexico, I had to question what we would find.  Having only ever driven quickly through the state, I didn't know much about it except for the fact that there was a lot of desert.

Ruidoso, New Mexico has expanded my horizons - quite literally.  The beauty of this mountainous area almost makes me feel as though I'm driving through the Pacific Northwest.  The fact that it was 60 degrees (and an elevation of over 7,500') also blew my mind.

Only a couple hour drive from El Paso or Albuquerque, Ruidoso is a beautiful, mountain village that offers a lot of activities during any time of the year.  Because we were visiting in the summer, we opted to check out the Flying J Ranch - a replica of Western cowboy living.

Flying J Ranch is a dinner theater-type event that opens at 5:30pm when you can pick up tickets that you've ordered online or over the phone - or buy tickets if they're still available.  As you enter into "Bonita City", you'll want to be sure to stop to get your picture in the local jail and peruse the merchandise in the general store and sweet shop.  How can you pass up a $7 pink sequined princess tiara cowboy hat?!


Kids of all ages will enjoy the $3 pony rides and pistol shooting, plus the FREE steer-roping lessons and Deputy Training School (during which the Sheriff will inform kids that the 1st rule of being a deputy is that you must be respectful and polite - and obey your parents!).  You can relax with a cup of true chuckwagon coffee as you listen to the sounds of the resident fiddler and walk around the charming town reading about the local Mescalero Indians who still reside in the area.


Just before dinner, you and your family can enjoy an extremely lively - and entertaining - gun fight down the center of Bonita City, after which you will enjoy a fabulous chuckwagon dinner including BBQ chicken, brisket, beans, potatoes, biscuits, spice bread and more (including FREE 2nds, 3rds, or even 4ths - until the beans are gone!).  

But, this isn't it!  The dinner show includes live music entertainment from some exceptional Bluegrass and Western musicians that are sure to have everyone in the family clapping their hands and laughing right along.  With songs ranging from your traditional cowboy folk songs to a song about living in an RV, it truly is a blast.  There's even a champion yodeler in the group!



If you're traveling through New Mexico and want to provide a bit of Western culture to your and your children's lives, I highly recommend stopping at the Flying J Ranch.  You will leave there with full bellies, smiling kids, and great memories.

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