By Jean Strauber, Travel Editor
The Annual Rosewell UFO Festival has scheduled the annual event from July 1- 4 with lectures, vendors, music and even dancing. And, the International UFO Museum and Research will
eagerly await visitors. It was in July 1947 that something happened northwest of Roswell. Was it a weather balloon or a flying saucer. On July 8th the public information officer at the Roswell Army Air Field, lt. Walter Haut, issued a press release that basically stated that “We have in our possession a flying saucer.” However, the next day another press release was issued stating that it was a weather balloon.
The event dubbed the Roswell Incident has since become a topic of public fascination. Was there a crash of a flying saucer, were bodies recovered and was there a cover-up by the military? Walter Haut and Glenn Dennis, a fellow Roswellian participant, sought a venue for the information and incorporated as an educational organization in 1991 and the International UFO Museum and Research Center first opened its doors in 1992. Today, the museum offers exhibits that include information on Roswell, crop circles, sightings, Nevada’s Area 51, ancient astronauts and abductions.
Since its opening, the museum has outgrown its two former locations and is now in its third home with addition of many new exhibits from around the world. Since it has now been discovered that there are about 120 exoplanets with composition similar to Earth and which can sustain life, is it unreasonable to say that what crashed in Rosewell was, indeed, a flying saucer? For more information about the museum and the Roswell Festival go to www.iufomrc.org or call (800) 822-3545.
One of the best tours I’ve ever taken has been to Los Alamos, New Mexico. Anyone visiting Santa Fe, Taos, or Albuquerque must include this in the itinerary. Soon after it was decided in Washington to develop the Atom Bomb, US Army personnel were looking for a site to develop this awesome weapon — a site where absolute secrecy could be maintained. In Los Alamos, there was only one road in and one road out of the area.
Los Alamos was the location of the Los Alamos Ranch School, a school for youth from very rich families. The owner was made an offer he couldn’t refuse and very soon the US Army had engineers, scientists, support people and their families all working to develop the bomb. So secret was this facility that everyone’s address was a building in Santa Fe including checking accounts, marriage licenses or even birth certificates.
After World War II ended the Army offered to the population an opportunity to buy home lots in the area, and so the town of Los Alamos was born. Today, it is a city that wears several hats. First, there is the history of the Manhattan Project. In the city there is the Bradbury Science Museum where you can learn about the work of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. You’ll see a 16-minute film, “Mission: Stockpile Stewardship,” in the theater and explore the history of the Manhattan Project in the History Gallery.
You’ll also find on display the bomb casings identical to Fat Man and Little Boy in the Defense Gallery, along with exhibits on plutonium and the Nevada Test Site. Second, you can visit the Bandelier National Monument which is known for its ancient ruins, petroglyphs, and the thousands of ancestral Pueblo dwellings (pictured above) inhabited from the 1100s to the 1500s. Take a guided walk to an ancient pueblo, see native artisans at work, take a walking tour of the Civilian Conservation Corps Historic District and enjoy the spectacular scenery.
Third, visit the Art Center at Fuller Lodge which was originally built in the 1920s for the school. Tour the nearby Los Alamos Historical Museum, which illuminates the Pajarito Plateau history, the Manhattan Project, the Los Alamos Ranch School, and other local history. A historical walking tour of downtown Los Alamos is available. For more information please contact the Los Alamos Meeting and Visitor Bureau at (800) 662-8105 or go to visit. losalamos.com.
John Wayne Fans
Fans of John Wayne might want to visit the small town of Genoa, Nevada. His final movie, The Shootist, was filmed here and the entire town became a setting for the movie. The town is so tiny that some structures had to be built for the movie. Genoa is just 25 minutes east of Lake Tahoe and an hour south of Reno.
It’s home to the Mormon Station State Park Museum and the Genoa Courthouse Museum. In September you might want to join the community to celebrate the Candy Dance Arts and Crafts Faire, a tradition since 1919. For more information about Genoa call (800) NEVADA-8 or go to Genoa. TravelNevada.com.