Time to get spooky: An alien experience

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

Editor’s Note: “Time to Get Scary” is a series in the Vail Daily that explores the scary, weird and supernatural.

Short of going to Roswell’s annual UFO festival in the summer, the only way to fully experience Roswell, New Mexico, in my humble opinion, is to go all out – far, far out. Walk the streets in your favorite alien outfit, take campy photos with the variety of wood-carved, inflatable or gigantic plastic alien statues that line the streets, read testimonies in the UFO Museum, fully immerse yourself in the virtual reality of the 1947 alien landing and Government coverup and top the trip with a drive to the otherworldly White Sands National Park (plastic green shelter in hand, of course).

I have the 22nd-23rd. October for my birthday in Roswell and White Sands with both believers and non-believers. As “Ancient Alien” aficionados, my mother and I fall into the first camp, while my father and husband cling to the idea of ​​little green men. I admit, the theorists on the History Channel Ancient Aliens make ridiculously big leaps with several gaping holes between their coverage of historical sites and their conclusions that foreigners just explain about every strange phenomenon, including the Egyptian pyramids. But thinking we’re the only game in the galaxy seems a bit egocentric, so my mind tends more towards the curious, open end of the spectrum.

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

My husband refuses to look at the bunk, but he humored me all weekend by dressing up in a green onesie we picked up at a thrift store the weekend before and wearing the squid, or, as we like to think, Alien hat, I bought in 2020 when we originally planned to go to Roswell for my birthday – until we discovered that the state is closed to tourists due to COVID. My father, a decorated Vietnam vet who lives in the more concrete world of building houses and fixing almost everything mechanically, walked out of the International UFO Museum and Research Center thinking “something happened,” but his narrative revolved around more the military creating something of a mix-up and creating a cover story that turned into stories about aliens and UFOs after military leaders found themselves with little to entertain themselves after World War II, hence the alien alien stories.

A model of an alien in the International UFO Museum.
Kimberly Nicoletti / Special for the Daily

Frankly, I thought for sure that my father and husband would become believers, or at least seriously entertain the possibility of aliens, after spending over an hour in the UFO museum. I personally found it compelling: military men encountering technology they couldn’t explain, government agents threatening their lives if they claimed the Roswell crash was anything but a weather balloon – just the sheer volume of stories of sightings in all over the country were enough to convince me that something very strange was going on. And, a walk through the adjacent research library filled with volumes upon volumes of books and reports that add to the essential evidence.

Despite all the heavy research and eyewitness accounts, 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 staged UFO, which every so often is animated with smoke and aliens speaking in their native language (er, that is, if they have tongues).

A foreign trip

The first stop on your Roswell adventure is The Roswell Visitor Center and Store, where your campy photos begin (or, maybe you just want to pick up a cool pair of alien glasses—the visitor center is your cheapest bet). This includes a seasonally themed photo stage (this time of year, imagine yourself smiling under a “Believe” sign, among hay bales, scarecrows and of course the ever-present aliens, currently dressed in fall attire), where free printed photos appear as the perfect souvenir .

The International UFO Museum and Research Center is an absolute must to fully familiarize yourself with Roswell culture, as well as NASA data and research. There’s a lot to read on the walls, but it’s worth it. Photos, movie posters, a variety of short videos and various alien scenes offer an alternative to reading documents, explanations and encounters, resulting in a fun, interactive, fantastic adventure.

On the short walk from the Roswell Visitor Center to the museum, take at least a few minutes to take some creative photos or videos on the huge mural of a UFO, with the hot pink caption: “ROSWELL…we believe !”

Dylan and Kimberly Nicoletti “hang on” to the UFO mural in Roswell.
Photo: Pat Mauk/Courtesy

Along the historic city strip, you will pass many creatively decorated and painted storefront windows; if you’re a shutterbug like me, they’re all worth a snapshot. The alien-themed stores are fun, too; beyond the funny t-shirts and mugs, you’ll find everything from alien water spray guns to Baby Yoda cookies and alien-themed dog pipes. Speaking of dogs, Roswell is an exceptionally dog-friendly town. Most shops allow the furry four-legged friend to sniff around.

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Spaceport Roswell has one of the most memorable and exciting activities, in the form of virtual reality experiences. Our welcoming employee, dressed as a futuristic flight attendant, didn’t flash our costumes – all she wanted to know was if we had flex capacitors in our handbag or luggage or any extraterrestrial goo, slime, slime or glop on our persons (for these are prohibited) before we point to our pod.

Experience virtual reality in the pod at Spaceport Roswell.
Courtesy photo

Once there, we fitted our VR goggles and went on a wild, dizzying journey through the 1947 Alien Crash in our swivel chairs. The adventure takes you face to face, body to body with aliens before their ship crashes and lands in the hands of trying military officials. This experience is truly a must-see, even if you don’t choose the alien adventure: Spaceport Roswell also offers Apollo 11 and other intergalactic adventures. One tip: accept the complimentary, disposable earplugs when offered, because you never know if you’ll be sitting next to a pod like ours, with four people oh, well in the wow how they walk; You want to be able to focus on your own virtual reality, and the earbuds add that ability.

Visitors can also buy tickets for BrickTown, which has built aliens, pirates, moon landings, railways, cities and wonders of the world from more than 250,000 toys. Press a button and a portion lights up, while the World Buildings section tells you all about the structure through a video.

Across the street, Roswell UFO Spacewalk and Gallery takes you through an artistic blacklight, family-friendly otherworld. Pets are allowed, and you can go through as many times as you want and take as many photos as you want. Tip: Wear something like white that glows for the best photo ops.

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

If you’re into laser tag, check out the 15,000 square foot Area 52 Tactical Laser Tag.

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Besides “the strip”, you will find more great photo ops. Dunkin’ Donuts boasts an enormous green alien, while, right next door, McDonald’s competes for attention with its own UFO-shaped fast-food restaurant, complete with streaming colored lights and silver aliens (just in case you’re tired of the green ) variety). Further down the road you’ll find several other photo ops, especially those connected to the Invasion Station store.

I found the people in Roswell very friendly and welcoming; I never felt “out of place” in the suit. In fact, passers-by and shop owners seem entertained. A 5- or 6-year-old boy shouted out the window: “Alien!” when his parents drove us past; Tourists wanted to take pictures with, or of, us (well, one jokingly asked my husband if he had lost a bet) and people (in a friendly way, I think) like the four of us (and two dogs) tossed and waved. , all dressed in alien garb, posing at the foot of the almighty Dunkin’ Donuts green being.

We ended our day with a relaxing visit to the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium’s full-dome digital theater; it’s a bargain at $5 (seniors, children and military get discounts) for a movie of about 45 minutes on various subjects. We took care of ourselves Discovery of the Invisible Universewhich suited the theme, with its depiction of X-rays, gamma rays, neutrinos, black holes and cosmic rays.

The next day we took the 2 hour 20 minute drive to White Sands National Park. This time my dog ​​and I dressed in a Yoda onesie because the big white sand dunes seemed to be the perfect Star Wars scenery. Granted, I didn’t stay in costume the whole time; I didn’t want to get my oh-so-sexy pjs (ok, so I’ve only worn them as a costume – until now) full of sand when I sled and ski (with vintage silver volants, of course) down hills. On that particular day, the first snow of the season hit Colorado, and southern New Mexico was wicked windy, so I didn’t get to ski, sled or walk as much as I wanted, although I did manage to carve out a sand angel. My clothes kept me from a full-body exfoliation, but my face was definitely plastered, and my hair felt like straw after the wind blew through it. So, if you are planning a visit, try to avoid a windy day.

A long packed weekend will do to see Roswell and the National Park. Located a little more than 8 ½ hours from Vail, Roswell is a completely different world in which you can land, exercise your imagination and possibly find yourself transported.


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