In October of 2017, my mom and I took a road trip through central New Mexico. The third stop on our road trip was Alamogordo, New Mexico.
No road trip is complete without seeing the world’s largest something. In central New Mexico, the large attraction that you can’t miss is the world’s largest pistachio at PitsachioLand.
This enormous nut is not-to-be-missed. Like, you literally cannot miss it. It’s surrounded by pistachio trees and grapevine fields, with nothing else in the vicinity except for the gift shop.
All kinds of nuts! We fit right in.
They offer a trolley tour of the vineyard and pistachio fields. I think at this point in the trip we were exhausted and just wanted to get back to my mom’s house, so we didn’t take the tour. We did buy all kinds of delicious snacks in the gift shop, though.
While we were in town, we stopped at the New Mexico Museum of Space History. We gave ourselves a few hours here, and it was enough time to see everything. There are lots of actual scientific artifacts here, but one of my favorite things I saw was this tribble!
I would go anywhere this little monkey told me to.
We mostly wanted to see the grave of Ham the Astrochimp, who is interred in front of the museum. We brought him some gas station roses.
Ham was the first hominid to go to space. His story is a sad one. He was captured from the wild at about a year old. The United States Air Force used Ham to see whether living creatures can survive space travel and perform tasks while in outer space. During his training, he was electrocuted if he didn’t behave.
They have his primate capsule on display at the museum, but I chose not to post pictures of it. There are photos nearby of Ham strapped into the capsule, and it’s really sad to see the poor guy restrained.
But then Ham died old and fat with a much younger girlfriend at a zoo in North Carolina, which is kind of how I want to go, too.
His remains are buried here at the museum. EXCEPT FOR HIS SKELETON, which is at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, Maryland. He was originally going to be stuffed and displayed at the Smithsonian, but this idea didn’t get a warm reception by the public. So here lies (most of) Ham the Astrochimp.
Depressing primate history aside, the museum was great! I highly recommend a stop.
You can read about my whole trip in this series of posts:
- New Mexico Road Trip Mini Scrapbook
- Fox Cave: New Mexico’s Best Tourist Trap
- Roswell, NM: a Trip to Alien Country
- Alamogordo: a Big Nut & a Dead Chimp (that’s this one!)