Time to get spooky: An alien experience

Alien painting at the International UFO Museum in Roswell.
Kimberly Nicoletti/Special to the newspaper

Editor’s Note: “Time to Get Spooky” is a Vail Daily magazine series that explores the spooky, weird and supernatural..

If you’re 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 as far as you can—far, far away. Walk the streets in your favorite alien outfit, take pictures with the various wooden, inflatable or giant plastic alien statues that line the streets, read reviews in the UFO museum, fully immerse yourself in the virtual reality of the 1947 alien landing and government. cover up and end the trip with a trip to another world at White Sands National Park (plastic green saucer in hand, of course).

I spent October 22nd-23rd celebrating my birthday in Roswell and Whitesands with believers and non-believers alike. As fans of “ancient aliens,” my mom and I fall into the first camp, while my dad and husband balk at the idea of ​​little green men. I admit, history channel theorists Ancient aliens make ridiculously large leaps with few holes between the coverage of historical sites and their conclusions that aliens explain almost every strange phenomenon, including the Egyptian pyramids. But thinking we’re the only game in the galaxy seems a little self-centered, so my mind leans more toward the curious, open-minded end of the spectrum.



Kimberly Nicoletti “meditates” under the Roswell UFO mural.
Pat Mauk/Courtesy photo

My husband refuses to look in bed, but he kept me entertained all weekend by wearing a green thong we picked up at a thrift store the weekend before and donning a squid, or as we like to think, alien hat. bought in 2020 when we originally planned to go to Roswell for my birthday – until we discovered the state was closed to tourists due to COVID. My dad, a decorated Vietnam vet who lives in a more tangible world where he builds houses and fixes almost anything mechanical, walked out of the International UFO Museum and Research Center thinking something had happened, but his account is more of a military situation that something mix. and creating a cover story that morphed into stories about aliens and UFOs after the military had little to entertain after World War II, which led to unusual alien stories.

Alien model at the International UFO Museum.
Kimberly Nicoletti/Special to the newspaper

To be honest, I definitely thought my dad and husband would become believers, or at least seriously entertain the possibility of aliens, after spending over an hour in a UFO museum. Personally, I found it compelling: the military facing technology they couldn’t explain, government agents putting their lives in danger when they claimed the Roswell crash was nothing more than a weather balloon – just the sheer number of stories of sightings across the country was enough to convince me . that something very strange is happening. And one stroll through the adjacent research library, filled with volumes and reports peppered with vital evidence.



Despite all the heavy research and reviews, Roswell doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is quite refreshing. Even a UFO museum filled with stories of sightings and even abductions has a staged UFO that occasionally becomes animated with smoke and aliens speaking their native language (well, that is, if they have tongues).

Alien route

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

The International UFO Museum and Research Center is an absolute must to fully experience Roswell’s culture as well as NASA data and research. There’s a lot to read on the walls, but it’s worth it. Photographs, movie posters, various short videos and various alien scenes provide an alternative to reading documents, explanations and encounters, resulting in a fun, interactive, imaginative experience.



A short walk from the Roswell Visitor Center to the museum, take at least a few minutes to capture creative photos or videos at the giant UFO mural, which bears the pink caption: “ROSWELL … We Believe!”

Dylan and Kimberly Nicoletti “hang out” at the UFO mural in Roswell.
Pat Mauk/Courtesy photo

Along the historic downtown strip, you’ll pass many creatively decorated and painted storefronts; if you’re like me, they’re all worth a snapshot. Alien themed stores are also fun; beyond funny t-shirts and mugs, you’ll find everything from alien water splashes to baby Yoda cookie jars and alien-themed dog leashes. Speaking of dogs, Roswell is a particularly dog-friendly town. Most stores allow furry four-legged friends to sniff out the aliens.

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The Roswell Spaceport offers one of the most memorable and exciting activities in the form of a virtual reality experience. Our hospitality clerk, dressed as a futuristic flight attendant, didn’t bat an eye at our costumes—all she wanted to know was if there were flexible capacitors in our carry-ons or luggage, or any extraterrestrial crud, slime, slime, or glop. on our persons (for they are forbidden) before showing us to our pot.

Virtual Reality Experience at Roswell Spaceport.
Courtesy photo

Once there, we adjusted our VR goggles and took a wild, dizzying ride through the 1947 alien crash in our swivel chairs. The adventure brings you face-to-face, body-to-body with the aliens before their ship crashes and falls into the hands of probing military officials. This experience is truly a must-see, even if you don’t opt ​​for an alien adventure: Roswell Spaceport also offers Apollo 11 and other intergalactic adventures. One tip: take extra disposable earplugs when offered because you never know if you’ll be sitting next to a pod like ours with four people. oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo and bye how are they going; you want to be able to focus on your virtual reality, and earplugs add to that.

Visitors can also purchase tickets to BrickTown, which features aliens, pirates, a moon landing, a railroad, a city and wonders of the world made from over 250,000 toy bricks. Press a button and the part lights up, while the World Buildings section tells you all about the structure via video.

Across the street, the Roswell UFO Spacewalk and Gallery takes you through an artistic black-light, family-friendly world. Pets are allowed and you can visit as many times as you want and take as many photos as you want. Tip: Wear something similar in white that shines for the best photo opportunities.

Dylan Nicoletti and four-legged Hani at the Roswell UFO Space Walk and Gallery.
Kimberly Nicoletti/Special to the newspaper

If laser tag is your thing, check out the 15,000 square foot Area 52 Tactical Laser Tag.

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In addition to the “strip”, you will find other great photo opportunities. Dunkin’ Donuts boasts a giant green alien, while next door, McDonald’s competes for attention with its UFO-shaped fast-food restaurant, complete with streaming lights and silver aliens (in case you’re tired of green). diversity). You’ll find a couple more photos down the road, especially those added to the Invasion Station store.

I found the people in Roswell to be very friendly and welcoming; at no point did I feel “out of place” in the outfit. In fact, passersby and shopkeepers seemed amused. One 5- or 6-year-old boy yelled out the window, “Stranger!” how his parents drove past us; tourists wanted to take pictures with us or with us (one jokingly asked my husband if he had lost a bet, of course) and people roared and waved (friendly I guess) like the four of us (and two dogs) all dressed up as aliens , posed at the foot of the almighty Dunkin’ Donuts green creature.

We ended our day with a relaxing visit to the full-dome digital theater at the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium; it’s cheap at $5 (discounts for seniors, children, and military) for about a 45-minute movie on a variety of topics. We became absorbed in ourselves Discovering the Invisible Universewhich seemed to fit the theme with its depiction of X-rays, gamma rays, neutrinos, black holes and cosmic rays.

The next day we went on a 2 hour 20 minute drive to White Sands National Park. This time my dog ​​and I dressed up in Yoda onesies because the wide white sand dunes seemed perfect Star Wars background. Granted, I didn’t stay in costume all the time; I didn’t want to get my oh-so-sexy pjs (okay, so I’ve only worn them as a costume – until now) when I was sledding and skiing (with vintage silver Volants, of course). mountains. On that particular day, Colorado had its first snow of the season and it was brutally windy in southern New Mexico, so I didn’t get as much skiing, sledding, or walking as I wanted, although I did manage to carve a sand angel. . My clothes didn’t allow me to do a full body exfoliation, but my face was definitely pelted and my hair felt like straw after the wind whistled. So if you plan to visit, try to avoid a windy day.

A long, busy weekend will be good for seeing Roswell and the national park. Roswell, just over 8.5 hours from Vail, is a whole other world to land, exercise your imagination, and possibly find yourself in a transport.



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