Some arroyos have dirt walls, and some are lined with concrete. It may be tempting to play in them, but it is safer to go to the park or play in the yard instead.
Arroyos and flood control channels are designed to move water from the mountains and mesas to the Rio Grande as quickly as possible. Most of the time they are dry, but when it rains, they can fill with water very suddenly and without warning. It may be sunny in Albuquerque but raining in the mountains. Water comes down so fast it is called "flash flooding." Within ten seconds you could get caught in water going as fast as a car and it is nearly impossible to get out!
Calabacillas Arroyo Scavenger Hunt
Ditches Are Deadly!
Take a field trip, put on your thinking cap, and find all the fossils hidden in the Calabacillas Arroyo's artwork! You can see them from the walkways on both sides of the arroyo.
Start here, by printing the Scavenger hunt brochure (additional brochures are usually available at the site). Visit the site and see how many of the artificial fossils you can find!
After your hunt, check back here to see where some of the fossils on the north side of the channel are! Click on the heading below to reveal the Scavenger Hunt Answer Key. (South side fossils not pictured; some north side fossils are obscured in the composite photo.)
How to get to the parking area: Northbound on Coors Blvd NW, north of Irving, take a right on Westside Blvd NW. The entrance to the Calabacillas Arroyo access is on the left, where the road intersects with Riverfront Drive. Follow the access road to the right to the parking area, where you will find the informational sign. Map
(Brochure is a pdf file - you will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to open it. Most computers come with this program already installed.)
Scavenger Hunt Answer Key - (Click here when you are ready to reveal the answers!)
The objects you need to search for vary, based on the version of the brochure you picked up. However, some of the objects in the scavenger hunt are pictured in this really long photo (it will open in a separate tab or window). Did you find them all? Some of them were on the south side of the arroyo (not pictured)!
Note: the picture is nearly 3 MB, so please allow time for it to download. You will need to zoom in and use the bottom scroll bar to see all of the circled objects.
For more information, see the Calabacillas Arroyo webpage.
Ditches Are Deadly -- Stay Away! Find Safe Places to Swim and Play
If you go to school in Albuquerque, you've probably heard this message before -- because it's TRUE!
It's never a good idea to play in a storm drain, ditch, or arroyo. Even if it isn't raining where you are, it might be raining in the mountains -- and you could suddenly find yourself in serious trouble!
Stay safe - stay out of the arroyos, even when they are dry.
You can learn a lot more by going to the "Ditches are Deadly" website. We also have some fun activities on the "Activities" tab of this page of the AMAFCA website.