The Albuquerque Biological Park is a conglomeration, consisting of the Albuquerque Aquarium, the Rio Grande Botanic Garden and Tingley Beach. Together these four facilities compose the Albuquerque BioPark. The park provides the public with various exciting recreational activities that promote both education and environmental awareness.
The Albuquerque Aquarium is a facility located next door to the Rio Grande Botanic Garden. The aquarium showcases exhibits of Rio Grande freshwater species and saltwater species from the Gulf of Mexico. The exhibits simulate a wide variety of habitats including a surf zone, an estuary, coral reefs, open and deep ocean and shallow water. The most popular attraction at the facility is the 285,000 gallon saltwater tank which is home to sandtiger, blacktip, brown and nurse sharks, various colorful reef fish, sea turtles, eels and open ocean species. Guests are invited to view the aquarium divers as they feed the fish, clean the tank and go about other daily activities. Other notable exhibits of interest include a retired Gulf shrimp fishing boat, jelly fish, seahorses, an eel tunnel and Koi fish.
The Rio Grande Botanic Garden is a twenty acre botanical garden and conservatory located along the Rio Grande. The garden features the largest cottonwood gallery in the world and the conservatory contains native and exotic plants from all over the world. The outdoor gardens feature drought resistant desert plants. More notable exhibits of the garden are a butterfly conservatory, a 20th century model farm house complete with living animals, a railroad, a children's fantasy garden and a Japanese Garden.
Founded in 1927, the Rio Grande Zoo is a sixty-four acre facility, home to more than 250 species of exotic and indigenous animals. Animals species featured at the zoo include sea lions, gorillas, elephants, camels, hippos, monkeys, tamarins, koalas, zebras, mountain lions and chimpanzees. Professional landscaping and modern displays enhance the zoo by simulating natural habitats complete with rocks, trees, grass and waterfalls. Other areas to visit are the African exhibit, Australian exhibit, the catwalk and Tropical America. Visitors are invited to walk the grounds and ride the narrow gauge railroad to other facilities located within the park.
The recreational area of the BioPark is located on the east side of the Rio Grande, and called Tingley Beach. The area was originally known as Conservatory Beach, and consists of a series of small ponds that were designed in the 1930's to divert water away from the Rio Grande. The beach was closed for fishing in the 1950's and was used during this time for fishing. In 2004 Tingley Beach was thoroughly renovated and reopened to the public in 2005. The park now contains fishing areas, a boat pond, paddle boats, nature trails, and a restaurant and gift shop.
The BioPark is open daily except New Years, Christmas Day and Thanksgiving, and is closed occasionally for special events so it is necessary to check the calendar of events prior to visiting. The park offers carry-all wagons, wheel chair and stroller rental for guest convenience. Visitors to the BioPark are encouraged to learn about conservation, and the park continues to be a leading facility helping people to learn about animals and their habitat.