Our close encounter of the third kind – Roswell, NM

In ufology, a close encounter is an event in which a person witnesses and/or interacts with an unidentified flying object.  A system of event classifications was introduced by an astronomer and UFO researcher, J. Allen Hynek.  According to him , Close Encounters of the First Kind refers to visual sightings of an unidentified flying object seemingly less than 500 feet away.  A Close Encounter of the Second Kind is a UFO event in which a physical effect is alleged, such as animals reacting or physical trace-like impressions on the ground. Close Encounters of the Third Kind refers to encounters in which one or more animated aliens are present, as was reported in the 1947 Roswell incident.  We learned these classifications, along with some other interesting factoids during our visit to the UFO Museum in Roswell .

Yep, we’re getting close to our destination!

When most people hear a reference to Roswell, they’re reminded of the 1947 UFO incident.  Since we weren’t around at that time, we relied on the information we read at the museum.  The story of the Roswell Incident has been painstakingly documented, as has information about aspects of other UFO phenomena, crop circles, UFO sightings and Nevada’s Area 51.  Only those who are “believers” or are really interested in this subject will spend the many hours required to read all of the museum’s displays and exhibits. There was so much material that we basically skimmed through what most interested us, then we watched the showtime movie “Roswell” at the museum’s theater.

UFO Museum
Kind of a creepy exhibit

After a couple of hours reading about witness stories and government cover-ups, we drove around town.  We quickly noticed these folks really play up the UFO thing – many of the store facades were alien-themed.

Roswell, New Mexico
Even some of the local landowners get into the act!
Looks like someone is trying to phone home…

Roswell, NM


Roswell has other museums that are not about UFO’s or Aliens.  Our blogger friends Hans and Lisa of Metamorphosis Road, who were only a few days behind us, visited several other museums in town.  Check out their site to see what fascinating things they discovered during their stay.

Lee, the owner of the Red Barn RV Park (Steve’s review here), gave us a list of things to do while in town.  One of her suggestions that I followed was a trip to the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge to see if any migratory birds might be hanging around.

Bitter Lake NWR

I had my priorities straight, and went to visit some of my feathered friends.  Steve tagged along so he could walk some of the four trails there, and we ended up following the easy 2-mile Oxbow Trail.  We didn’t see any birds close-up on that walk, but we spotted a few during the 8-mile wildlife drive within the refuge.

The Bitter Lake NWR was only about 12 miles from our home base and consisted of over 24,000 acres in three units along the Pecos River.

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Bird Blind in the middle of the lake – well, it was a lake at one time
Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge
The ever-diligent bird spy
Bitter Lake NWR
I went inside the bird blind, but they all flew away when they heard me

After our walk we continued on the driving tour and stopped at a few overlooks.  We finally saw some White Pelicans and a variety of ducks in the distance.  The park ranger informed us that fall and late winter are the best times to see Sandhill Cranes, ducks and geese.


American Avocet
First time I’ve seen an American Avocet

If you happen to be in the Roswell area in September, be aware that the 14th Annual Dragonfly Festival at the Refuge will be held then.  The refuge boasts having the most diverse population of dragonflies and damselflies in North America, and they will be there in great numbers by fall.  Access to the refuge is free, so you can visit as many times as you like.

After three nights in UFO land, we packed up and resumed our northward trek.





  1. I guess we should actually go to the alien museum sometime. We’ve been through Roswell a zillion times and usually only stop for gas before heading on to Ruidoso. I have to tip my hat to the town, though. The town has definitely benefitted from having that museum since they established it. Tourists love fun things to do, and this definitely draws a lot of people there. The town is much nicer now than it was before the museum was built, too. Will have to check out that refuge sometime, too. Bottomless Lakes State Park is a neat place and does have water, if you ever go back to this area. Nice RV spots, too.

  2. So much fun! We visited the museum on our first RV trip in 2006 and enjoyed the exhibits but couldn’t possibly read all of the information. Looks like the town has added a few more aliens since then! Glad you were able to see a few birds at the wildlife refuge. I would have never thought you could see white pelicans in New Mexico!

  3. Sounds like fall is a good time to visit Roswell, I would like to see Bitter Lake Refuge some day.

    Though Lee told us the Roswell balloon festival is held in May and, being smaller, it is much more accessible than the ABQ balloon festival. We were surprised how much we enjoyed Roswell for its non alien features!

    It cracks me up how our RV park choices are so often the same! Great minds…

  4. Since we’ll be in Ruidoso for part of this summer, we’ll see what kind of an encounter we can have in Roswell while we’re there.

  5. You and Lisa make Roswell sound a lot more interesting than I thought it was…I would have chosen the NWR as well MonaLisa. What beautiful colors the American Avocet has!

  6. We have never been to Roswell, but I’m thinking a trip in the fall to see the dragonflies may need to be added to the list. 🙂

  7. I’d pick the Refuge too although I love the phone home pictures. Really excellent shot of the avocet and its reflection

  8. Alien Capital of the World? Isn’t there a TV called Roswell? I wonder if it’s an alien-related TV show. Didn’t care then. 😀 Somehow, Roswell is suddently very interesting because of this post. 😀

  9. We’ve never been to Roswell — I’m scared the aliens might take me away, haha! But now I think we might take our chances because I’d like to see the dragonfly festival. Glad you got your bird fix — and added the avocet to your life list!

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