Cerrillos, NM 87010
From Albuquerque, take I-40 east to the Cedar Crest exit (175), then follow 14 North. Take a left into the town of Cerrillos (west) and follow the signs to Casa Grande.
What You'll Find:
Casa Grande Trading Post:
The Casa Grande Trading Post is located in the historic village of Cerrillos, west of 14 and north of Madrid, another great day trip destination. Casa Grande contains a turquoise museum, petting zoo, and merchandise that includes old objects such as horseshoes, doorknobs and bottles. There are plenty of rocks and minerals for sale for the rockhound in the family.
The trading post is within an adobe building and features gifts, old bottles and antiques. Merchandise is varied and some of it is unusual, such as the hubcap art. Other items include local history chapbooks, dreamcatchers, baskets, Santo Domingo pottery, and even horseshoes. One table had a variety of old doorknobs, light fixtures, hardware and an eclectic assortment of old objects.
The mining museum has old maps, turquoise displays, dioramas, a rock collection and area antiques. New Mexico minerals samples are available. The turquoise was mined at the Little Chalchihuitl Turquoise Mine in the Cerrillos area. Turquoise varies in color from blues to greens, and the turquoise at the shop has a lot of green from a higher iron content.
The petting zoo has more than 20 animals, though only the goats and llama are available for petting. Pigeons are kept in an aviary and chickens in a coop by the main corral, and are easy to see. The day we visited, there were fancy bantams, or very small chickens, running about. The goats and llama are friendly, and feed can be purchased in the store for a modest charge. The zoo is a great place to take the kids. Near the zoo, outside the shop, there is a viewing area that overlooks the mesa to the west. View pipes are set up with spots labeled in several directions, making this scenic overlook a great place to get your geographic bearings.