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Explore Albuquerque with American Girl Saige Copeland

In 2014, Albuquerque, New Mexico will be top of mind as a mother-daughter or even a mother-daughter-grandmother travel destination for one simple reason: American Girl’s 2013 Girl of the Year doll, Saige Copeland, is from Albuquerque. The long auburn haired, blue-eyed doll comes with Albuquerque-themed accessories that include a horse, a painting kit, and a hot air balloon. Albuquerque is also the setting for the American Girl movie, titled Saige Paints the Sky. It stars Emmy award winner Jane Seymour of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman fame.

American Girl Saige Copeland from Albuquerque.
Courtesy of American Girl
Saige Copeland with balloon
Courtesy of American Girl

All about Saige

The American Girl doll hails from the sun-blessed high desert of Albuquerque, New Mexico. A creative and yet sensitive girl at heart, Saige has a passion for art, horses, and hot-air balloons – appropriate hobbies for a girl from a city that hosts the world’s largest balloon fiesta in the world. The surrounding mesas, plateau, and Bosque area around the Rio Grande provide ample opportunities for Saige to be artistically inspired by the landscape while pursuing her love of horse-back riding. Because her artist Grandmother Mimi owns a ranch and enjoys riding her prized horse named Picasso, it is not surprising that Saige likes art and horses, too. In particular, Saige greatly admires Mimi for leading the annual Balloon Fiesta from atop Picasso.

The Saige doll has been archived in 2014, but it still may be possible to find her in inventory at 15 American Girl stores nationwide or even on eBay. Once your daughter or granddaughter acquires the doll and sees the movie, continue her exploration of Albuquerque through the eyes and footsteps of nine year-old Saige. Following are highlights that might replicate the adventures and passions of this freckled 4th grader from the Land of Enchantment.

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is a compelling story of the traditions and tenacity of the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico. Artifacts date from pre-Columbian to modern times, and include many examples of their contemporary art. Ask a museum curator to tell your daughter about the storyteller figurines. And be sure to build in time to explore her artistic side where she can try her hand at pottery, sculpting, weaving, or even origami. After all, Saige would.

On Thursdays through Sundays, be sure to catch the native dancers dressed in traditional garb. Shows are generally at 11 am and 2 pm. Later, dine on pizza at the pueblo. Located at The Pueblo Harvest Café & Bakery within the museum complex, the fun begins with a party on the patio from 6-9 pm in the summer. A $7 admission price includes all-you-can-eat horno baked pizza with live music every Friday and Saturday night. It is an inexpensive way to enjoy great local music while enjoying horno pizza on the patio.

The Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum

Since Saige’s hometown is annual host to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, she is fascinated by everything about hot air balloons. A trip to the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum will indulge your daughter and doll’s curiosity with a foray into the development of ballooning as told through historic, scientific, and artistic objects.Be sure to have your camera ready for a photo opportunity of your daughter with her doll Saige in a balloon basket. Afterwards, head to nearby El Pinto Restaurant for authentic New Mexico food.

Sandia Peak Tramway

No trip to Albuquerque would be complete without a panoramic view of Albuquerque and the Rio Grande Valley from the 10,378 foot Sandia Peak observation deck. The Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway is considered to be one of the most popular tourist attractions and offers stunning views of canyons and countryside as it traverses a distance of 2.7 miles on its way to the summit. In particular, the sunset view from on top would inspire Saige to paint in fiery colors that capture the sunset glow of the desertscape below.

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