1 Get wild about Placitas art.
Pathways: Wildlife Corridors of New Mexico is a new exhibit at Wild Hearts Gallery, in Placitas, that honors a local grassroots collective of the same name. Pathways protects wildlife by helping to ensure animals can move safely when their natural habitats intersect with cars and buildings. Working with other conservation groups, the volunteers provide information through tracking data and a system of cameras.
The exhibit features work by 15 gallery artists, including Dorothy “Bunny” Bowen, Judith Roderick, and Laura Robbins, ranging from ceramics to plein air landscape paintings. Some of the works are accompanied by stories from the artists who share what inspired their nature-based works.
A free reception on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. includes information from Pathways board members Peter Callan, Mitch Johnson, and Elise VanArsdale. The gallery will donate 10 percent of sales during the reception to the group. See the exhibit through March 27.
2 Kick the dust off your boots in Las Cruces.
The 22nd annual Cowboy Days takes over the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, in Las Cruces, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Food trucks, cowboy tunes, a show of prime cattle, and demonstrations of ranch activities like blacksmithing, sheep shearing, and butter-making are all part of the fun. “Cowboy Days is a great event for the whole family,” says Craig Massey, a museum spokesperson. “The demonstrations are educational for all ages, and there are a variety of children’s activities like crafts and games.”
3 Explore an expo of all things strange.
Anything weird and wacky is the focus of the Oddities and Curiosities Expo, where vendors from around the country showcase strange wares. Like what? Well, there’s taxidermy, creepy garments, skulls, original artwork, weird medical devices, unusual jewelry, and Grim Reaper T-shirts. “People are intrigued by the strange and unusual,” says Michelle Cozzaglio, who owns and curates the traveling expo with her husband, Tony. “I love old things with a story behind them. We are so into funeral/mourning items and anything from the Victorian era. Old stuff is just so interesting.” It all turns odd at Expo New Mexico on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
4 Take a bird walk along the Río Grande.
The giant cottonwood trees at Los Luceros Historic Site, in Alcalde, are home to over 150 varieties of birds. Just north of Española, the ranch sits along the east bank of the Río Grande and includes an 18th-century Territorial-style adobe, a chapel, and lush grounds featuring an apple orchard. Stroll the area on Sunday morning with local birdwatcher Bob Walker, who will help spot and identify species. But you’ve got to be an early birder: The meetup time is 7 a.m. Purchase a ticket here.
5 Set your tongue on fire.
If you’re into spicy foods and barbecue, rejoice! The National Fiery Foods & BBQ Show comes to Sandia Resort & Casino, in Albuquerque, Friday through Sunday. With more than 120 exhibitors and 1,000 products, the show is the biggest spicy-foods gathering in the country.
“It’s sometimes called ‘benign masochism,’ ” says founder Dave DeWitt. “We know it’s going to hurt to eat this stuff, but we love it because we don’t know how much it will hurt.” Look forward to marinades, rubs, salsa, spicy gourmet food, and even sweet-and-spicy treats.