Smokey Bear Historical Park
Visit the resting place of Capitan's favorite son, Smokey Bear. A museum, gift shop, playground, and picnic area is on site as well as a Junior Ranger program.
Southeast of Albuquerque, NM in Capitan, NM
The Smokey Bear Historical Park was established in 1979, to commemorate the aftermath of a devastating fire in the Capitan Mountains, where a badly burned cub was found. He became the symbol of fire prevention, Smokey Bear. Now commemorated with a headstone, the park is home to Smokey’s grave, as well as exhibits about forest health, forest fires, wild land issues, playground, picnic area, and the town's original train depot.
We stumbled upon the Smokey Bear museum en route to Ruidoso from Albuquerque. Capitan is a small town nested in the mountains about 25 miles north of Ruidoso. Though a rather small museum, the facility is packed with interesting exhibits about Smokey Bear, the history of the forest fire prevention campaign, and forest ecology, in general. There is a nice outdoor area with a playground and picnic tables (great for burning off some energy after being in the car for a couple of hours). The NM forestry staff were friendly and informative and answered all of our questions. This is the kind of museum that you can spend 30 minutes or a couple of hours visiting. We were happy to have stumbled upon this gem that showcases a historical icon for our country tucked away in this part of New Mexico. We had 3 generations on this trip, and we all had known about Smokey Bear from our childhoods which made it fun.
Remember, only YOU can prevent forest fires.