Our first major stop in the US on our summer vacation was at White Sands, New Mexico. We were pleasantly surprised!

White Sands is a dessert in the middle of nowhere that boasts of sands made from gypsum and calcium sulfate. The sand is white as can be, and surprisingly cool to touch (apparently due to the high rate of evaporation of surface moisture and the fact that the sands reflect, rather than absorb, the sun’s rays).  These white sand dunes are comprised of 275 square miles, 40% of which is protected as a national monument. The remaining portion is owned by the military, and used for testing missiles. Yes, really.

When arriving in the area, we first visited the free White Sands Missile Range Museum, which highlights America’s missile and space activity throughout history. Not being a huge fan of nuclear bombs or other missile activity…I mostly just skimmed over the museum and only took real interest in the section that showed old-school educational pamphlets on nuclear bomb emergency preparation, and showed the recommended items to keep on hand. It was interesting to see what they thought could prepare them for nuclear fallout…

They also had a display that illustrated how they trained dogs to find missiles. Apparently it was the most effective method for hunting down fired missiles.

Outside the museum they had more than 50 real-life missiles on display. The military admission station told us we were only allowed to take photos if they faced one particular direction. I don’t know if this was the right direction…but we risked having our camera taken away if we took photos the wrong way.

All of the men/boys on our trip:

Apparently some of these missiles included spacecraft-looking ones.  Or so they say…

Next up, we went to the sand dunes, and paid a small National Park admittance fee.

Everyone had a blast playing on the cool sand on a beautiful summer day!

Of course jumping photos were next on the list…

And sand racing…

The sand was so fine and soft to touch!

And I learned what a pathetic jumper I am…

And I mean really pathetic…

Next came the jumping contests that involved jumping off a ridge. None of my photos could make the cut…

So a standing photo has to suffice!

All in all…White Sands is a fantastic place! It is a must-see, must-visit, at least once in a lifetime!
Simple, natural entertainment!

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