Capitan, New Mexico - January 28, 2019 - A fun visit to a very well done museum honoring the memory of an American icon. Caroline was a happy camper this afternoon and so was I! It's well worth a visit. We loved it!
In 1979, Smokey Bear Historical Park was established to honor Capitan's favorite son, Smokey Bear. Nearly three decades earlier, Smokey was an orphaned little bear cub with burned paws, found in the aftermath of the Capitan Gap wildfire. Smokey Bear rose to fame as an icon for forest fire prevention and he lived in Washington, D.C.'s National Zoo for 26 years. When he passed away, the famous black bear was laid to rest in his hometown. His burial site is a special place within the Smokey Bear Historical Park.
The park is a true celebration of Smokey's legacy! At the visitors center, guests can find fascinating exhibits about forest health, wildfires, the science of fire ecology and a historical look at wildfire prevention. The theater features a short film about how forest health and fire impacts our lives today.
Outside, admirers have the opportunity to visit Smokey Bear's final resting place. Guests will also find exhibits about vegetative life zones found in New Mexico and explore the beauty our state's natural resources. The outdoor amphitheater is the perfect setting for school groups to enjoy the park's educational programs. There is also a playground, picnic area and Capitan's original train depot.
An extra treat for kids are the Junior Ranger and Little Ranger programs. Younger visitors can become official rangers (and earn some neat souvenirs) by completing an engaging activity about fire prevention and Smokey Bear. It's a chance for kids to learn new things and create fun memories!
The Smokey Bear Historical Park is located on highway 380 (better known as 118 W. Smokey Bear Blvd.), in the heart of Capitan. It is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Hours of operation are 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM. Entrance fees are $2.00 for adults and $1.00 for children aged 7-12. Children 6 and under are free!
Smokey Bear Historical Park is operated by the New Mexico State Forestry Division.