April 28, 2015

4/22/15 - NRA Whittington Center

I don't usually say much about RV parks, so this will be an exception. The NRA Whittington Center near Raton, NM, is not a typical RV resort. It was established in 1973 by the National Rifle Association for shooting sports, education and wildlife management. It's not connected with the NRA anymore--except for the name. We came to visit Capulin Volcano NM; most people come for the training or the hunting.  

April is definitely off-season, so we practically had the whole campground to ourselves. (We paid $3 extra per night for the West Campground because I wanted to see the antelope that (supposedly) wander all over.  Ha! No such luck...We saw 3 jackrabbits and a few mule deer.  I wanted PRONGHORNS for neighbors!!) 
Pronghorn Antelope (NOTE: picture taken outside campground)
Inside the Center is a big lobby, and as you would expect from a place that's big on guns and hunters, there are lots of mounted animal heads. (If this makes you queasy, go straight into the gift shop. Since I'm married to an ex-cop/hunter, I'm more or less used to it--although I did once have a sweatshirt that said "Fair is far; arm the animals!") 
On one side of the gift shop is the Bud & Willa Eyman Research Library.  Inside the library are bunches of cabinets containing bullets and shotgun shell collections. (No, I don't know why anyone would want to collect them either.)
On the other side of the gift shop is the Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest. I thought it would be either a history of the NRA, or a history of competition shooting, or a history of guns. It's sort of a little bit of everything.  They have a bunch of guns, old ones and competition ones.  They have displays on everyone that lived in the area, Indians, Spanish, Civil War, Old West, Mountainmen.
(The museum has the most obnoxious doors I've ever seen!  You get too close to them in either the gift shop or the museum, and they open.  Noisily.  Frequently.  Whether you want them to or not. Then everyone in either room looks to see what's going on.)

George forgot his camera so I loaned him mine. I took 3 pictures in the museum, then handed my camera to him because I knew he was more interested.  (Terrible glare from all the windows--makes it hard to see some of the exhibits and makes for miserable pictures.)
I like this one.  It reminds me of the cap pistols my brother had when we were little kids. I thought the engraving on the silver guns was because they were toys.  Apparently cowboys liked a little bling too.
By the way, the Santa Fe Trail went through the property here.  There's an official Scenic Historic Marker and a roadside exhibit.

Click for more NRA Whittington Center pictures.

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