White Sands Rocket Garden and Museum
White Sands, New Mexico
A garden of delights, for fans of ballistic weaponry. The White Sands Missile Park covers a full acre with dozens of rockets and missiles, most of them pointed skyward as if ready for blast-off. There are target drones and supersonic anti-aircraft interceptors, tactical battlefield bombs and nuclear city-blasters. The mobile "Scud Buster" Patriot missile launcher has stenciled on its side, "If It Flies, It Dies."
Oddities abound, such as the World War II Lark, a kamikaze-killer; and the Loon, America's version of the Nazi V-1. There's a flying saucer test vehicle used by NASA to practice soft landings on Mars, and a Fat Man H-bomb.
White Sands is a working military facility with tight security. Using hidden, classified monitoring technology, the guards at the gate somehow knew we had a video camera before we'd even arrived. Video is verboten in the Garden, and you can only take still photos if you shoot in the direction of the western mountains.