Spring break with a twist

The volcanic islands have a mild climate featuring year-round temperatures of 60 to 80 degrees. Nature's big here, with crater lakes to hike to and black lava cliffs hugging the ocean. There also are fishing villages and two tea plantations, the only ones in Europe.

SATA Airlines offers packages from $999 per person double occupancy that include round-trip air from Boston and six nights' lodging. Kids under 6 stay free and pay only child's airfare (about $685), and connecting flights can be arranged from other U.S. locations.

Find information on the Azores Express packages at sata.pt, or phone 508-677-0555.

That's one small step: For families that really want to get away from it all, how about outer space?

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., won't really send you up in a rocket, but its Space Camp is about as close as you can get. Kids of all ages can learn what it's like to be an astronaut, but there's also Family Space Camp, where mom and dad join in for simulated mission training and operations. Everyone gets to try out astronaut simulators such as the 1/6th Gravity Chair and the Manned Maneuvering Unit.

Family Space Camp is offered in three- and four-day versions and includes meals and lodging. The three-day camp is $399 per person, $798 for two, $1,048 for three or $1,198 for four. Four-day camp is $449, $898, $1,198 or $1,398.

The center also offers a variety of aviation camps geared to fighter pilot training.

See all the details at spacecamp.com or call 800-637-7223.

Southwest rattlers and rhinos: Exploring Native American culture, seeing rattlesnakes up close and visiting a combined zoo/botanic garden/aquarium are all possible on a visit to New Mexico's largest city, Albuquerque.

The American International Rattlesnake Museum claims the world's largest collection of different species of live rattlesnakes. And, if that's not enough, there's a sizable exhibit of snake-related clothing, art, license plates and more.

At the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, exhibitions explore the art, food, culture and history of the area's native peoples. On weekends there are Native American dance performances and art demonstrations. Elsewhere in the city and nearby are many Native American sites, including Petroglyph National Monument, pueblos and reservations and the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway.

The ABQ BioPark has all manner of flora, fauna and fish. Chopper, a baby rhino, has been kept under wraps but should be making his public appearance soon. At the aquarium, the Shark Tank is home to five different breeds, and for something closer to home there's an exhibit of inhabitants of the city's river, the Rio Grande.

Explore Albuquerque at itsatrip.org.