Most visitors to Alamogordo, New Mexico are coming to explore the beautiful rolling dunes at White Sands National Park.
But only about 30 minutes away there is another unique attraction which is the world’s largest pistachio found at McGinn’s PistachioLand (aka the New Mexico pistachio farm).
Below, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting McGinn’s PistachioLand including where to find it and what to expect whenever you arrive.
What is McGinn’s PistachioLand?
PistachioLand is a famous pitstop near Alamogordo, New Mexico.
It’s home to the worlds largest pistachio and also a country store where you can buy various souvenirs, snacks, and of course pistachios. You can enjoy a refreshing treat at the ice cream parlor, partake in wine tasting, and if you have more time even go on a tour of the farm.
It’s a worthwhile pitstop if you are in the area on a long road trip although for some people it’s now a primary destination. Keep reading below to find out more about this unique attraction!
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Where is McGinn’s PistachioLand?
McGinn’s PistachioLand is located at: 7320 US-54 #70, Alamogordo, NM 88310.
It’s about 10 minutes from Alamogordo, New Mexico and about 30 minutes from White Sands National Park. The open hours are 10 AM to 5 PM.
They also have a satellite location at #37 Highway 82 Alamogordo, NM 88310.
Tip: If you’re looking for hotels near PistachioLand, your best bet will probably be to stay in Alamogordo.
McGinn’s PistachioLand Experience
There’s a few different ways you can enjoy your time at McGinn’s PistachioLand.
Depending on what you choose to do, you may want to spend anywhere from five minutes to 45 minutes.
The world’s largest pistachio
One of the most popular attractions here is the world’s largest pistachio, which stands 30-feet tall.
Just in case you were wondering, this towering nut is NOT a real pistachio.
Instead, it’s a large monument dedicated to the memory of Thomas Michael McGinn who passed away in 2007.
He was the founder of the Pistachio Tree Ranch which is where he created his legacy in New Mexico.
The idea of the pistachio monument was thought of by his son in 2008 and built by Bar-M Construction. It was dedicated in May 2009.
The world’s largest pistachio has been featured in TV shows and movies like This Must Be The Place so this is a legit famous attraction.
It’s close proximity to the road and easy and free access, make it a worthwhile site to check out in my opinion.
Plus, it’s an irresistible photo op.
Right next to the giant pistachio there are a few picnic tables that are perfect for taking a break on. Go ahead and stretch your legs after hours on the open road.
You could bring your own picnic here to relax in a little bit of shade or you could partake in some ice cream or other snack from the ice cream parlor to cool down.
The parking can be somewhat limited during busy times such as on weekends so sometimes you might have to wait for a spot to open. But people tend to be in and out at this place so it should not be difficult for you to find a spot eventually.
The ice cream
One of the most popular things to do when visiting is to try out some pistachio ice cream. All of the ice cream served here is Blue Bell so you know it’s gonna hit the spot.
If you’re kind of suspect about how pistachio ice cream will taste I encourage you to take a leap of faith and try it out because you will likely be pleasantly surprised. It has a strong almond taste which rounds out the faint pistachio flavor very well.
If you’re not in the mood to experiment with a new flavor they have lots of other popular flavors you might feel more comfortable with.
Once you settle on a flavor, can choose to have your ice cream served in a cup or in a waffle cone or waffle bowl.
We decided to go with a cup of pistachio ice cream. However, I kind of regret not trying the cones because I think they are also pistachio flavored?
We also decided to try out one of the XL pistachio cookies. They were not warm and soft cookies to my disappointment but still pretty tasty and definitely on the huge side.
McGinn’s Country Store
Inside, you’ll find a lot of souvenirs including all of the usual suspects like magnets, mugs, keychains, shot glasses, etc. And given the proximity to Roswell, it’s no surprise that you find in abundance of alien-themed objects.
You’ll also find a lot of different types of t-shirts and apparel. To my surprise, some of the shirts actually looked like something you would care to wear out in public. Beyond shirts you’ll also find hats, bags, and more.
There’s also a lot of treats that will tempt you including some interesting Candy Club treats. Peanut butter malt balls tempted us and it looked like they had a seasonal collection of candies like happy Easter eggs and mint bunny bark.
One of the most popular sweet items is the pistachio brittle which we did not get the chance to try but a lot of people apparently rave about it.
If you’re more into savory foods they also have beef jerky and a large variety of things like salsa, pickled foods, and coffee.
Of course, one of the main items you may be looking to purchase is a bag of pistachios.
Here you can find pistachios of a lot of different flavors including habanero, ranch, garlic, and even lemon and lime.
Pistachios are a tremendous snack because not only are they tasty but they are also extremely healthy. They are loaded with healthy fats, fiber, and can help you stay full for longer. Basically, pistachios are the perfect road trip snack.
If you don’t want to mess around with peeling off the shell, you can find shelled pistachios. But keep in mind that the shells help slow you down so that you don’t burn through your stash too quickly!
I decided to go ahead and try out the lemon lime pistachios which have a nice tang to them. The mixture of the saltiness and lemon flavor sort of remind me of lemon pepper chicken.
I’m currently working through a serving of these per day and it’s not proving easy to stop!
By the way, if you want your pistachios to remain fresh you can freeze them until you are ready to eat them.
I think one of the coolest things that they have is a station where you can get free samples of the different pistachio flavors.
This way, you can find your perfect flavor and then purchase it in bulk without worrying about it not delivering with the taste. It’s actually an extremely valuable feature of the store and something you don’t see every day.
Before you exit the gift shop make sure you check out the classic 1940 Ford Tudor.
If you are a wine drinker or you’re just feeling fancy you can test out four wine samples for free in the wine tasting room.
Their 6,500 grapevines include grape varieties like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewurztraminer, Zinfandel and Merlot.
They even have their own signature wine: the Pistachio Delight.
Koi Fish Pond
Outside, there is a Koi Fish Pond although I’m not sure there’s anything particularly special about this attraction….
If you want to get a look at the pistachio farm and the vineyards then look into doing a farm tour. You’ll be taken along on a small tram like vehicle and get a close look at the 90 acres of pistachio orchards and 14 acres of vineyard.
The tours run about 20 to 30 minutes and begin around the top of the hour. Tickets are only $3 for the tour.
McGinn’s PistachioLand is definitely an odd attraction but honestly it is worth your time if you’re looking for something unique and to perhaps enjoy some type of treat you may have never come across before.
Yes, it has the hallmark of a tourist trap but don’t let that stop you from checking it out because you might be missing out on some high-quality pistachio treats.
Also, I noticed that the workers were very friendly and personable, which is always a great sign that a business is being run the right way.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.