FARMINGTON – Families welcomed the Year of the Monkey with a celebration Saturday at the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park.

The Chinese New Year starts Monday. There are 12 zodiac animals that represent the different years in Chinese tradition. For the past three years, the museum has held a celebration around the time of the Chinese New Year.

Last year, while welcoming the Year of the Sheep, museum officials brought in Navajo weavers to show off their craft, as well as several sheep.

While the zodiac is Chinese, the museum adds a Four Corners flare to the celebration. This year, that meant coloring pages with the Diné word for monkey — mágí — on them.

The Smith family did not know about the celebration when they decided to visit the museum for the first time on Saturday.

"We're just doing a family day," mother Charlotte Smith said.

The day began with the family going to 10-year-old Christian Smith's basketball game, then they decided to stop by the Farmington Public Library to research Navajo code talkers for a presentation Naomi Smith, 15, is working on. Afterward, they visited the museum.

"We're just taking in everything they have here," father Dwight Smith said, commenting on how much the museum offers.

While the Smiths had never visited the museum before, Jody Alton and her daughter, Alexis Alton, 5, regularly attend museum activities.

"Fun, educational things are the way to go," Alton said as she helped Alexis cut out paper to make a Chinese lantern.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.