NCAR Education and Tour Program Program
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NCAR News Release

2000-21 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 30, 2000

NCAR's Visitor Center Offers a World of Science Fun and Discovery: Exhibits, Science Store, Art Galleries, and Nature Trail. Center Open 365 Days a Year

Rene Munoz
NCAR Education and Tour Program Program
P.O. Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307-3000
Telephone: (303) 497-1173
(303) 497-1174 for recorded information

BOULDER -- The Visitor Center in the Mesa Laboratory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research offers a world of science fun and discovery for people of all ages. What's new this fall at the Visitor Center?

Atmospheric Odyssey is NCAR's newest exhibit. An interactive display depicting 40 years of weather and climate discovery, Atmospheric Odyssey portrays challenges and advances in atmospheric research, the dazzling complexity of the Earth system, the human side of weather and climate, and more. Over two dozen additional exhibits let visitors explore why the sky is blue, how lightning works, how a tornado spins, and other wonders of weather and climate.

The NCAR Science Store, now open seven days a week, offers science kits, weather instruments, NCAR-themed gift items, and books and videos for all age levels. The selection includes

  • Picture books about weather for preschool and elementary-school children

  • Advice on creating science-fair projects

  • Field guides to clouds

  • Earth-science expedition guides

  • Books on the science of global change for high-school and college- level readers.

  • Weather instruments include a wrist watch complete with altimeter, barometer, and thermometer.

The Mesa Lab Theater presents a seven-minute video introducing the people of NCAR and the world of atmospheric research, which extends from the surface of the Earth to the interior of the Sun.

Also to see

  • NCAR's scientific computing facility, with its high-performance supercomputers from IBM, SGI, and Hewlett-Packard.

  • Scientific equipment designed and built at NCAR, including a robotic weather station and a telescope-camera that has photographed solar eclipses around the world.

Gaze at art or take a hike (it's wheelchair accessible)

Inspired by the ancient cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde, NCAR's Mesa Lab commands spectacular views of the city below and easy access to hiking trails at the foot of the Flatirons, Boulder's signature mountains. A colorful collage, Explore the Mesa, portrays the flora, fauna, and geology outside NCAR's back door.

Among the trails on and around the NCAR mesa is the Walter Orr Roberts Weather Trail, a wheelchair-accessible, 0.4-mile loop with interpretive signs explaining the interplay of the landscape with Boulder's chinook winds, Denver's brown cloud, and other weather-related phenomena. A guidebook, Natural Features of NCAR's Mesa Site, is available in the lobby. Take a virtual tour of the weather trail.

Two art galleries offer changing displays by regional artists (see gallery schedule).

On weekdays the cafeteria offers lunch, beverages, ice cream, and snacks for sale to hungry visitors. NCAR's library is also open to the public on weekdays.


NCAR's Visitor Center at the Mesa Lab is open seven days a week, 365 days a year, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on weekends and holidays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Noontime guided tours are offered Mondays and Wednesdays, except holidays, throughout the fall and winter. No reservations are needed for the hour-long tours and there is no fee. Schools and other organized groups must reserve a specific time, in advance, by calling 303-497-1173.

For individuals and families who cannot take the noontime tour, a self-guided tour is available any time.

Visitor Center information is available on the Web. Phone 303-497-1174 for recorded information. NCAR's Mesa Laboratory is located at the west end of Table Mesa Drive (exit off U.S. 36) in southwest Boulder.

The fall-winter tour schedule begins Wednesday, September 6, and runs through Friday, June 8, 2001 (noontime tours will be offered Mondays through Saturdays during summer 2001: June 11-September 1). NCAR is managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation.

filename: lightn.tif

"Lightning in a tube" is one of many hands-on exhibits sparking imaginations at the NCAR Mesa Lab Visitor Center in Boulder.

-The End-

See also:
Visit NCAR
Walter Orr Roberts Weather Trail
NCAR Art Galleries

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The National Center for Atmospheric Research and UCAR Office of Programs are operated by UCAR under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation and other agencies. Opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any of UCAR's sponsors. UCAR is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

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Last revised: Thu Aug 31 14:46:20 MDT 2000