National Center for Atmospheric Research

#11 in Best Things To Do in Boulder
National Center for Atmospheric Research picture
Wally Gobetz/Flickr

Key Info

1850 Table Mesa Drive

Price & Hours

Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-5 p.m. | Sat-Sun 9 a.m.-4 p.m.


Museums, Tours, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
  • 5.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Most people consider a conversation about the weather to be a desperate attempt at small talk. But at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, sun, rain, wind and snow are always important topics. At this stunning sandstone building atop Table Mesa  a landmark some might recognize from Woody Allen's film, "Sleeper"  scientists study weather-related phenomena such as ozone depletion and the greenhouse effect. On a visit to the center, you can see some of the tools used to conduct experiments, like weather balloons, satellites and even robots. Meanwhile, hands-on exhibits are sure to excite the budding meteorologist in your family. After you've sufficiently toured the complex, get some fresh air along the Walter Orr Roberts Nature and Weather Trail, where you can learn all about Table Mesa's wildlife.

Guided tours of the center are available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between noon and 1 p.m., and recent visitors recommend coming prepared to learn as knowledgeable tour guides are eager to answer your questions. You can also opt for a tablet or cellphone tour; whichever option you choose, travelers highly recommend taking some time to explore on your own before grabbing a snack and enjoying the view from the on-site cafeteria.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is open to visitors Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the center and guided tours are free. The center is located about 15 minutes south of downtown Boulder; a car is the best way to get here. For more information, check out the center's website.

See all Hotels in Boulder »

More Best Things To Do in Boulder

The Flatirons
Chautauqua Park
Time to Spend
1 of 10
#1 The Flatirons

These jaw-dropping rock walls flanking Green Mountain have become the symbol of the city, with many Boulder businesses sporting their image as a logo. Flatirons One through Five are the most prominent, but there are also several smaller formations– with more creative names– to explore. Altogether, these picturesque slopes are the most

Read more
Ed Freeman/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Boulder »

Explore More of Boulder


The 20 Best Michigan State Parks

Two peninsulas, four Great Lakes and innumerable natural highlights elevate Michigan's state parks.

Zach WatsonApril 18, 2019

50 Awesome Vacation Ideas for Every Type of Traveler

Consider these vacation ideas for your next getaway.

Holly JohnsonApril 11, 2019

The 13 Best National Parks in California

You won't regret adding one of these national parks to your California itinerary.

Rachel CenterApril 10, 2019

10 Beautiful Places to Visit in the South of France

Plan a getaway to these special destinations to soak up culture, cuisine and quaint atmospheres.

Gwen PratesiApril 8, 2019

Best Carry-on Luggage of 2019

U.S. News rated the best carry-on luggage, considering recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerApril 3, 2019

The 11 Best Utah National Parks and Monuments to Visit

From birding to bouldering to boating, Utah's national parks have it all.

Zach WatsonApril 2, 2019

The 30 Best Zoos in the U.S.

Get an up-close look at wild creatures in natural settings at America's top animal parks.

Kyle McCarthyMarch 28, 2019

15 Scenic Train Rides to Add to Your Bucket List

Climb aboard these locomotives for jaw-dropping views.

Christine SmithMarch 26, 2019

13 Top Places to Visit in Tuscany, Italy

Ditch the crowded streets of Rome or Milan and head to Italy's picturesque countryside.

Lyn MettlerMarch 25, 2019

10 Excellent Educational Vacations for Families

Make sure your next getaway is both enjoyable and informative.

Holly JohnsonMarch 14, 2019