Field Trips to NCAR

Field Trips to NCAR

Thank you for your interest in bringing students to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Our school field trip schedule fills quickly and at this time we don't have any additional availability for the 2018-2019 school year. To discuss self-guided tour options for small groups (5-10 people), please email Tiffany Fourment or call 303.497.2401.

  • Reservations for summer 2019 field trips will be taken beginning March 1, 2019.
  • Reservations for fall 2019 field trips will be taken beginning March 1, 2019.
  • Reservations for spring 2020 field trips will be taken beginning May 1, 2019.

Please make note of these dates and we'll look forward to hearing from you then!


NCAR Field Trip

Come see us at the Visitor Center to learn about weather, atmosphere, climate, sun and space weather, and more! Our interactive exhibits and hands-on Learning Labs offer fun ways to learn about the world around you.

Field trips to the NCAR Mesa Lab Visitor Center are available for school, camp, club, and home school groups Monday through Thursday.

During the school year these field trips include a tour and learning lab.

Summer field trips feature a tour and an outdoor learning experience.

To help you in your planning, we've developed a list of Frequently Asked Questions.


Frequently Asked Questions

What happens on a field trip to NCAR?

Our experienced science educators typically begin a field trip with a guided tour of the Visitor Center, followed by a Learning Lab of your choosing. Afterward, students can spend some time exploring the exhibits and/or take a short 10-20 minute walk on the Walter Orr Roberts Weather Trail. We work with you to tailor your field trip to meet the needs of your group.

How much does a field trip cost?

Field trips to NCAR are free! As a renowned science center, we want to inspire students to learn more about the world around them.

How long does a field trip usually take?

Field trips require anywhere from an hour for our youngest visitors to a half day or longer for those at the college level. Most K-8th grade field trips last two hours, but we can adapt field trips to meet the time limitations of any group.

Who should go on a field trip?

We encourage visits from student groups of all ages, including pre-school, elementary school, middle school, high school, post-secondary, non-traditional, and mixed-age groups from home schools and clubs.

What is a Science Learning Lab?

Science Learning Labs incorporate hands-on activities to engage students in science learning.  Our labs are designed for PreK-12th grades and are aligned to Colorado science standards.  Check out our list of available Labs and their descriptions.

How can I arrange a field trip to NCAR?

Contact our School and Public Programs office by email or phone (303.497.2401). Before you get in touch, make sure you've reviewed the Field Trip Planning Guide. Visits are scheduled on a first come, first served basis and we tend to be quite busy during the school year. We recommend scheduling six to eight months in advance whenever possible.

What can I do to prepare before a field trip?

Learn a little about NCAR by exploring the UCAR and NCAR websites. A good place to start is the Air, Planet, People video, which will give you some basic information about the organization. Please let your students know that NCAR is a professional work environment with several hundred employees and that we expect respectful conduct during the visit. Also, be aware that we are at 6,100 feet above sea level in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and students should dress appropriately for the current weather.

What do we do when we arrive at NCAR?

Before departing for NCAR, make sure that your drivers know how to get to NCAR and where they should park. It takes approximately ten minutes to walk to the entrance from the parking lot, so remember to arrive early! Buses can drop students off in the designated drop-off area. Vehicles are not allowed into the turnaround at the entrance unless arrangements are made prior to your visit.

What are our options for lunch?

Groups are encouraged to enjoy a picnic lunch on NCAR's Tree Plaza when the weather allows.  Lunch accommodations are also available in the NCAR cafeteria and/or classroom. Student groups are not permitted to buy their lunch in the cafeteria unless arrangements have been made in advance of the visit. Teachers, group planners, counselors, and parent chaperones are welcome to buy their lunch in NCAR's cafeteria.  Weekly cafeteria menus are available online. Please note that the cafeteria is cash only.

My group has special needs. Are you able to accommodate us?

Our School and Public Programs staff are committed to serving every group interested in a visit to NCAR.  In fact, most of our educators have taught in special needs classrooms or programs in the past. When you contact us to schedule your visit, please let us know what accommodations your students will need.

What follow-up activities do you recommend after my field trip?

Our Learning Labs webpage includes suggestions for follow-up activities that will keep your group learning.

How do I provide feedback after visiting the Mesa Lab?

If you have brought your students to the NCAR Mesa Lab visitor center for a field trip, please fill out our survey to provide feedback.

Anything else I should know?

We want to hear how your visit went! We strive to ensure each experience at the Visitor Center is valuable and we are continually improving our offerings. Take our survey to let us know how we did.

What if I have a question that's not on here?

Contact our School and Public Programs Office by phone (303.497.2401) or email with any other questions you might have.  We want to make your visit educational and fun!