Things To Know

A digital map of the NCAR Mesa Lab. The first part shows the 1st floor of the exhibit space, with the Weather Exhibit, Theater, Art Science Gallery, Classroom, and Cafeteria identified. The second part shows the 2nd floor of the exhibit (including the Mezzanine level) which identifies the Library, another Art Science Gallery, Climate Exhibit, Sun-Earth Connections Exhibit, Architecture Exhibit, and Main Seminar Room. Throughout the map are bathroom, elevator and ISA symbols.

Map of Mesa Lab and Weather Trail

The Mesa Lab Visitor Center has three different levels with exhibits throughout. The Weather Trail is an outdoor exhibit on the trails behind the Mesa Lab, with signage about various weather phenomena. Maps and visitor information can be found at the Welcome Kiosk in the far corner of the lobby. You can also download the NSF NCAR Tour App, which has a map of the Mesa Lab in it.  

Elevators in the Mesa Lab

Exhibits and public areas are accessible by elevator. An ADA compliant elevator is located on the first floor at the end of the weather exhibit across from the NSF NCAR Theater. 

Restrooms and Water Fountains

A photo showing three wall signs at the Mesa Lab; one with an arrow that says “Restroom”, one with an arrow that says “Fountain”, and the final one with an arrow that says “Mesa Café”. In the background of this photo is the end of the weather exhibit with the NCAR Theater and the stairs up to the Climate exhibit.

Women’s and men’s restrooms are located on both the first and second floors. An all-gender accessible restroom with a changing table is located on the north end of the 2nd floor, near the Climate Stories exhibit.

There are multiple water fountains located around the Visitor Center. The accessible water fountain, which also includes a water bottle refill station, is across from the Front Desk outside of the men’s restroom on the first floor. Another drinking-only fountain is located on the second floor across from the elevator. 


The Mesa Lab Café is open to the public Monday - Friday for breakfast and lunch. The Café accepts cash and credit cards. 

  • Breakfast: 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. MT
  • Lunch: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. MT

The Mesa Lab Café has a standard Breakfast and Lunch Menus, with additional Daily Specials each day for lunch.

You are also welcome to bring your own food to the Café. Seating is available in the Café or on the patio just outside the Café, weather permitting. Outside of the above hours, there is no other food service for visitors and there is not other food available onsite. 

A photo of the entrance to the NCAR Mesa Lab Café which has a sign that reads “Mesa Cafeteria.” In the background you can see a lunch tray station part of the Café itself.

Coat Rack

There is a coat rack available for visitors to use. It is located behind the stairs in the walkway by the Weather Stories exhibit area. Please keep in mind that this coat rack is not monitored, and we recommend visitors hold onto any valuables. UCAR is not responsible for lost or stolen goods.

Public Telephone

There is a landline telephone available for public use on the first floor. It’s located across from the front desk next to the water fountain. To dial a number outside the building, visitors must type “7” before entering the phone number. 

Public Wifi/Internet Information

Visitors are welcome to join our public wifi network, “UCAR Visitor.” After selecting the network name from your personal device, wait for the pop-up web page to open. On this page, select “Connect” and wait for the confirmation message. You will then be connected to the network. This network is public and unsecured. Use at your own discretion.

Weather Inside and Outside

Inside the NSF NCAR Mesa Lab Visitor Center, the temperature is regulated based on the season. In the winter, the heat will be on inside the building, and during the summer there will be air conditioning. There is no coat check onsite, so please prepare to carry any coats or bags you have with you throughout your visit.

Outside, Colorado is known for having clearly defined seasons each year. While the weather in our building stays relatively consistent, we do have some outdoor exhibits for you to explore. Visitors can expect the weather to be cold and potentially snowy in the winter. Spring and Fall temperatures and weather tend to vary between snowy and cold and sunny and warm. Summers are very warm to hot, with mostly sunny or cloudy weather. Because of the Mesa Lab’s location, we can also get high winds that whip down the foothills. When the snow begins to melt or after a rainshower, the unpaved weather trail can be muddy and more difficult to navigate.

To check the current weather at the Mesa Lab, look at our Live Weather Station, designed and maintained by NSF NCAR’s Earth Observing Laboratory.


Photo of a calmly lit room with a chair, pillow, and table in one corner and a table, lamp, and noise machine in the other corner. There is an outlet on the wall opposite the door.

Nursing Room

A Nursing Room is available for public use by checkout. On weekdays, visitors can go to the front desk, and on weekends can go to the security window behind the front desk. You will provide your name and contact information and will be provided with a temporary badge with access to the room and directions to it. Please return the badge before leaving.


While all of the physical exhibits in the Mesa Lab are communicated in English, we do offer some Spanish translations. The NSF NCAR Theater offers a few of our videos with Spanish captions. Some of the welcome kiosk and field campaign videos are also in Spanish. And we do provide a map of the Walter Orr Roberts Weather Trail in Spanish as well. Spanish speakers can enjoy our Self-Guided Tour App in Spanish:

La aplicación para la visita guiada de NCAR del Centro para la Educación Científica de UCAR te ofrece una oportunidad perfecta para explorar el centro de visitantes del laboratorio Mesa de NCAR a tu propio ritmo.