National Center for Atmospheric Research - NCAR

National Center for Atmospheric Research - NCAR, Boulder: Hours, Address, National Center for Atmospheric Research - NCAR Reviews: 4.5/5

National Center for Atmospheric Research - NCAR

National Center for Atmospheric Research - NCAR
4.5
Science Museums
Read more
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Write a review
About
Explore hands-on exhibits about weather, climate, the Sun, the atmosphere, and art-science connections in this famous I.M. Pei-designed building. Other options: a wheelchair-accessible outdoor weather trail, guided tours for the public at noon on Monday/Wednesday/Friday except holidays, and a Guide-By-Cell audio tour (using your phone). Free admission, open 363 days a year. Hours: M-F 8am-5pm; Weekends & holidays 9am-4pm. Visit our website for information about your visit, including organized group tours and to find out about our two annual maintenance closure dates.
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.

Top ways to experience National Center for Atmospheric Research - NCAR and nearby attractions

Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
309 reviews
Excellent
169
Very good
112
Average
23
Poor
2
Terrible
3

ellen06804
Brookfield, CT155 contributions
Jan 2020
Interesting building designed by architect I.M. Pei that sits atop a hill on Table Mesa Drive. You can see this building off to the left and high on the hill as you drive into Boulder and you wonder aloud "what is that place?" Admittedly I don't know the scope of the work done at this facility and clearly there must be much - there are libraries all over the place and many floors above where the general public is allowed. As a member of the general public myself, I enjoyed the 2 floors of exhibits that are presented. Lots of info about weather, climate, global warming and our planet; some small interactive exhibits are quite interesting. There is this one machine that blows air in a circular pattern and tornados actually form inside it and you can feel the air with your hand - it is hard to describe here but it is pretty cool. You could spend a few hours here and there is no admission fee. The grounds are lovely to walk around and see the view. Architectural buffs (no pun intended - U Colorado Buffalos) will enjoy the building itself and there is an exhibit about the architect and how he conceived of the design.
Written January 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

stijntailly
Waregem, Belgium312 contributions
Oct 2019
Great building to look at for fans of architecture, designed by the renowned and late I.M. Pei, who said he wanted it to look like it was carved out of the surrounding mountains. I had to look that last one up on Wikipedia, but he absolutely did succeed in blending the building in with the Flatiron Mountains in the background. There's a short interpretive trail that departs from the grounds of NCAR and obviously there are plenty of longer trails in the near vicinity. NCAR also offers a small exhibition on weather, climate (change) and everything that has to do with those sciences. It's free, as is parking and will take anything from under a half hour to one or two hours of your precious time, depending on your interest level.
Written April 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Suzanne S
West Grove, PA17 contributions
Feb 2020
Beautiful location and a great place to visit even if you just want to view Boulder and walk around. This is a free museum and place you can learn about climate changes and everyday weather at your own pace or you can choose to take a tour. Great educational stop to add to a fun filled week in the mountains.
Written March 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ken D
Beavercreek, OH116 contributions
Apr 2019
This is a great place to come, park the car and take in the vista across the city of Boulder below. Think twice about coming here during a wind event. There's a reason the government placed this facility here to study atmospheric properties.
Written February 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Taymar
Epsom, UK91 contributions
Mar 2022
Lovely position on a high point above Boulder. Very scenic drive up to the center, through open countryside with deer grazing. We didn't go into the center, but enjoyed the location - some short hikes from the extensive car parking.
Written June 6, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

nowincolorado
Colorado Springs, CO2,960 contributions
We planned a day trip to Boulder and drove 2 hrs to get there. I had been to NCAR's Website - they are open every day of the year for tours - even Christmas! You can go on a self-guided tour or take a guided tour at 12noon.

We planned our trip to make it there at 12noon. We actually arrived early 11:30am but figured we'd go and see some of their displays before going on the guided tour.

We walked up the stairs to find a sign taped on the glass door "Closed April 8, 2006 for Mesa Lab Maintenance". There were four other families there standing around trying to figure out why they just drove up a very windy mountain road to get to a place that is SUPPOSE to be open but is closed without warning.

Plus it was a Saturday - why couldn't they do their maintenance on a weekday when kids are in school and parents working - not on a weekend. Or even better - schedule their maintenance for an evening AFTER tour times!

We were so very, very disappointed!
Written April 9, 2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We're sorry this traveler made the trip to Boulder on one of the two days a year we schedule for maintenance of our supercomputers. We can imagine the disappointment. The review prompted us to update our website and provide more information on our planned closures. We hope the reviewer and others who visit our website now have the information they need to plan a trip to our Visitor Center, where our high-performance supercomputers are one of the exhibits on display. We close twice a year to maintain our supercomputers, which are at the heart of our research. These complex machines have dedicated electrical and cooling systems, and it takes a full day to put all that infrastructure through testing to assure that everything runs smoothly and 24/7 the other 363 days of the year.
Written May 3, 2010
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

860SusanB860
Rockwall, TX3,147 contributions
Oct 2014 • Friends
I am not a big science or weather enthusiast, but have been intrigued by this huge building that sits overlooking Boulder. We drove up on a Sunday morning (it opens at 9 a.m.) and had a wonderful visit! The drive up was quite scenic and the building itself is unique (designed by I.M. Pei). There are walking and biking trails all around the area as well. The exhibits themselves were quite interesting - though we did not spend a lot of time reading every word on every display. The cloud machine, the tornado exhibit and photos for around the world were very interesting. We probably spent 20 minutes inside the exhibit and 40 minutes walking around outside on all the patios and scenic areas. Well worth a visit - if just for the view!
Written October 20, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

TooMuch2Do
Laguna Niguel, CA370 contributions
Sep 2014 • Family
If you’ve arrived in Boulder via Highway 36 and seen the sand colored stone towers midway up the Flatirons, you’ve seen the National Center for Atmospheric Research, NCAR. When the CU Parent Weekend bus to visit was full, we learned that you can drive up and visit on your own—it’s only a few minutes away. The website provides driving directions, and there is a large parking lot. When you approach you’ll see the striking angles of the I. M. Pei designed building, great for photos with the mountains peeking through. There’s no admission charge and inside there are two corridors of displays, one upstairs and one downstairs, that initially don’t seem like much to see. If you arrive when there’s a guided tour, it’s worth listening for highlights of interesting facts on the cloud, weather, and climate forensic work that goes on that you might not get from reading the detailed displays, operating the weather exhibits, or listening to the cell phone tour. There’s also a short movie for an overview. Don’t miss the exhibit on I. M. Pei detailing the approvals needed for construction of the building—inspired by Mesa Verde and Stonehenge and likewise designed to last 1000 years. If you’re interested in computer history, don’t miss the Cray computer on the lower level and the ghost town of a data center downstairs below the Pei exhibit. The cafeteria has the best value lunch with the greatest view in Boulder. There’s a salad bar, soups, entrees, and made-to-order sandwiches—three of us ate for under $20. Make sure to save time to walk at least the nature trail behind the building. Those with more energy can tackle 50 miles of walking only trails—no bikes or dogs.
Written September 27, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Rugbyjello
Denver, CO204 contributions
Mar 2018 • Solo
I M Pei designed building in the heart of the Flat Irons. Beautiful views and a great hiking trail outside. Inside there is two floors of interactive displays about weather and climate change. However, it left me wondering why you don’t see any solar panels or wind turbines on their building.
Written March 9, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for the review! NCAR/UCAR are committed to sustainability and we do utilize solar energy. We currently have 1,012 solar panels on our FLA and FL4 buildings! NCAR/UCAR also recycles or composts 68% of all waste generated by our buildings, and donates unwanted office supplies to local schools rather than throwing those resources away. We hold ourselves to a high standard of sustainability and we're glad that our exhibits provoke thoughts related to sustainability and energy use. Come see us again soon!
Written March 28, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

daboha
Erie, CO32 contributions
Jan 2017 • Family
My family and I have been visiting NCAR for some years now. We enjoy the hike on the trails behind the main building and the exhibits on the latest in climate research. However, we have only recently discovered Mesa Cafeteria, the cafe tucked away in the back of the building, which is open to the public. I decided to write this review to get the word out about it to others who enjoy the facility and its surroundings.

I don't know why NCAR staff decided to strategically hide this great little venue from view - I found it by accident when I was walking my kids to the bathroom on the first floor. The cafeteria happened to be open at the time and we decided to give it a shot. We were all very much impressed with the fare they served, and their prices were great too. (I had a tasty Cubano sandwich with pickles made in-house and chips on the side for $5.95.) The seating area is spacious and comfortable with a rotating art exhibit, and the view can't be beat. Gotta love NCAR.
Written January 11, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your review! We're glad you enjoyed the exhibits and surrounding hiking trails! And yes, we have a spacious cafeteria located on the first floor of the Mesa Lab. The cafeteria is open on weekdays, for anyone else interested in checking it out!
Written June 7, 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 302
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Frequently Asked Questions about National Center for Atmospheric Research - NCAR

National Center for Atmospheric Research - NCAR is open:
  • Mon - Fri 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Sat - Sun 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

We recommend booking National Center for Atmospheric Research - NCAR tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 2 National Center for Atmospheric Research - NCAR tours on Tripadvisor