What: National Center for Atmospheric
Research (NCAR) tour
When: Self-guided tours Weekdays 8-5; weekends and holidays
Guided Tours at noon daily
Woody Allen’s 1973 movie Sleeper, Woody tries to load
a huge magnetic tape on a super computer, and ends up dangling out a
window tangled up in tape. The futuristic building featured in this
scene is the beautiful structure designed by world famous architect
I.M. Pei, and the home of the National Center for Atmospheric
Research (NCAR). It is situated in a spectacular setting, nestled
beneath Boulder’s dramatic Flatiron rock formations.
Adults and children alike will find fascinating
hands-on displays that demonstrate how tornadoes form, how eddies
form in water and air, and various electrical phenomena such as
lightning and static electricity. These and other exhibits
demonstrate processes that affect weather and climate.
Visit the impressive computing center, utilized by
researchers working to provide more accurate weather forecasts,
improve hurricane warnings, understand climate change such as global
warming, measure wind shear and turbulence, and much more. Learn how
the use of the on-site 3D Visualization Lab has helped scientists
make breakthroughs in analyzing data.
terms like gigaflops and terabytes mean something to
you, you’ll find additional details on the computers currently being
used at NCAR, which runs one of the 10 fastest supercomputing
centers in the world. Computer history buffs will enjoy a close-up
view of part of the old Cray Supercomputer used by the center
starting in the late 1970s.
After enjoying the indoor displays, head outside
to the 0.4 mile Walter Orr Roberts Weather Trail, where you’ll hike
through a nature preserve and learn about weather phenomena that may
be visible around you while you walk! View the infamous Brown Cloud,
look for Mountain Waves in the clouds, and learn about cold fronts,
snow, ultraviolet light, erosion, fire, drought, and thunderstorms
(oops, time to head back inside!) Be on the lookout for mule deer,
rabbits, and lovely springtime wildflowers in the woods around you.
Numerous other hiking trails are available in this region as well.
For more information, contact:
National Center for Atmospheric Research
1850 Table Mesa Drive
Boulder, CO 80305
Drive to the intersection of Broadway and Table Mesa Drive on the
north side of Boulder. Turn west on Table Mesa Drive, and continue
to the end of the road, which is the entrance to the parking lot for