Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.
Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.
Trip Type
Flight 1
Flight 2
Flight 3
Flight 4
Flight 5

Search over 1 million properties and 550 airlines worldwide

Members save 10% more on select hotels, cars, activities and vacation rentals. Sign up.

Free cancellation on most hotels. Because flexibility matters.

National Center for Atmospheric Research

Play with clouds and discover how thunderstorms, tornadoes and other weather phenomena are formed with a free tour of a prestigious hilltop research laboratory.

Inside the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), scientists study the behavior of the planet's atmosphere and how it affects life on Earth. Devote at least half a day to exploring the visitor center to learn how weather works and the importance of climate research.

To reach the laboratory you will travel up a steep, scenic road. Before going inside, admire the views from the hill on which the research complex sits. You can see the city of Boulder below, and occasionally, deer grazing in meadows.

Exhibits are spread over two floors and housed in themed areas such as Layers of the Atmosphere. Start your visit in the Weather Gallery near the main entrance on the first level.  Go over to the cloud chamber to touch clouds and note how they feel. Stand beside the 8-foot (2.5-meter) tornado and pump the handle on the fog chamber to see how mists form.

At Sun-Earth Connections on the second level, see inside the 3D model of the sun to learn about its different layers. Discover what happens when the sun blasts out billions of tons of fiery plasma. In Climate Discovery, study information panels and exhibits that explain the greenhouse effect and the impact of climate change.

Admire climate-inspired artworks by regional artists at the Art-Science Galleries. Then, venture outside the building to see the Weather Trail. This is a 700-yard (650-meter) trail loop with signs that explain such weather phenomena as wind, drought and snow.

You have numerous options to explore the center. They include guided, self-guided and cell phone audio tours. The tablet tours offer children and adult-friendly tablet computers that are loaded with graphics, audio material and videos.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is open 363 days of the year and admission is free. The complex is situated approximately 5 miles (8 kilometers) south of downtown Boulder, and taxi or rental car are the most convenient travel options. There is ample free parking on-site.


Top National Center for Atmospheric Research Flight + Hotel Deals

Best Lodging Options Near National Center for Atmospheric Research

See all 338 Properties near National Center for Atmospheric Research
Hotel Boulderado $165
Hotel Boulderado

Hotel Boulderado

2115 13th St, Boulder, CO
     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Central Boulder, this historic hotel is steps from Boulder Theater and Pearl Street Mall. University of Colorado-Boulder and Folsom Field are also within 2 mi (3 km).

    South Boulder 2 BR Apartment
    South Boulder 2 BR Apartment

    South Boulder 2 BR Apartment

    Boulder, CO
       
      0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Devil's Thumb - Rolling Hill, this vacation home is 0.8 mi (1.2 km) from National Center for Atmospheric Research and within 3 mi (5 km) of University of Colorado-Boulder and Chautauqua Park. Folsom Field is 3 mi (4.8 km) away.

      Newly Remodeled, Family Friendly Mountain View Home With Hot Tub
      Newly Remodeled, Family Friendly Mountain View Home With Hot Tub

      Newly Remodeled, Family Friendly Mountain View Home With Hot Tub

      Boulder, CO
         
        0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Devil's Thumb - Rolling Hill, this historic vacation home is 1.1 mi (1.8 km) from National Center for Atmospheric Research and within 3 mi (5 km) of University of Colorado-Boulder and Chautauqua Park. NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory and NIST Headquarters are also within 3 mi (5 km).

        Colorado Chautauqua $172
        Colorado Chautauqua

        Colorado Chautauqua

        900 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Central Boulder, this cottage is within a 5-minute walk of Flatirons and Chautauqua Park. Fox Theater and University of Colorado-Boulder are also within 1 mi (2 km).

          Best Western Plus Boulder Inn $109
          Best Western Plus Boulder Inn

          Best Western Plus Boulder Inn

          770 28th Street, Boulder, CO
             
            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in East Boulder, this eco-friendly hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of University of Colorado-Boulder, NIST Headquarters, and Folsom Field. NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory and Naropa University are also within 2 mi (3 km).

            Artist's Mid-century Retreat in the Foothills
            Artist's Mid-century Retreat in the Foothills

            Artist's Mid-century Retreat in the Foothills

            Boulder, CO
               
              0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Highland Park, this vacation home is 0.7 mi (1.2 km) from NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory and within 3 mi (5 km) of University of Colorado-Boulder and Folsom Field. Chautauqua Park is 2.3 mi (3.6 km) away.

              Millennium Harvest House Boulder $85
              Millennium Harvest House Boulder

              Millennium Harvest House Boulder

              1345 28th St, Boulder, CO
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in the heart of Boulder, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of University of Colorado-Boulder and Folsom Field. Fox Theater and Pearl Street Mall are also within 2 mi (3 km).

                Basecamp Boulder $125
                Basecamp Boulder

                Basecamp Boulder

                2020 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Central Boulder, this motel is steps from Naropa University and University of Colorado-Boulder. Pearl Street Mall and Folsom Field are also within 15 minutes.