Mesa Laboratory & Visitor Center

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) sits nestled against Boulder, Colorado's famous Flatirons and the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. A working research laboratory, NCAR welcomes the public seven days a week to its Visitor Center, which offers educational exhibits, a guided noon tour Monday, Wednesday, and Friday except on holidays, and a tour using one's cell phone or MP3 players by request.  The Tree Plaza can be a pleasant place to enjoy a picnic. The Walter Orr Roberts Weather Trail and other scenic trails of varying difficulty can be accessed directly from the parking lot. Special public events are offered throughout the year, as are pre-arranged tours and field trips for schools, camps, clubs, and other groups of all ages and abilities.   

NCAR's flagship building was I.M. Pei's first major architectural design outside an urban setting. Take a virtual tour of the Mesa Lab's architectural development.

Maps & Directions

This location has two buildings: our flagship Mesa Lab (ML) and the Fleishmann Building (FB).  FB is located to the north of the parking lot (on the left when driving in).

Visitor Center Hours

NCAR welcomes the public 363 days a year to its Visitor Center, which offers educational tours and exhibits. Admission is free.

  • Weekdays: 8am - 5pm
  • Weekends: 9am - 4pm
  • Holidays: 9am - 4pm

Cafeteria Hours

The cafeteria is open Monday through Friday, where art exhibitions change on a monthly basis.

  • Weekdays, except holidays:
  • Breakfast, 8:00 am - 9:30 am
  • Lunch, 11:30 - 1:30 pm


  • General: 303.497.1000
  • Scheduling: 303.497.1174
  • Closures: 303.497.1100

NCAR is managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), a non-profit consortium of over 100 North American university members and affiliates. NCAR's primary sponsor is the National Science Foundation. Its programs advance society's knowledge of atmospheric and Earth system science, how these systems work, and how they change over time. Through this research, NCAR can help to sustain Earth’s habitability, improve environmental quality, safeguard human health, reduce the impacts of natural disasters, and increase economic productivity.

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