When our family road trip took us through through Albuquerque, New Mexico, last summer, one “must see” attraction on my husband’s list was the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque. This unusual museum is the only congressional chartered museum in its field of nuclear history and a first rate facility for anyone who has ever been interested in learning about the Atomic Age. Exhibits to see at this museum cover how atomic energy was first developed to the political complexities of World War II, the Cold War, and modern day applications.
Our family spent nearly 2 1/2 hours at the NMNSH and wish we had been a little bit better prepared for the experience. Here are some visitor tips that will help your family make the most of your visit.
With most museums, it doesn’t really matter when you plan your visit. Not so with the NMNSH. We made the mistake of arriving mid afternoon after an already full day of sightseeing and our poor, tired brains had a tough time processing much of the technical information found in the rear of the museum. The museum is definitely worth seeing but for those of us who don’t know a thing about nuclear history, it’s best to plan your visit early in the day while the brain is fresh and receptive to learning something new.
Even though the technical and historical information may be too hard for young children to understand, there are plenty of other things at the NMNSH they will find interesting. There’s military aircraft and mock bombs to view, a replica bomb shelter, a gallery filled with pop atomic cultural exhibits and a special kids area with interactive displays where children can learn about nuclear energy. Parents with tots in strollers will be happy to learn that the museum is all on one level.
Plan for a minimum of 2-3 hours
There is a lot to see, read, and experience at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History which is why we suggest giving yourself plenty of time. If you have small kids in the group, two hours is about all they might be up to. Teens and adults will want to spend at least 3-4 hours here.
While the museum isn’t huge like others we have visited, there still is a lot of standing and reading involved which can get tiring on the feet. We recommend wearing good walking shoes and comfortable clothes. Since there are nine acres of outdoor displays to view as well, be sure to dress appropriately for the weather and remember the sunscreen too.
The NMNSH does not have a cafe so if your visit will span the lunch hour, be sure to bring along a sack lunch or snacks.
The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History is open daily from 9am – 5pm except for major holidays. Admissions is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $7 for children ages 6-17. You might also want to budget a bit for the gift shop where they carry an awesome selection of geeky tees and science toys.
The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History is one of the most unusual museums our family has ever visited. We learned quite a bit about the Atomic Age and modern applications of nuclear energy and only regret that we didn’t give ourselves enough time to see everything.
The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History is located at 601 Eubank SE in Albuquerque. For directions or more information, check out the museum website at NuclearMuseum.org.
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