Public and Summer Programs

As a public health precaution due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the SMNHC is not currently offering any on-site or in-person programming.  Our closure is part of the larger effort by NM state government and public school officials to minimize exposure to the virus.  

At this time, it is unclear as to when we will be able to again offer our in-person programming.  We are preparing for both on-site and virtual school programs for the 2020-21 school year, in order to be flexible as the situation develops, and as school regulations and needs change.   

The Sandia Mountain Natural History Center is not open to the public except on advertised public days, 
and by prior arrangement for organized groups.

Read on for more information on how to visit us!

Check back here for future public programs, as we schedule them.

For additional information about our public programs or to schedule a special program for your group, please contact:
 Vanessa Barela at   or   (505) 281-5259.  

Event themes of the past have included: Bioblitzes, Bears, Insects, Birding, Forestry, Nocturnal Animals, and Astronomy.  

You never know what we may do next!  


Summer Programs

We offer usage of our facilities and specialized programs to home-school groups, scout groups, summer schools, summer camps, community centers, and other organized groups of outdoor enthusiasts of all ages, primarily during the summer months. 

Guided: If you choose to do a guided program, our educators can design a program for your group's specific interests or lead a general ecology hike with our own mix of topics and activities. Programs usually include a moderate hike (1.5-2 mi.), exploration and activities in the ecosystem.  Adult programs typically aren't so hands-on and are more informational. You may also use our facilities for a picnic lunch and visit our small on-site museum.

Self-Guided: Alternately, your group can arrange for self-guided use of our trails and facilities.  This option gives you access to 7 miles of trails, outdoor classrooms, our on-site museum, picnic areas, and bathrooms.  You will not have one of our educators with you, but you may borrow trail guides that correspond to numbered signs on some of our trails.

Both the guided and self-guided options require advance scheduling.  

Scheduling Criteria:

-Schedule with us as soon as possible (and no less than 2 weeks before).  The sooner the better as far as getting your preferred date.

-Our hours of availability are Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm.  Groups typically come for 3-4.5 hours.


Guided: $5 per child/participant, minimum 10 people

Self-Guided: $1 per person, minimum $20

To inquire about or schedule a program, email Vanessa Barela at

You will then be asked to fill out a registration form with number of people, ages, special needs, etc. so we know how to prepare for your group.

Potential Topics and Activities (tailored to your group):

Animals and tracking


Bug Hunt


Field research

Fire ecology

Fossil Hunt


"Leave No Trace"





Scavenger Hunt

Scout Badges

Sensory Activities

Tree identification