National Museum of Nuclear Science and History:
Location and Hours:
Albuquerque, NM 87123
Open Daily from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Closed New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day
Seniors 60+, $7
Youth 6 - 17, $7
Active Military, $6
Children five and under are free
What To Expect:
The museum deconstructs the enigmatic atomic age and provides details and information on how it came to be. The pioneering scientists who introduced the world to the atom, radiation and the bomb are all outlined, to include Einstein.
Explanatory exhibits come in a variety of forms, from the interactive computer-based boards to the usual interpretive boards with pictures. There are scale models of devices that made history, such as the Enola Gay, which made history as the plane that dropped the bombs on Japan in World War II. Models of Fat Man and Little Boy, the bombs that ushered in the nuclear age, are also on display. The history of the Manhattan Project, which was based in Los Alamos in New Mexico, has its own area. There is even the car sometimes used by Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the Manhattan Project, on display.
Walk in the museum to be greeted by the periodic table of elements, which is on the floor. Museum staff use the table to introduce the science of the elements to visitors and kids. Docents are often on hand to describe exhibits, or take a self-tour.
The museum explores the uses of nuclear energy as an energy source. From the uranium carts that bring up the fuel to go into the reactor rods to the disposal of the spent fuel, several exhibits take a look at this energy option.
The museum takes a comprehensive look at the Cold War, why the United States opted to use nuclear weapons during World War II, and the aftermath of the decision. An exhibit on Hiroshima and Nagasaki document the changes brought on by the war.
Find out how the nuclear age infused everyday culture, from television to books to radio and movies. See a life sized bomb shelter, which many homes had built in during the Cold War.
Outside, the nine acre Heritage Park contains fighter planes, rockets, missiles, cannons and other actual artifacts. This part of the museum appeals especially to kids.
Another kid favorite is Little Albert's lab, where kids can explore scientific concepts hands-on. A child-sized robotic puppet answers questions while he bicycles around the lab. Kids enjoy exploring the discovery boxes, pendulums, hot light display and other objects that help teach physics concepts.