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Bradbury Science Museum

Manhattan Project NHP Tours at Los Alamos

All in-person tours previously scheduled for 2021 have been cancelled.

March 1, 2021

  • Manhattan Project NHP-Los Alamos Public Engagement Specialist
  • Jonathan Creel
  • (505) 667-6277
  • Email
  • Manhattan Project NHP-Los Alamos Project Manager
  • Cheryl Abeyta
  • EPC-DO
  • Email
Tours are open to U.S. citizens. Proof is required.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are currently no public tours scheduled for 2021.

As recommendations from the New Mexico Department of Health and the operating status of Los Alamos National Laboratory change, the updated tour information will appear on this page.

The most current information will always be posted here first. Any inquiries to staff regarding the current tour status will be directed back to this page. Please check back for the most current tour status.

General Tour Information

When public tours resume, they will last approximately three hours and begin and end at the Bradbury Science Museum. Participants will have the unique opportunity to visit three historic sites that are on Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Tour Participants

  • Must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Must be able to walk short distances, stand for 30 minutes, climb stairs, and traverse over uneven surfaces.
  • Are not allowed to bring cell phones, cameras, or recording devices of any kind on the tour.

It is important that you read and understand all tour requirements to ensure entry and eligibility.

What You'll See

Pond Cabin Pond Cabin
Ashley Pond, founder of the Los Alamos Ranch School, built this cabin to serve as an office for a private hunting ranch called the Pajarito Club. During the Manhattan Project, the cabin served as an office for Emilio Segrè’s Radioactivity Group while they conducted plutonium chemistry research. Discoveries about plutonium made in this cabin by Segrè’s team led to a major reorganization of the wartime laboratory and the development of the Fat Man implosion weapon.

Battleship Bunker Battleship Bunker
In 1944, scientists carried out experiments of the implosion-weapon design using the magnetic method to detect changes in the magnetic field during a high-explosives “shot” at Pajarito Site.  This magnetic method was the only method that scientists could use on a full-scale test. Scientists used a bunker like Battleship Bunker to support diagnostic testing of the high-explosives assembly used for the Trinity device (but without nuclear material). This bunker is cast-in-place concrete and earned its name because the west end of the building is shaped like a bow and shielded with steel.

Slotin experiment mockup Slotin Building
This structure supported criticality research at the wartime Laboratory’s Pajarito Site. It was the location of Louis Slotin’s May 21, 1946 accident that occurred while he was showing colleagues an experiment that involved bringing two hemispheres of a plutonium core to near-criticality. Slotin, who had assembled the Trinity device core and was the world’s leading expert on handling plutonium, received a a lethal dose of radiation due to this accident and died nine days later. Slotin’s accident significantly changed future criticality safety at Los Alamos.

After World War II, the Slotin building supported Cold War research and was later converted into a shop.

Common Registration Questions

Can I reserve spaces ahead of the posted registration date?
We appreciate your enthusiasm, but registration is on a first-come, first-served basis only.

How many people can I register?
You may register yourself and one other person. 

How do I know I have successfully registered for a tour?
Once registered, you should receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite within 24 hours. If you do not receive an email confirmation from Eventbrite within this time period, please check your spam folder. If you do not find an email in the spam folder, contact us at mpnhpregistration@lanl.gov.

What if I am wait-listed?
We anticipate high interest in these tours. If the tour date and time you have selected is full, you will have the option to add your name and email to a limited capacity wait-list for one (1) ticket. If you are successfully added to a waitlist, and a ticket becomes available, you will be contacted automatically with further instructions on how to reserve your ticket. Check your email frequently as you will only have 1.5 hours to claim the ticket.
You are also welcome to try to secure a seat on another tour.

If my schedule changes, can I cancel?
Yes. To cancel your registration, please send an email with your name, and tour date and time, to mpnhpregistration@lanl.gov

How will I know if my tour has been canceled?
The tour may be canceled with little advance notice due to factors beyond our control. If your tour is canceled, you will receive an email from us as soon as possible. If it is extremely short notice, we will call the cell phone number you listed during the registration process. 

May I bring and use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
Tour participants must adhere to current guidance form the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Mexico Department of Health (NM-DOH). The use of some Personal Protective Equipment is allowed on the tour. You may use bring and use personally owned face masks (surgical type masks, dust masks, homemade face coverings, etc.) and hand sanitizer with you on the tour.

Common Tour Questions

Are there hazards involved?
Yes. The location of the tour, Technical Area 18, is a former industrial site. We have taken safety precautions. However, you are responsible for your well-being. Please be careful when walking, listen to your escorts, follow all instructions, and always pay attention to what is going on around you. You will receive an extensive safety briefing at the Bradbury Science Museum prior to the tour. 

What will the weather be like?
Expect temperatures in the 80s and above, with low humidity. As a precaution, be aware that Los Alamos, New Mexico is above 7,300-feet of elevation. Altitude sickness is not uncommon for those not acclimated to high altitudes. Additionally, severe weather can develop rapidly. In the event of inclement weather, the tour may be canceled.

What attire should I wear for the tour?
Tour participants are required to wear sturdy, closed-toe, closed-heel, footwear and long pants. Long sleeves are advised, but not required. We ask that everyone bring a hat to protect against the sun.

If you arrive in shorts and sandals (or any other footwear that is not sturdy, closed-toe, and closed-heel), you will not be allowed  to participate in the tour.

Will there be restrooms?
There will be temporary bathroom facilities at the tour site. However, we encourage you to take advantage of the rest break at the Bradbury Science Museum prior to departing on the tour.

Can I film or take pictures of tour sites?
No. You are not allowed to bring cell phones, cameras, or recording devices of any kind onto the site.

How early should I arrive for the tours?
Please arrive at the scheduled start time of your tour. We have allowed thirty (30) minutes for check-in and the LANL Visitor badging process. It is not necessary to arrive early.