Visiting the Very Large Array

Visit the Very Large Array

Welcome!

The Very Large Array Radio Telescope facility is a two-hour drive from Albuquerque, 50 miles west of Socorro, New Mexico. The Visitor Center features an award-winning documentary narrated by Jodie Foster, plus exhibits describing radio astronomy and the VLA telescope. A self-guided walking tour features large, informative signs and takes you to the base of one of the giant dish antennas. A gift shop offers VLA souvenirs and educational materials.

Hours

Please note: we now require advance purchase, timed-entry admission.

  • The VLA is open to the public 7 days a week ONLY from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • No one is allowed on site after 4 p.m. without prior authorization.
  • We are closed Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday of Nov.), Christmas Day (Dec. 25), and New Year’s Eve Day (Dec. 31).

  • The Gift Shop is currently closed due to staffing shortage.
  • The VLA is closed to the public February 20-23, 2024 due to necessary site work.

Admission

Adults 18+ $6.00
Ages 17 and under FREE
Seniors (65+) $5.00
Socorro & Catron County Resident bringing a paying guest FREE

Admission to site includes access to:

  • Our Visitor Center including our documentary film and current exhibits
  • Our outdoor self-guided walking tour (weather permitting)
  • A VLA guided tour, delivered by a staff member (when available; see event calendar for guided tour dates)

*Please note: Beginning on April 1st admission to the Very Large Array will increase. Please note the new amounts and changes in our admission categories:

  • Adults (13 – 64) will be $10
  • Seniors (65 and older) will be $8
  • Military & Veterans will be $8
  • Youth (12 and under) will remain free
  • Socorro and Catron county residents still get free admission if they bring a paying out-of-town guest with them

Contact

Call 575-835-7410 or email us at visitVLA@nrao.edu.

Directions

The Very Large Array Radio Telescope is a two hour drive from Albuquerque, 50 miles west of Socorro, New Mexico.

When driving west from Socorro:

  1. Travel through the small town of Magdalena and continue on US-60.
  2. Turn left onto NM-52 just west of mile marker 93.
  3. Drive 2.5 miles then turn right on NM-166 (Old Highway 60).
  4. Drive 1.6 miles and the VLA Visitor Center will be on your right.

When driving east from the Arizona border on US-60:

  1. Drive through the town of Datil. Just past mile marker 90 you will cross rail road tracks that mark the North arm of the array.
  2. Continue east on US-60 past mile marker 92 and turn right onto NM-52.
  3. Drive 2.5 miles and then turn right on NM-166 (Old Highway 60).
  4. Drive 1.6 miles and the VLA Visitor Center will be on your right.

Note: NRAO has offices located in Socorro, NM, and entering “Very Large Array” into direction-finding services may sometimes direct you to this location. Use the Google map below to get directions to the VLA Visitor Center. GPS coordinates for the site: 34 04 24.636N 107 37 20.640W. Please note that you may not have cellular or data reception within several miles of the VLA. All roads leading to the VLA are paved. If you are on a dirt road you are not on the correct route.