What You’ll See
The Visitor Center
The Visitor Center is open every day from 8:30am until sunset. You are free to explore our exhibits, where you will learn more about radio astronomy and the role the Very Large Array and other NRAO telescopes play in current research. You can also view several short videos that explain more about what happens at the VLA, how it works and how we move the antennas. In the auditorium is a 23-minute documentary, produced in 2013 and narrated by Jodie Foster. The documentary is an overview of radio astronomy, interferometry, and the VLA itself.
Outdoor Walking Tour
Our self-guided walking tour will take you to our Radio Sundial, past our Whisper Dish Gallery, on to our Radio Astronomy Gallery, and finally to the base of one of the 230-ton working antennas on the array! From there, you will head toward the control building’s outside staircase to the observation deck for a view of the array itself, and will learn details about the supercomputer processing taking place inside the control building. The walk returns you to the Visitor Center where you are welcome to browse through our Gift Shop for unique souvenirs. The Gift Shop opens almost every day at 9:00am and closes at 4:00pm.
Please note: the path for the self-guided walking tour is level and approximately 0.5 miles in length, half of which is unpaved gravel.
At our Visitor Center Gift Shop, you’ll find a universe of astronomy and science-themed apparel, gifts, and souvenirs for all ages. We stock a variety of logo memorabilia as well as clothing, books, posters, note cards, DVDs, and more. From “Very Large” mugs to “Hip Hip Array” hats to “With All These Dishes…” aprons, we have something for everyone.
The Gift Shop is open every day at 9:00am and closes at 4:00pm with the following exceptions: we are closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Day.
If you have questions, you may reach the Gift Shop at 575-835-7410 during regular business hours.