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About the Center

The Sandia Mountain Natural History Center (SMNHC) is an environmental education center east of Albuquerque, New Mexico that has been operating since 1967.

Scenic view of the SMNHC

Who We Are 

The Sandia Mountain Natural History Center (SMNHC) is an environmental education center located in the Sandia Mountains just east of Albuquerque, N.M. Our beautiful 128-acre piece of primarily piñon-juniper forest is owned by Albuquerque Public Schools and is jointly operated by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science through the State of New Mexico.

Since 1967, the center has been teaching the students of New Mexico about the ecosystem and how to better understand and study it.  The SMNHC has been declared an Environmental Education Landmark by the National Park Service and was awarded the Environmental Excellence Award by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The SMNHC consists of:

(click links to view photos)

Programs & Events

The SMNHC serves about 17,000 people a year in a variety of different programs for school groups, as well as the general public.

Ecology Field Program

Paul showing students wildlife camera photos during their Ecology Field Program.

In the esteemed Ecology Field Program, 5th-grade classes come to the center for an educational science experience in which they get a vital immersive experience in their local mountain ecosystem. Our educators take them for a 2- to 3-hour hike and lead the students in hands-on activities focusing on the biotic species and abiotic elements of the environment, their importance to one another, and ecosystem health.

Public Events

Group of people attending a Herpetology Day at the SMNHC.

While our Center is not open to the public on most days, we do host several public events each year to let people visit this unique New Mexican treasure. From nature walks to bird watching, the SMNHC has something for all nature lovers.

Outreach Programs

Travelling Ecology Field Program at Bottomless Lakes State Park near Roswell.During the school year,  SMNHC staff provide a Traveling Ecology Field Program for 5th grade students statewide. This program features hiking at a wild area near the students' school, with the same themes and lessons as the regular Ecology Field Program. This provides New Mexico students a better understanding of unique ecosystems near them.