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Public Programs

Learn how you can visit the SMNHC as a member of the public or out-of-school group.

Visit Us!

Visit the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center for a Public Day, workshop, or guided or self-guided program with your camp, scout troop, or other community group. Read on to find out how.

Note: The Sandia Mountain Natural History Center is not open to the public except on advertised public days, and by prior arrangement for organized groups.

Public & Special Programs

Check back here or follow us on Facebook to find out about future events we are hosting!

If you are interested in being a speaker or collaborator on a future public event, please email Fiana Shapiro at .

Geoff showing a family the moon through a large telescope at the SMNHC during International Observe the Moon Night.

Public Event themes have included:

Art, Astronomy, BioBlitz, Bears, Birding, Bugs, Forestry, Geology, Halloween, History, Herps, and more. 

You never know what we may do next!

SMNHC staff are also frequent participants at other organizations' festivals and events. Contact Fiana Shapiro at  to request our attendance at your event.

Group Programs

We offer usage of our facilities and specialized programs to home-school groups, scout troops, summer school classes, camps, community centers, and other organized groups of outdoor enthusiasts of all ages, primarily during the summer months.

Hiking with the summer camp kids on one of the camp days, up at Abbey Alley benches, with SMNHC property and buildings down below.

Guided Program

If you choose to do a guided program, our educators will plan a program for your group's specific interests, or lead a general ecology hike with our own mix of topics and activities.

Programs usually include a moderate hike (1.5-2 mi.), exploration, and activities in the ecosystem. Adult programs typically aren't as hands-on. We will incorporate your group's interests and preferences.

You may also use our facilities: bathrooms, picnic areas, and visit our small on-site museum.

Self-Guided Program

Your group can arrange for self-guided use of our trails and facilities.

This gives you access to 7 miles of trails, outdoor classrooms, our on-site museum, picnic areas, and bathrooms. Our staff will not go along with you on your hike, but we will be available on-site.

Scheduling Criteria

  • Both the guided and self-guided options require advance scheduling.
  • Schedule with us as soon as possible, and no less than 2 weeks beforehand. The sooner the better as far as getting your preferred date. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate your request.
  • Our hours of availability are Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm. Groups typically arrive around 9 or 10am and stay for 3-4 hours. For guided programs, we need a minimum of 2 hours to be dedicated to the guided hike/activities.


  • Guided: $5 per child/participant ($50 minimum)
  • Self-Guided: $2 per person ($30 minimum)

Request a Program

To inquire about scheduling a non-school group program with us, contact Fiana Shapiro at or by calling (505) 281-5259 x4.

  • You will be asked to fill out a registration form with preferred dates, times, number of children/adults, program requests, special needs, etc. 
  • Your program will be scheduled once you receive confirmation from us.

Topics & Activities 

For guided programs, our educators will design a program based on the ages and other information you provide us about your group. When booking, let us know if you have any particular topics of interest, badges you're trying to earn, or preferences for your group so we can customize your program to best suit your participants!

Students during their Ecology Field Program in the fir forest doing Decomposition in the Forest activity.Potential focuses (not all-inclusive):

  • Animals and evidence
  • Birds
  • Bug Hunt
  • Decomposition Fire Ecology
  • Forestry
  • Fossils
  • Geocaching
  • Geology
  • Leave No Trace
  • Microscopes
  • Natural Springs
  • Orienteering
  • Plants
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Scientific Research
  • Scout Badges
  • Sensory Activities
  • Trees
  • Wildlife Cameras