• The dunes in soft light

    White Sands

    National Monument New Mexico

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  • Closures and Missile Tests

    Upcoming Missile Tests: From time to time the missile range that surrounds us performs missile testing that may require the closure of the park or Highway 70. Please follow the link below for up to date information on closures More »

  • Summer Monument Hours

    The monument currently opens at 7 a.m. and closes roughly 1 hour after sunset. More »

  • Road Safety Corridor

    The first four miles of Dunes Drive is a road safety corridor. Slowing or stopping in the corridor is prohibited. Dune Life Nature and Playa trails are also temporarily closed. The staff of White Sands National Monument apologizes for the inconvenience.

Curriculum Materials

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  • White Sands National Monument

    Leapin' Lizards

    Through many years of changing habitats and adapting to their surroundings, most of our lizards are white in coloration. Take a look at a whiptail and some of the interesting patterns and colors that have been produced through selection and breeding over hundreds of years. Invent your own lizard with colors that would help him hide in your choice of environment!

  • White Sands National Monument

    Cook a Lizard

    Cook a Lizard

    The brilliant white dune field has resulted in extremely rapid and remarkable adaptations in endemic

  • White Sands National Monument

    Flat Stanley

    Flat Stanley

    Based on a children's book written by Jeff Brown in 1964, the Flat Stanley Project was created to help your child, student or class learn about the many wonderful places around the world. Children create their own Stanley and send him through the mail to various locations on his own adventure. We invite you to send your Stanley to us or to download on of our Flat Rangers!

  • White Sands National Monument

    Animal Adaptation

    Variation and change occur in all ecological systems. All forms of life are affected by changes in the quality, quantity, and distribution of their habitats. At White Sands, animals have adapted in a variety of ways.

  • White Sands National Monument

    Kit Fox Lesson Plan 2

    Animals mature into adulthood much faster than humans. This lesson lets children compare their own rate of growth to that of a kit fox.

  • White Sands National Monument

    Kit Fox Lesson Plan 1

    The unique components of air, water, climate, and geological conditions at White Sands National Monument provide a harsh environment for plants and animals. Because of this, animals have adapted to this different environment. The kit fox is a good example of an animal that has adapted to this desert environment.

  • White Sands National Monument

    Plant Adaptations

    Plant Adaptations

    The conditions at White Sands National Monument, the world's largest gypsum dunefield, create a unique environment for plant survival. The monument encompasses an ecosystem within an ecosystem, where of the 244 plants found in the desert environment, only 60 have developed strategies for survival in the dunefield itself.

  • Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

    Eolian Science

    Students will explore how wind direction and topography influence the formation of sand dunes.

  • Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

    All Sand Grains, Great and Small

    Wind and water not only move sand, but sort it by size and density.

  • Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

    Magnetic Sand?

    Students will understand that sand is made up of different minerals—one being magnetite, a compound containing iron.

Did You Know?

Photo of animal tracks

Most desert animals are nocturnal, coming out to feed only at night when temperatures are cooler. Every animal in the white sands makes tracks on the dunes as it moves, leaving clues to its nocturnal activities.