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.
Rangers in the Classroom
Invite a Ranger to Your Classroom
Schools up to 30-miles from White Sands National Monument may request a ranger to present a program in the classroom. (This includes the communities of Alamogordo, Tularosa, and Cloudcroft.)
White Sands National Monument offers curriculum-based programs that directly relate park resources to what you are teaching in the classroom. Program topics are offered on desert ecology, geology, plants, animals, adaptation, area history, minimum impact resource use, environmental ethics, biodiversity, and endangerd species. Other topics may be arranged.
Please plan ahead! Before calling the park, decide what program topic would most directly relate to the unit you are teaching and most beneficial to your students. You can download the list of topics here. The park requires at least one month's advance notice in order to schedule and prepare for the program. Each program will be tailored to meet your class's educational needs.Please fill out the reservation form and email to WHSA_education@nps.gov. The Education Specialist will contact you to confirm a ranger presentation in your classroom.
Supplemental Materials: The White Sands Puppet Theater
The White Sands Puppet Theater is a portable puppet show presented by rangers. It uses a variety of puppets and is designed to teach students about the animals that make their homes in the dunes. If you would like to arrange a puppet show, please download the puppet show reservation form. Mail the completed from to email@example.com or fax it to (575) 479-1116. The Education Coordinator will then contact you to confirm the details.
Due to the size of the theater set-up and both the space and time required to set it up, it is recommended this is presented to more than a single classroom at one time. We prefer an audience of 70-80 students for this presentation.
We will do our best to accommodate all requests. Please keep in mind, however, that due to staffing levels or demand, there may be dates on which we may not be able to do so.
Puppet Shows Available
Pedro Ponders the Past
Pedro Ponders the Past is a one-act puppet skit on the geological history of White Sands National Monument written by Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Joplin J. Sell. The show lasts approximately 45 minutes and follows a new park ranger as she prepares for her first Sunset Stroll. The new ranger learns about the unique geological formation of the dunefield, the importance of water to the dunes, plants, and animals as well as the people who have lived in the basin surrounding the dunes. This show is appropriate for ages K-3.
Dreams of Adaptations
Dreams of Adaptations is a one-act puppet skit on animal adaptation at White Sands National Monument written by Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Joplin J. Sell. The show lasts approximately 30 minutes and follows the adventures of a young Mescalero Apache boy as he encounters the animals of the dunefiled and learns how they have adapted to survive in this unique desert environment. This show is appropriate for grades K-3.
For a more in-depth summary of each show, download it here.
Did You Know?
Unlike most other birds, which have three front toes and one back toe, the roadrunner has two front and two back toes, allowing it to run down its prey. Look for its distinct X-shaped tracks on the white sands.