Saturday, April 13, 8:00am-11:00am
Sand Robotics Challenge, Sponsored by NASA and Adams State UniversityGreat Sand Dunes are very similar to the dunes on planet Mars, where NASA rovers explore and do scientific research. Each spring, NASA and Adams State University sponsor a sand robotics challenge, where college student teams and the general public can compete with their own homemade rovers and learn about the technology of Mars rovers! The competition takes place in the Medano Creekbed, outside the designated wilderness area of the dunefield. Learn more on the Colorado Space Consortium's website. Free entrance to the park this day!
A free ranger program related to the event will take place at the visitor center from 11am-Noon: Parks & Planets: How NASA Research in the National Parks Aids Space Exploration. The ranger will discuss dune and wind research at Great Sand Dunes and the findings on Mars, as well as show research being done in other National Parks by NASA.
Friday, May 24 - Saturday, September 28
Summer Ranger ProgramsEvening programs or night hikes will be offered on most weekends in the summer at the outdoor amphitheater. Afternoon programs on weekends and some weekdays will allow visitors to learn more about the unique resources of Great Sand Dunes. View the current ranger program schedule.
Friday, May 24 - Monday, September 2
Extended Visitor Center HoursGreat Sand Dunes will offer extended visitor center hours starting Friday, May 24 through Labor Day weekend. The visitor center will be open daily from 8:30am to 5pm.
Saturday, August 3, 9 am – 1 pm
Junior Ranger DayJunior Ranger Day is an opportunity for kids of all ages to participate in exploratory activities at the South Ramada picnic area, adjacent to the Dunes Parking Area. Participants will have the opportunity to earn prizes after completing a variety of activities. This event is made possible with generous support from Friends of the Dunes and the staff and volunteers of Great Sand Dunes. Free entrance for all visitors this day!
Saturday, August 17, 1:00 pm
Japanese Heritage of the San Luis ValleyLifelong valley resident and historian Bessie Konishi will share photos and stories of the thousands of Japanese Americans who settled in this valley beginning in the early 20th century.
Saturday, September 7, 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Great Sand Dunes Astronomy NightJoin park staff and other astronomers for an evening of viewing objects in the night sky. In honor of the 50th anniversary of NASA's first Apollo mission to the surface of the moon, this year's event takes place during a 2/3 full moon for optimum lunar crater viewing. More details will be posted as they are confirmed.
Saturday, October 5
Dance and music duo Erica Prather and Kevin Larkin will create an opportunity for visitors to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve on October 5, 2019. Their concept “Micro Motus and Musicorum” - tiny movement and music - will engage park visitors to experience the park by exploring concepts that relate to both forms of artistic expression.
What aspects of the sand dunes ecosystem might we miss in our pursuit to climb them? How do you move differently on sand? What does sand sound like? What wildlife, large or small, can be found at the park? How do they move? What sounds do they make? Visitors will make shakers out of sand, imitate animal movements, and explore the unique landscape through creativity.
Last updated: April 12, 2019