Begin your visit of White Sands National Monument in the historic visitor center. The visitor center is an excellent example of Spanish pueblo-adobe ("Pueblo-Revival") architecture constructed on site from 1936 to 1938 using readily available local materials. The visitor center is where you can obtain information on our daily programs;browse the bookstore and gift shop;wander through the native plant garden;explore the interactive museum;and be mesmerized by the sites in our award winning, orientation film A Land in Motion.
The visitor center and gift shop are open 364 days a year, closing only on Christmas Day. Hours of operation vary by season. Fill up your water containers at the visitor center area of the monument. There is no water available in the dunefield. Restroom facilities and two shaded picnic tables are also located in the visitor center area.
White Sands Trading Company gift shop offers a wide variety of snacks, sandwiches, and drinks, as well as an array of souvenirs. The park store managed by Western National Parks Association also offers a wide selection of educational souvenirs, including puppets, DVDs, and books.
The nearest restaurants and gas stations to the monument are located in the town of Alamogordo, 13 miles northeast of the monument on Highway 70.
You are welcome to bring pets to the monument. Animals are not permitted in the visitor center or gift shop, with the exception of service animals. Do not leave pets unattended or locked in your vehicle. Please use the pet waste stations located on the western side of the visitor center parking lot and west side of gift shop parking lot.
Do you have a specific question or interest? If so, stop by the information desk. Park rangers will provide park information; brochures on your specific interests; Junior Ranger books; check out adventure packs; hiking information; and provide details on ranger programs, such as guided hikes, talks, and activities offered throughout the year.
Begin your exploration of White Sands National Monument in the museum.The interactive exhibits and computer touch screen will guide you through the intriguing geologic wonder that is the largest gypsum dunefield in the world, from its paleontological past, its rich cultural history, diverse ecology, and the latest scientific discoveries. The exhibits are available in English and Spanish.
Native Plant Garden
Learn about the native plants of the Chihuahuan desert by taking a walking tour of the native plant garden in front of the visitor center. At the visitor center information desk, ask for a copy of native plant garden guide book and check out the audio tour to enhance your walk through the garden.
A Land in Motion captures the brilliant beauty of this ever-shifting landscape and takes you on a journey through the processes that produced this natural marvel. Experience the awe and wonder of the world's largest gypsum dunefield as the film reveals stories of the plants, animals, and people who have carved out a niche in this enchanted land hidden away in southern New Mexico. In May 2012, A Land in Motion won the prestigious Best of Government Agencies Merit Award for Cinematography.
A Land in Motion is 17-minutes long and plays on the hour and half hour in the theater, which is located inside the visitor center. The film is available in English and Spanish.
Historic Visitor Center
The interior of the visitor center presents various examples of artistry in construction and furnishings, such as decoratively carved corbels, benches and chairs, and individually crafted tin lighting fixtures.In 1990, the visitor center and adjacent seven buildings, also built between 1936 and 1940, were officially designated as the White Sands National Monument Historic District. Set in a landscape of native plants, the historic district preserves this unique architectural style and is a tribute to the plans of the architects and the fine artisanship of the WPA workers.