Acceptable ID for NOAA Open House
Visitors to the NOAA Silver Spring Campus who are U.S. citizens must present a U.S. photo ID, such as a current state driver's license. Foreign Nationals must present a valid passport or a permanent resident ID ("green card"). All IDs must be originals only -- no photocopies accepted.
Other accepted forms of ID include:
Explore your world and learn how NOAA—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—takes the pulse of the planet every day and protects and manages ocean and coastal resources. Join us on NOAA’s Silver Spring, Maryland, campus for a series of free activities, including engaging guest presentations, interactive exhibits, and hands-on activities for ages 5 and up. Meet and talk with scientists, weather forecasters, hurricane hunter pilots, and others, who work to understand our environment, protect life and property, and conserve and protect natural resources. Early birds can also take a tour of the NOAA National Weather Service’s Operations Center and NOAA Exploration Command Center. Please join us the following week, beginning Tuesday, February 9, 2016 for a series of free lunchtime presentations at the Gateway to NOAA exhibit on a variety of timely topics. Click here for more information.
Get your “Passport to Science” and start your NOAA Open House journey at 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Look for the statue of “the Hand” and enter through the revolving doors. Registration desk open February 6 from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. NOAA Open House events take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
What to See and Do
Gateway to NOAA Exhibit
This free permanent exhibit highlights how NOAA takes the pulse of the planet every day and protects and manages ocean and coastal resources.
Special Gateway to NOAA Presentation
3:00 p.m. – Guest speaker: Author and illustrator Taylor Morrison shares his secrets of success in creating young adults' books about science and technology. Join Taylor’s creative journey from concept to publishing – and win a copy of his book The Coast Mappers!.
NOAA Science Center
Hands-on activities for ages 5 and up. Meet and talk with scientists, weather forecasters, hurricane hunter pilots, and others, who work to understand our environment, protect life and property, and conserve and protect natural resources.
Please note: Photo ID required for adults. Personal belongings subject to inspection.
Activities in the NOAA Science Center include:
Squid Interactive – Learn about squid from a NOAA scientist and NOAA Teacher at Sea and then make one of your own!
Brass Brains – Before electronic computers, the calculation of tide predictions was made by a mechanical machine made of steel and brass, known as “Brass Brains.” This machine was used to calculate tides from the early 1900s until the 1960s! Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the machine and see a demonstration of how it works.
Build a Buoy – Join NOAA in this hands-on activity where children and adults can design, build and test their very own buoy, all while learning how NOAA uses buoys to study oceans and estuaries.
Your Nose Knows! – A hands-on, nose-on table demonstration of how NOAA Fisheries inspectors check seafood quality. Put your nose to the test to see if you can tell “What’s that smell?!”
The Nation’s Nautical Chartmaker – Before digital images and “printing on demand,” nautical charts were hand-engraved on copper plates and reproduced on single printing presses. Meet Taylor Morrison, artist and author of The Chart Makers, as he illustrates an actual historic printing press, historic copper plate engraving, and printed charts produced by 19th century chartmakers: the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, a NOAA predecessor agency. Enter a drawing for a free copy of Taylor's book!
Ocean Acidification – Decades of ocean observations show that carbon dioxide absorbed by the ocean is changing the chemistry of the seawater, a process called ocean acidification. Learn how this change in the ocean’s chemistry will affect life in the ocean and those who depend on it.
Ocean Exploration Command Center– Want to explore a mysterious shipwreck or see an example of an animal different from all other life we thought existed on Earth? Visit NOAA's Ocean Exploration Command Center where you'll learn how scientists ashore are connected live to ocean exploration missions in distant and remote parts of the world. You'll also learn how to see live video from the seafloor on your own computer as ocean exploration missions unfold. It’s all in the Exploration Command Center!
Be a Backyard Meteorologist! – In order to predict the weather, we first need to observe the weather. Come learn about the different tools the NWS meteorologists use to observe and predict the weather including weather balloons, rain gauges, anemometers, and thermometers and learn how your backyard weather data can help meteorologists forecast the weather.
Hello Owlie! – Meet lovable hoot, Owlie Skywarn, the National Weather Service mascot!
Meet Sanctuary Sam – Don’t miss this chance to meet Sanctuary Sam, the National Marine Sanctuaries Spokes-Sea Lion, and use your creative side to decorate a construction paper whale hat that you can take with you!
Wind Blown –Step into a hurricane-simulator booth to experience the power of winds up to 75 mph!
Who's That Whale? - How do researchers tell one whale from another? Identifying individuals is important for many research questions, so a reliable id system is a great asset. Come try your hand at one way scientists have to keep tabs on who's who.
Let's Go To Sea! – Come aboard our ship simulator and try your hand at navigating a NOAA ship with the help of officers with the NOAA Corps, who command NOAA's research and survey vessels. Plot the ship's position on nautical charts and steer your way through a busy shipping channel. Full steam ahead!
How Long Until It's Gone?– How long do you think it takes for trash to break down in the ocean? Come test your knowledge.
Scavenger Hunt – Visit Gateway to NOAA and challenge yourself with a scavenger hunt! How many questions can you answer about NOAA by exploring the exhibits at Gateway? Give it a try – you never know what you’ll learn!
NOAA Art Walk
See original works by Wyland, nationally syndicated cartoonists Jim Toomey (Sherman’s Lagoon) and Jack Elrod (Mark Trail), and other artists who make science and nature come alive through their creative talents.
Please note: Self-guided. Stops on the Art Walk are both indoors and outdoors. Photo ID required for some indoor stops.
*See Earth in a way you have never seen it before!
Science On a Sphere® (SOS) is a room-sized, global display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six-foot diameter sphere. Imagine a giant animated globe with a fascinating visual display of all types of data that helps illustrate Earth science.
Please note: A limited number of tickets for this activity will be available on site on a first-come, first-served basis. Ages 7 and up. Photo ID required for adults. Personal belongings subject to inspection.
*Visit NOAA’s National Weather Service Operations Center
Learn first-hand what NOAA’s National Weather Service does during high-impact events and what they are doing to build a Weather-Ready Nation.
Please note: A limited number of tickets for this activity will be available on site on a first-come, first-served basis. Ages 7 and up. Photo ID required for adults. No bags, backpacks or ice chests allowed, with the exception of small purses, and tote bags. Personal belongings subject to inspection.
Please join us in the NOAA Auditorium for a series of free video presentations (all day) and the following special talks.
Please note: Sign language interpreter available. Photo ID required for adults. Personal belongings subject to inspection. No food or beverages permitted.
10 a.m. and 1 p.m. - Meet NOAA’s Own Mascots – Owlie Skywarn and Sanctuary Sam!
Bring the family and join us to learn about weather and water with NOAA’s mascots! Play along during a fun, fast-paced game with the National Weather Service’s Owlie Skywarn and NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuary’s Sanctuary Sam. Don’t forget to bring your cameras to get your picture taken with your favorite NOAA heroes after the game!
11:30 a.m. - Hurricane Hunter!
Learn from NOAA Hurricane Hunter pilot and NOAA Corps officer Commander Catherine Martin what it’s like to fly into the eye of a hurricane to gather data essential to storm forecasting and research!
2:30 p.m. – So Ends This Day: The Life and Times of the USS Monitor from 1961 to Today
Created to protect the shipwreck of the famed Civil War ironclad, USS Monitor, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary was designated our nation's first national marine sanctuary by NOAA in 1975. Anna Holloway, Ph.D., National Park Service maritime historian, discusses how artifacts from the ship have inspired the American imagination over the last 155 years.
Directions and Parking
For directions to the NOAA Open House and parking options, click here.
For your safety, the following items are prohibited at NOAA facilities: weapons, explosives, incendiary devices, dangerous instruments, alcohol, illegal drugs, and pets (except guide dogs). Adults, please bring photo ID. Please see event listings above for other security requirements.
Inclement Weather Policy
NOAA follows the federal government’s operating status. To find out if the federal government is open or closed due to snow or other severe weather, click here.
Food will not available at NOAA Open House events. However, there are a number of dining options nearby.
NOAA Heritage Week Contact Information
For the latest information about the NOAA Open House and other NOAA Heritage Week events, check this website fand follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gatewaytonoaa for updates. Questions about the NOAA Open House may be emailed to GatewaytoNOAA@noaa.gov or call 240-533-0710.