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Volunteer Opportunity

High School students looking for community service hours? Sign up to volunteer for the NOAA Open House and earn 8 SSL hours.

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:

  • Passport
  • Passport card
  • DOD CAC card
  • Federal Agency HSPD-12 IDs
  • Veterans ID
  • Military ID
  • Military Dependents ID
  • Trusted Traveler card - Global Entry, SENTRI, or NEXUS
  • Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC)

NOAA Open House

Saturday, February 10, 2018
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Located near Silver Spring Metro Station
Click here for a map of the campus
Public parking available
Free and open to the public
Note: A government-issued photo ID is required for adults.

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 beginning Tuesday, February 6, 2018 for a series of free lunchtime presentations at the Gateway to NOAA exhibit on a variety of timely topics.


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 10 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

Build a Boat – Learn about buoyancy, volume, and more when you design a boat to test how much cargo it can hold without sinking!


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. See 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.


Cloud in a Bottle – We have the recipe for clouds! Come learn how clouds form and make your very own cloud in a bottle. With our recipe and the right ingredients, you can even repeat this activity at home to teach your friends.


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.


Whale Tail Hats – Use your creative side and artistic talents 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!


Safety at Sea - Around the world...around the clock...NOAA proudly stands watch.  As an integral part of worldwide search and rescue, NOAA operates the Search And Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT) System to detect and locate mariners, aviators, and recreational enthusiasts in distress almost anywhere in the world at any time and in almost any condition.  Explore rescues made in the United States this year with an interactive map and handle the different beacons that take the “search” out of search and rescue!


Bundle up, Marine Mammal Style! – The winter weather has probably had you searching for your favorite coat, hat and scarf.  But how do marine mammals keep warm? Feel the benefits of their different adaptations, fat (blubber) or fur, which made them valuable targets for hunters. Learn how laws like the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act now protect them to prevent their extinction.


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!


Simple Child's Play: Bringing Landscape to LifeLet this 3-D dynamic topographic map and sand bring your landscape to life!  Learn how to shape contours, create mountains, rivers, lakes, and underwater topography with the sweep of your hand.  Watch how erosion, elevation changes, and artifacts on the seafloor can impact your landscape.  Come play in the sand while you learn!


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! 

Guest Speakers

Please join us in the NOAA Auditorium for a series of free video presentations (all day) and the following special talks. (Sign language interpreter available. Photo ID required for adults. Personal belongings subject to inspection. No food or beverages permitted.)


11 a.m. – Hurricanes!
The 2017 hurricane season was an extremely active one, producing 17 named storms. Ten of those became hurricanes, including the first two major hurricanes to hit the continental U.S. in 12 years. Learn all about it during this panel discussion featuring a NOAA Hurricane Hunter pilot and forecasting, research, and post-storm response experts.


1:00 p.m. - Take a “Tour” of your national marine sanctuaries! A Virtual Reality ActivityLearn about a new way to explore National Marine Sanctuaries without getting wet, thanks to the wonders of 360-degree photography and virtual reality technology! A virtual dive master will guide participants through several sanctuaries and point out dive spots that illustrate different conservation issues, management considerations, and research projects underway in sanctuaries across the system.

NOTE: Individual devices will not be provided. Those wanting to go on a self-guided virtual dive will need to use their personal smartphone to access the sanctuaries virtual reality website. Depending on your mobile plan, data charges may apply.


3:00 p.m. – Women of the NOAA Corps: Reflections from Sea and Sky – A Documentary
This documentary film reveals the history of women in service with the NOAA Corps – one of the nation's seven uniformed services – through stories of the pioneering women who first served, and those who have followed and proudly serve today. Meet and greet the production crew and some of the participants who will share the inspiration behind this film and discuss its creation.


Check back for more details!


*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.

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 for updates. Questions about the NOAA Open House may be emailed to or call 240-533-0710.