Register to tour 'behind the fence' at Manhattan Project National Historical Park

July 26, 2023

Jeremy Brunette tells park visitors about Pond Cabin, a tiny cabin that made a big impact on the Manhattan Project.

"Behind the fence" tours of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Los Alamos, New Mexico, will take place on Oct. 18, 19 and 20. Registration for the free tours will begin Aug. 1 at 11 a.m. MDT and is on a first-come, first-served basis.

These exclusive, four-hour tours take participants "behind the fence" at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Step inside the original Pond Cabin, where physicist Emilio Segre’s team made the pivotal discovery that the Thin Man plutonium bomb design would not work. Descend into a bunker where experiments helped determine whether the Trinity nuclear test would succeed. See the Slotin Building, where a fatal criticality accident transformed the safety culture of Los Alamos National Laboratory.  Hear from a National Park Service ranger about what life was like in a secret city.

New to the tours is a full-size re-creation of the equipment used in the Lab’s battleship bunkers. Using period-specific pieces sourced from Army surplus stores, eBay and local estate sales, the team behind the Manhattan Project National Historical Park recreated a full equipment panel as it would have looked during Manhattan Project experiments.

Phil Tubesing explains some of the experiments that were recorded using the equipment inside of Battleship bunker.

Members of the public may register for the tours starting Aug. 1. Tour participants must be at least 18 years of age, U.S. citizens and able to provide proof of citizenship (such as a U.S. passport, birth certificate, or other document as listed on the event registration page) at tour check-in. As an active national security laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory has other entry requirements for visitors; these will be explained during the registration process. These tours are not open to Laboratory employees.

These tours complement the 2023 Trinity Site Open House scheduled for Oct. 21.

Future tour opportunities, as well as ongoing park updates, will be posted here. The tours are hosted by the Laboratory in collaboration with the Los Alamos Field Office of the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and the National Park Service.

Visit MAPR@LANL, the National Park Service’s Manhattan Project National Historical Park website and the Los Alamos History Museum for more information on the park.