The McDonald House, near Trinity Site, is one of the highlights of the trip to the site. Located two miles South of the site, the old ranch house served as a work shop for Manhattan Project personnel who assembled the plutonium core of the Trinity device in one of the larger rooms. In this photo workers can be seen moving plutonium from their sedan into the house. Visitors to Trinity Site can take a bus from the site to the house, where volunteers tell the story of how the scientists lived and worked at the house.
Trinity Site is a “must see” for anyone who’s visiting New Mexico, or who has simply never been. It’s where the world’s first atomic bomb was detonated and it’s only open to the public on the first Saturdays in October and April.
It’s a 145 mile round trip if you’re joining the Alamogordo caravan, which is escorted by White Sands Missile Range personnel from the Tularosa High School football field. There’s no stopping along the way, unless there’s an emergency.
There’s actually no reason to stop since there are no service stations or other conveniences along the route.
To make things a little easier for visitors, the New Mexico Museum of Space History hosts a motor coach tour to the site twice a year as a fundraiser for its Foundation.
A reception for registered guests is held at the Museum on Friday evening, October 4, featuring a special presentation by Museum Executive Director Chris Orwoll focusing on the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo program.
The reception begins at 6:00 pm on the Museum’s first floor.
Bright and early the next morning, Saturday, October 5, guests arrive in the upper parking lot of the Museum at 6:30 AM, register, grab a pastry and board the coach.
Renowned local historian Pete Eidenbach will accompany guests on the coach, giving an in-depth talk on the bomb and its development, along with unique insight into local history. If there is more than once motor coach making the trip, each will have a docent onboard.
Once on site, guests enjoy a brown bag lunch, visit to the McDonald House and go on a walking tour of Trinity Site. On the way back, Pete’s debriefing is highlighted with a special showing of the movie The Land of Space and Time.
Trinity Site is only open to the public twice each year, on the first Saturday in April and again on the first Saturday in October. White Sands Missile Range hosts the annual events because this national historic site is on the north end of the normally highly restricted range. Special interpretation at the site is provided by Missile Range staff.
All visitors must have government issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license or passport.
Limited advance tickets are on sale now through the museum’s marketing department or online, and include the round trip to Trinity Site, guided tour, brownbag lunch, and guided tour of the museum.
The ticket price for the Friday reception is $35 per person ($30 for Museum members) and for the Saturday tour is $85 per person, or $75 for museum members. The coach is equipped with a restroom. To reserve your tickets or for more information, call 575-437-2840 ext. 41132 or visit the website.
The New Mexico Museum of Space History is a division of the NM Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information, call 575-437-2840 or toll free 1-877-333-6589 or visit the website or ‘like’ the museum’s Facebook page.