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NASA flying saucer test vehicle.

White Sands Rocket Garden and Museum

Field review by the editors.

White Sands, New Mexico

A garden of delights, for fans of ballistic weaponry. The White Sands Missile Park covers a full acre with dozens of rockets and missiles, most of them pointed skyward as if ready for blast-off. There are target drones and supersonic anti-aircraft interceptors, tactical battlefield bombs and nuclear city-blasters. The mobile "Scud Buster" Patriot missile launcher has stenciled on its side, "If It Flies, It Dies."

White Sands Rocket Garden.
White Sands Rocket Garden.

Oddities abound, such as the World War II Lark, a kamikaze-killer; and the Loon, America's version of the Nazi V-1. There's a flying saucer test vehicle used by NASA to practice soft landings on Mars, and a Fat Man H-bomb.

White Sands is a working military facility with tight security. Using hidden, classified monitoring technology, the guards at the gate somehow knew we had a video camera before we'd even arrived. Video is verboten in the Garden, and you can only take still photos if you shoot in the direction of the western mountains.

White Sands Rocket Garden and Museum

White Sands Missile Range Museum

Headquarters Ave., White Sands, NM
White Sands Missile Range Museum. From I-25 in Las Cruces drive east on US 70 for about 19 miles. Watch for the brown "Museum Missile Park" sign and exit right. Drive south about four miles to the Main Gate. Park at the visitor center, show ID (divers license, registration, insurance). The museum and rocket park are just inside the gate, on the left.
Park is open dawn-dusk; Museum Tu-Th 8-4, Sa 10-3 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Nike Missile Rest StopNike Missile Rest Stop, White Sands, NM - 6 mi.
Space Murals MuseumSpace Murals Museum, Organ, NM - 8 mi.
Big Daddy - Armless Muffler ManBig Daddy - Armless Muffler Man, Las Cruces, NM - 13 mi.
In the region:
Sierra de Cristo Rey, Christ of the Rockies, Sunland Park, NM - 41 mi.

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