Even a manufactured town such as Los Alamos  has a history. See what the area was like pre–Manhattan Project at this fascinating museum (1921 Juniper St., 505/662-4493, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat. and 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun., free), set in an old building of the Los Alamos Ranch School, the boys’ camp that got the boot when the army moved in.
The exhibits cover everything from relics of the early Tewa-speaking people up to juicy details on the social intrigue during the development of “the gadget,” as the A-bomb was known.
Afterward, pick up a flyer for a self-guided walking tour around the old school grounds and the lab site to see how bare-bones dorms meant for toughening up teens in the winter got turned into barely more luxurious apartments for the country’s top physicists.
In front of the museum is historic Fuller Lodge, originally the Ranch School’s dining room and kitchen. It was built by John Gaw Meem, who handpicked the vertical logs that form the walls and designed the cowboy-silhouette light fixtures. It houses the Los Alamos Art Center (10 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Sat.).
The museum is just west of the main street, Central Avenue—you’ll see Fuller Lodge on Central, with the museum set back behind it. During the winter, it opens half an hour later and closes half an hour earlier Tuesday through Saturday; it’s open from 1 till 4 p.m. on Sundays.