The Los Alamos Nature Center has received the Top HAT Award for Outstanding Attraction from the New Mexico Hospitality Association. PEEC Educator Sandra West, right, accepted the award for PEEC. Courtesy/NMHA
The Los Alamos Nature Center has received the 2018 Top HAT Award for Outstanding Attraction from the New Mexico Hospitality Association.
This statewide award was presented to the nature center Nov. 8 at the Hospitality Association’s annual Top HAT Awards Gala. Top HAT Awards celebrate organizations, businesses, individuals, venues and more that have performed exceptional work to elevate the travel, tourism and lodging industry in New Mexico.
Since its opening on Earth Day 2015, the nature center has become known around the state, country and beyond as a must-see attraction for visitors to Northern New Mexico. The center serves more than 40,000 people annually through its exhibits and gardens, programs, events, school field trips and more.
The nature center is operated by the non-profit organization the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC).
“The Los Alamos Nature Center demonstrated it has a truly international appeal with visitors from an estimated 34 different countries visiting the center over the past year. The center also takes a collaborative approach to creating a great visitor experience, which helps boost tourism for the entire region,” the New Mexico Hospitality Association said in a statement to the nature center.
PEEC was previously the finalist for a Top HAT Award in 2016 for its popular program the Passport to the Pajarito Plateau. Additionally, PEEC was awarded the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Environmental Education in 2016 and won the Non-Profit of the Year award from the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce in 2017 and 2018. This year, PEEC was also the inaugural winner of the “Family Friendly Business of the Year” award at the Los Alamos Chamber Awards.
The Los Alamos Nature Center is free to visit and offers a variety of free or low-cost talks, planetarium shows, hikes and other outings for all ages. PEEC’s work is made possible by the support of the Los Alamos community and an incredible group of volunteers. Approximately 10 percent of Los Alamos residents are PEEC members and over 150 people volunteer at the nature center, logging over 10,000 hours of their time annually.
PEEC was formed in 2000 by a group of passionate citizens that had the goal of bringing a nature center to Los Alamos. PEEC’s mission is “enriching people’s lives by strengthening their connections to our canyons, mesas, mountains and skies.” To learn more about the Los Alamos Nature Center at 2600 Canyon Road, visit losalamosnature.org, call 505.662.0460 or stop by.