Owing to their superior mechanical and thermal properties, carbon nanotube (CNT) reinforced composite materials have wide range of applications in various technical areas such as aerospace, automobile, chemical, structural and energy. In this paper, the nonlinear axisymmetric dynamic behavior of sandwich spherical and conical shells made up of CNT reinforced facesheets is studied. The shell is subjected to thermal loads and discretized with three-noded axisymmetric curved shell element based on field consistency approach. The in-plane and the rotary inertia effects are included within the transverse shear deformation theory in the element formulation. The present model is validated with the available analytical solutions from the literature. A detailed parametric study is carried out to showcase the effects of the shell geometry, the volume fraction of the CNT, the core-to-face sheet thickness and the environment temperature on the dynamic buckling thermal load of spherical caps. © 2017 World Scientific Publishing Company.