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“Amazing and full of surprises”

Kitt Peak National Observatory
Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Sells
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Located 56 miles southwest of Tucson on the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation, the observatory is a working research station situated high above on Kitt Peak.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
vancouver, wa
Level Contributor
83 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
“Amazing and full of surprises”
Reviewed 29 December 2011

We decided to take a trip up here to do the solar telescope tour at 10 am. They are open everyday except 3 holidays. They give 1 hour tours of this telescope and 2 stellar telescopes at 11:30 and 1:30. We went Dec. 27 and it was 36 in tucson and 53 up on the peak. The weather was perfect, no wind. I didn't realize there were so many telescopes up there. Our tour guide was great. It's on an indian reservation and he gave us some history about that and my boys are 7 & 11 and did enjoy it. Unfortunately, the solar telescope was not operating but we still got to see inside of it. You can also do a walking tour of all 3 telescopes on your own. The 4 m. has a fantastic 360 degree view. The walk is a little steep and then an elevator takes you up to the viewing platform. We had snow up there but it was off on the sides of the road. Also, there is a great picnic area a couple miles back down that has a radio telescope with some info about it. Really a great trip!

Visited December 2011
3 Thank sarabeara
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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319 reviews from our community

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Santa Fe, New Mexico
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“The 1:30 Mayall 4-m Telescope Guided Tour - No Star Gazing Here!”
Reviewed 29 December 2011

Unless you're a serious astronomy buff, you'll be greatly disappointed with this guided tour. My family (two other adults) and I were part of a larger group who spent a small fee ($7.95) to listen to a docent give the basics on how a telescope works, then go on a 1/2 mile walk uphill to view the Mayall Telescope. When one of the little kids in the group asked the docent if we were going to "see some stars today," the docent said that no one actually looks through the telescope anymore, and mentioned that the scientists and the astronomers view the images from the telescope on their computer screens only...a fact never mentioned on the website or by anyone prior to the tour. It would be safe to say that 95% of the people on this tour, including my family, thought we'd be able to look through the telescope in some fashion. The telescope itself is very impressive - massive in size and complexity. But both children and adults in our group grew weary during the continued talk, as we were all standing the entire time (there isn't any place to sit), while viewing the telescope from behind a large plexiglass wall. The pluses: the view from the Visitor Gallery is breathtaking, as you have a 360 degree view of the surrounding Arizona landscape prior to walking in to view the telescope, as is the telescope itself. But save your money and go on the free, self-guided walking tour instead, especially if you have little ones or elderly folks in your group - doing so provides you with the ability to not only gauge your time and interests, but you can also walk to ALL of the telescope locations on the observatory property in the time that it takes to participate in just this one guided tour, which lasted well over 2 hours.

Visited December 2011
10 Thank crazycowgirl33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kolkata (Calcutta), India
Level Contributor
95 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“gave me a feel like the sky is so vast.”
Reviewed 22 December 2011

I admired all the scientific stuff and it was a beautiful sunny day that added a lot of charm to the long walks I had there at that height.Just staring out at the vast land from the view point is great.

Visited January 2011
1 Thank FannyIllinois
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
24 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Go (run!) to see the Kitt Peak”
Reviewed 17 December 2011

I took the night tour. It was excellent! I enjoyed the sights that are not seen from a city, and also the technical part was very interesting (the tour among the telescopes).

Visited May 2011
4 Thank Yaron_S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blaine, Washington
Level Contributor
287 reviews
63 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
“A "DON'T MISS" place to visit in Tucson”
Reviewed 28 November 2011

what an outstanding place to visit - both for adults and children.. you arrive before sunset to see the magnificent vistas, then continue with a light meal (included in the price) you have a chance to see through different telescopes and learn to read a star chart. our grandson was talking about Saturn and nebulae for days!

the gift shop has some beautiful pottery and jewellery at excellent prices.

Dress VERY warmly as it can be really chilly outside.

Visited November 2011
3 Thank Torquay102010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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