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“Wow! A must if you have the time.”

Kitt Peak National Observatory
Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Sells
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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
Elizabethtown, Kentucky
Level Contributor
176 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
“Wow! A must if you have the time.”
Reviewed 26 December 2013

We did the half night tour and it is amazing. The guide was very informative and the program is great. We were picked to be in a group of 14 that spent time in a small room that the roof opened up to revel the stars above. We also had access to a small telescope from which we say distant galleries as well as five moons of Jupiter along with a crescent shaped Venus. We were also given binoculars to see other things while waiting to see through the telescope. If you have the time you want to do the night program that starts a 4:15pm and ends around 9pm it is money well spent.

Visited December 2013
Thank TravelerGEO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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317 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
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English first
Manalapan, New Jersey
Level Contributor
62 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Great experience and very educational”
Reviewed 12 December 2013

I took the paid docent-led guided tour of the facility before venturing off to check out other parts of the grounds. If you choose to not follow the guide, access to the site is free. This facility has some amazing history and very interesting current uses. It not only offers astronomers amazing views of the heavens, but it offers all vast and unsurpassed views of the surrounding landscapes.

Visited October 2013
1 Thank JetsetAlex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pearland, Texas
Level Contributor
145 reviews
66 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 November 2013

Start off with a guided tour to get the history of the observatory and the who, what and whys of the facilities. Then take a self guided tour to the various telescopes that are massive, actively working and manned by on site astronomers doing research. Astronomers and other technical personnel stay in dorms on the premises and can be observed setting up research. You will have to walk from one telescope to the other, but golf carts are available for those that are struggling with the 6,000 ft. altitude or inclined terrain. We only did the day tour. Take a hat for the sun and jacket for the wind and cooler temperatures. Beautiful views. This is a national observatory with the largest collection of astronomical telescopes in the world. This is a great family scientific excursion for the older children.

Visited November 2013
4 Thank 17NancyS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Marana, Arizona
Level Contributor
214 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 136 helpful votes
“Offers an amazing and memorable experience”
Reviewed 27 November 2013

We went on an evening group tour.

It was exceptionally well done and a truly amazing overall experience. Kitt Peak has more telescopes on site than any other place in the world.

It offers a wonderful opportunity to learn more about astronomy, about planets and stars, and about the universe.

During the evening tour you have a chance to observe the moon, stars, and galaxies through a good sized telescope and to learn to use night vision binoculars to view constellations. You also have a chance to observe a sunset and to see a good chunk of Arizona at night from an exceptional vantage point.

The drive up to the peak and the drive back down from it are exceptionally scenic with any number of dramatic vistas.

There is a relatively small gift shop which includes a section on the crafts of the local Indian tribe, the Tohono O'odham on whose reservation the observatory is located, as well as a number of books and items associated with astronomy

Visited November 2013
Thank Fredonian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
16 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Educational and scenic”
Reviewed 14 November 2013

We went there during Veterans Day weekend. It's not difficult to find, signs are posted on your way so you always know you are going the right way. It's a beautiful 12 mile drive up to the peak. It is twisty climb, so those who have weak stomachs may need some dramamine. Plenty of parking is available. It is cooler there than in Tucson, so you may need a light jacket depending on the time of year you go. Wear comfortable shoes. Do make sure you have plenty of drinking water because there is quite a bit of walking.
They have an informative museum area, with a couple of interactive displays. We did one of the paid tours. The docent was knowledgeable about Kitt Peak and telescopes in general. We liked the fact that you could go into certain telescopes and check them out on your own. They have plenty of areas for picnics if you bring your own lunch. They don't sell meals or a whole lot of food, so bring your own.
We enjoyed the time we spent there and would highly recommend it!

Visited November 2013
2 Thank AHWS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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