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Palomar Observatory

35899 Canfield Road, Palomar Mountain, CA 92060
+1 760-742-2119
Website
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Review Highlights
An Important Place in Astronomy

If you thought that the Hubble telescope made ground-based observatories obsolete, you're in for a... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Gary G
,
Newark, Delaware
Educational and something different

Informative excursion. There is a picnic area at the top of the mountain so pack a lunch. The... read more

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
sherri p
,
Houston, Texas
Read all 115 reviews
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Palomar Observatory, located atop Palomar Mountain in north San Diego County, California, is a center of astronomical research owned and operated by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The Observatory is home to three active research telescopes: the 200-inch (5.1-meter) Hale Telescope, the 48-inch (1.2-meter) Samuel Oschin Telescope, and the 60-inch (1.5-meter) telescope. The research is conducted by Caltech faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and students, as well as by researchers at collaborating institutions. Conceived of almost a hundred years ago, Palomar Observatory has been at the forefront of astronomical research since mid-century. Today, the observatory operates every clear night and is an iconic facility for scientific advancement, instrument development, and student training. The Observatory is a popular destination in Southern California and receives tens of thousands of visitors a year from all over the world. Most come to see the famous 200-inch (5.1-meter) Hale Telescope-for decades the largest effective telescope in operation. Whether you are an astronomy, history, or engineering enthusiast, or simply curious about the Observatory, you will enjoy visiting our museum and taking one of our guided tours of the facility. All are welcome at the Palomar, but we ask that all visitors respect our rules and procedures. Public, guided tours of the 200-inch (5.1-meter) Hale Telescope are available to visitors on the weekends (Saturday and Sunday, start times are 11:00 am and 1:30 pm) spring through fall-typically from the first weekend in April to the last weekend October. The tours are roughly one hour long, and limited-availalbility tickets (sold exclusively on a day-of and first-come, first served basis) are required. Please plan accordingly.
  • Excellent50%
  • Very good42%
  • Average6%
  • Poor2%
  • Terrible0%
Travellers talk about
“guided tour” (17 reviews)
“gift shop” (16 reviews)
Open Now
All hours
Hours Today: 09:00 - 15:00
Suggested Duration: 1-2 hours
LOCATION
35899 Canfield Road, Palomar Mountain, CA 92060
CONTACT
Website
+1 760-742-2119
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Reviews (115)
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1 - 10 of 110 reviews

Reviewed 1 week ago

If you thought that the Hubble telescope made ground-based observatories obsolete, you're in for a surprise! This historic observatory, whose 200-inch telescope was once the world's most powerful, is operated by Caltech and still in daily (actually, nightly) use. The visitor's center has excellent exhibits...More

Thank Gary G
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Informative excursion. There is a picnic area at the top of the mountain so pack a lunch. The telescope is impressive. Be aware though, you don't get anywhere near it really. You look at it through glass windows and read panels. The museum/information/guest shop building...More

Thank sherri p
Reviewed 3 June 2017

The Palomar Observatory is definitely one of those interesting places you want to visit whether its a quick day trip or something you tack onto a bigger trip. You must drive up the windy road of Palomar Mountain to reach it but the drive is...More

1  Thank Allons-y2016
Reviewed 21 May 2017

it is a nice adventure, for most people, but if you can't climb many stairs it's not for you. There is a little shop to visit, good place for a walk around.

Thank 296pat
Reviewed 1 May 2017 via mobile

This is a unique place. Our guide Marianne was very friendly and knowledgeable. The observatory is located at the end of a steep winding road, what makes the place even more special. The low temperatures inside may cause some inconvenience to young visitors.

Thank Eitan R
Reviewed 23 April 2017

This is a neat place to visit. It does take considerable driving on mountain roads, but it is worth the effort. It has a very interesting and informative visitor center as well as the observatory itself. There was a docent at the observatory who was...More

1  Thank jmbakulich
Reviewed 13 March 2017

With WWII, the atomic program, the space program, mapping the human genome and other large, often international scientific programs it is easy to forget how special, how challenging and how valuable the building of the Palomar Observatory was ... and how it contributes today. A...More

Thank NedMorgan
Reviewed 24 February 2017 via mobile

If you're a stargazer you will enjoy this. Definitely fill up the gas tank in Pala before going up. I started up with a half tank and sweated it the whole way down. Also it's cold at 5000+ft so take a coat.

2  Thank Tim A
Reviewed 16 January 2017

it is a beautiful drive up. When you arrive it is just breathtaking. The observatory is historic and very informative exhibition in the visitors' center. The only disappointment was that there was a very loud family and they ate and yelled up in the telescope...More

2  Thank chubchub2013
Reviewed 8 December 2016

My husband the engineer was particularly interested in visiting the Palomar Observatory. There is no entry fee. We enjoyed looking at the telescope, etc. through the window. When we were there a group went inside the room, apparently for some kind of special tour. When...More

Thank GreenUnicorn
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Questions & Answers
tomladuke
29 April 2017|
Answer
Response from Palomar O | Property representative |
Dear tomladuke, So sorry for the late reply (we rarely monitor Tripadvisor). Kindly check our website (sorry, cannot include URLs here) and under About->Contact almost at the bottom there is an email address that starts... More
0
Votes
Virginia R
12 February 2017|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from Palomar O | Property representative |
To our knowledge, there are no major closures scheduled by the observatory (when we do, we post those on our website). However, the state is planning to begin roadwork on route 76 and Valley Center Road, which may affect... More
0
Votes
Virginia R
12 February 2017|
Answer
Response from Palomar O | Property representative |
To our knowledge, there are no major closures scheduled by the observatory. However, the state is planning to begin roadwork on route 76 and Valley Center Road, which may affect travel to the observatory site.
0
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