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“Astronomy Fans Will Love This”

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
Reviewed 2 October 2015

Kitt Peak National Observatory is on a sky island south of Tucson about 35 miles. Take the tour that is offered it will give you a lot of insight on what is being done here and you also will be able to get inside of the telescopes. The tours vary. We had one to the 4 meter scope but I have also taken one to the solar scope. A picnic area is available and will give you some nice photographic opportunities. Great for children to see.

Date of experience: September 2015
Thank Mike H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (370)
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"solar telescope"
in 40 reviews
"night program"
in 22 reviews
"night tour"
in 20 reviews
"star chart"
in 15 reviews
"visitor center"
in 37 reviews
"naked eye"
in 20 reviews
"light pollution"
in 14 reviews
"new moon"
in 8 reviews
"night viewing"
in 10 reviews
in 10 reviews
"mountain top"
in 12 reviews
"turkey sandwich"
in 7 reviews
"gift shop"
in 30 reviews
"large telescopes"
in 7 reviews
"dark matter"
in 4 reviews
"andromeda galaxy"
in 8 reviews
"guided tour"
in 23 reviews

152 - 156 of 372 reviews

Reviewed 21 September 2015

My son and I were traveling from SC to Cali so of course this was on the way...Were originally going to do private tour but due to PM on telescopes did two of the group tours instead. It is out of the way, and make sure you got the horsepower to get up to site, the last few miles arent for faint of heart. Was small group for our ten less then ten so was very personal and all questions are welcome. Glad we did it, not a full day effort but worthy of a few hours if you have a star gazers in family.

Date of experience: August 2015
1  Thank Vic S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 September 2015 via mobile

So unfortunately it was a cloudy night and we weren't able to use the telescopes or binoculars. So here's what we got to do: walk up to a high point and watch the sunset. This was beautiful and we were able to capture some great photos. Then we went back to the visitor center and the group split in half. Half stayed there and the guide remotely accessed his telescope in Colorado and showed us how he takes pictures of nebulas and galaxies. The other half walked up to one of the telescopes and was able to get a behind the scene tour and talk to the people who run the telescope. Normally people don't get to go in there. So that was pretty cool to see. Then the groups switched so you did get to do both. We want to go back when it is not cloudy so we can actually use the telescopes ourselves. The guide said the best time to go is in April or May where there is little chance of rain. Also, go a few days before or after a new moon. That is when he said would be the best viewing. For dinner, they gave you a turkey sandwich on a croissant, a bag of potato chips, a granola bar, a cookie, and a bottle of water.

Date of experience: September 2015
3  Thank Amy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 August 2015

The Kitt Peak National Observatory is a great trip if science is your thing. The Observatory is a bit of a drive from Tucson, but worth the trip.
We took the guided tour during the week and had a personal docent.
She explained how the different telescopes work (there are a bunch on the mountain top). She took my grandson through several of the exhibits in the museum that demonstrate the astronomical techniques and how the telescopes are built.
We visited one of the large telescopes to see how it operates. This was during the day, so there was no actual observation in progress.
There are night time tours as well that allow visitors to experience actual observation.
Should you visit during the winter months, dress warmly. The altitude and wind make for a very cold trip.

Date of experience: August 2015
2  Thank Dick B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 August 2015

My family and I visited Kitt Peak and attended the four hour Nightly Observing Progrma and experienced a fantastic evening under the stars. We learned about the observatory, the how-tos of star viewing, and actually got to peer through several different, huge telescopes. We were amazed to be viewing galaxies that were 200,000 years old. This is such a spectacular experience, Kitt Peak is located on a sacred mountain on the Tohono O'odham Nation's tribal lands. The drive up the peak is gorgeous. We got to see the sun set over this amazing land. The wilderness with all its critters, abound. When night falls, the observatory maintains a very dark environment. Coming down the mountain, in a caravan of cars without lights headlights on, in the pitch black, is a crazy wonderful experience.

Date of experience: April 2015
2  Thank drdmromeo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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