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W.M. Keck Observatory

Address: Mauna Kea volcano, Island of Hawaii, HI
Phone Number: 808-881-3827
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Type: Observatories & planetariums, Museums
Attraction details
Type: Observatories & planetariums, Museums
Mon - Fri 7:30 am - 5:00 pm
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14 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Seattle, Washington
Top Contributor
257 reviews 257 reviews
59 attraction reviews
112 helpful votes 112 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2015

The visitor center in Waimea is separate from the mountain top observatory tour. The Visitor Center is an embarrassment to such a prestigious enterprise. I was in and out in five minutes after reading every photo cation and staring at the static displays. Souvenirs were limited to coffee mugs, postcards, and a couple of t-shirts. Clearly some new direction and... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Santa Barbara, California
Top Contributor
252 reviews 252 reviews
39 attraction reviews
119 helpful votes 119 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2014

We are huge astronomy fans and we really wanted to drive to the top to visit the W.M. Keck Observatory telescopes. We rented a 4x4 to be safe and were pleased that we did. At the visitor center at 9000 feet you feel the high altitude. At the top at over 14,000 feet I really was feeling the altitude. Be... More 

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4 reviews 4 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2014

There are numerous signs warning that the road up from the visitors center is dangerous and they recommend that you take a commercial tour mini-bus from that point up. I was skeptical that the warning was just to help the tourism business, but my wife was spooked and opted to wait at the center. I drove up in my rental... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Gans, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
18 attraction reviews
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2014

It was very nice to at least go inside one of the observatories while we were atop Mauna Kea. While you didn't go up to any of the telescopes, you were able to see all the vast equipment inside. And some nice restrooms as well.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Los Angeles, CA
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2014

We weren't able to go to the mountaintop and see the actual mirrors/lenses. But the visitors area in Waimea had amazing photos and the guide there showed us some of the most amazing work the Keck Telescopes did. It is worth 30 minutes to see the awesome science happening in Hawaii

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Denver, Colorado
Top Contributor
228 reviews 228 reviews
56 attraction reviews
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2013

Was not able to drive to the top of Mauna Kea, but visited the Keck Observatory Offices lobby in downtown Waimea which had many displays and gifts and lobby host Liz gave us a complete run down on activities current and past. We were thrilled with all the information. Next time we will get a 4WD for the drive to... More 

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Sandwich, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
9 attraction reviews
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2013

read desp4vacay information regarding the observatory it is very informative. My additional comments are:- the road across to the observatory has been resurfaced so it is in reasonable condition. Make sure you have trainers on your feet as the walk up the hill to see the sunset is not a smooth path - take a torch/flashlight to light your way... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
3 attraction reviews
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

Be sure to have a full tank of gas before you head up to the observatory. There are no places to stop once you start up the mountain. We headed up around 5pm, and went to the observatory. They had a little gift shop there along with an informative video about the hiking and summit and some projects that their... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
17 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2013

As my son said. Its great to see so much money devoted to peaceful science! This is a great and literal window into another universe - in a beautifully rugged and remote place. The public viewing enclosure at the telescope is worth a look. The top of the mountain with its gleaming silver and white domes set against the reds... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
17 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2013

I Believe this is out of everything I have ever done, see on vacation. This is # 1. The space you are in, you feel you are touching the stars. To be that high up and not in airplain, is out of this world. You can touch the clouds, see snow in Hawaii and the darkest black that you would... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1

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Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of W.M. Keck Observatory and other visitors
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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?