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Yerkes Observatory

373 W. Geneva St, Williams Bay, WI 53191
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Type: Observatories/ Planetariums, Landmarks
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Attraction details
Owner description: This 100-year-old observatory, which is owned by the University of Chicago, five research telescopes, one of which is the largest refractor in the world. Free tours for the public are held on Saturdays throughout the year at 10:15 a.m.,11:15 a.m. and noon.

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44 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Nicollet, Minnesota, USA
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
16 attraction reviews
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2014 NEW

We stumbled across the observatory on a frigid day, read the sign that they give tours, $25 a group whether your group is 1 or 5. Since we were cold, curious and standing at the door we said we wanted a tour. What a great place to explore. The guide knew his stuff. He was a bit technical but then... More

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Lake Villa, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2014

Loved looking at all the carvings and could have stayed all day looking at the architecture and the history.

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Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
14 attraction reviews
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2014

Yerkes Observatory is a special spot, especially for us nerds. It houses the largest refractor telescope in the world and, in it's day, was a prime science facility. It is still used for science and continues as a useful instrument. I have taken various granddaughters several times to instill the wonder of science. Yerkes does not disappoint to widen their... More

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Waukesha, Wisconsin
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2014

A jewel on the landscape of Williams Bay above beautiful Geneva Lake in Wisconsin, Yerkes Observatory built in 1895 and completed in 1897 stands frozen in time. A testament to the vision and mind of George Ellery Hale to build the 40 inch refracting telescope, at the time the largest in the world. First exhibited at the 1893 Chicago Worlds... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Des Moines, Iowa
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
32 attraction reviews
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2014

The building is beautiful. To understand the architecture helps understand the science. The free Saturday tour is wonderful. (A $5 per person donation is suggested, and well worth it.). We did that, and also paid for a nightly group viewing session for $30 each. Wow, Dan knows his stuff. We viewed the moon, Saturn, and other celestial objects over several... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
Madison, Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
18 attraction reviews
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2014

Live in Wisconsin more than 25 years but never have a chance to check out this place. Yesterday, a friend invited me to join them for a day trip to William's bay, and I check out this attraction. The tour is good, the architecture is interesting even it was not the best. Recommend to check out the George William college,... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Littleton, Colorado
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
9 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2014

Our son-in-law suggested a day trip to William's Bay and Lake Geneva. He knows I like architecture so recommended that we check out the observatory. Sadly we had missed the last tour, go early if you want a guided tour. However, the very friendly volunteers and staff let us in to look at the main entrance foyer and gave us... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Rockford, Illinois
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
5 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2014

This place is definitely worth one's time, but the tour focuses more on the building's architecture and history than on the science/technology side. So, if you're a science geek, you may be somewhat disappointed in the Sat. public tours. Try the other options with costs but views.

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Mt Prospect
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
12 attraction reviews
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2014

I recently viewed a dvd about the Hubble telescope and they began at the beginning which included one man's passion (George Hale) and another man's pride (Charles Yerkes) If you are in the area, this place is worth a visit. The grounds are beautiful. The building is covered with many unique architectural forms. Volunteers with a passion for their subject... More

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Pataskala, United States
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
3 attraction reviews
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2014

Having been a science teacher with a specialty in astronomy, I have a keen interest in observing instruments. The 40 inch refractor at Yerkes was, and is, the largest refracting telescope in the world. When it opened, it was an important scientific instrument. Sadly, technology has long since passed it by. That it is still there and kept up is... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 4

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