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Yerkes Observatory

373 W. Geneva St, Williams Bay, WI 53191
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Type: Observatories/ Planetariums
Traveler Description: Just down the road from Lake Geneva in nearby Williams Bay resides Yerkes Observatory, home to three telescopes including the 40-inch refractor, the... more »
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40 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Des Moines, Iowa
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
32 attraction reviews
31 helpful votes 31 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

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Madison, Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
15 attraction reviews
14 helpful votes 14 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

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Littleton, Colorado
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
6 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 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

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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
32 reviews 32 reviews
12 attraction reviews
21 helpful votes 21 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
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
3 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 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

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Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
7 attraction reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2014

Yerkes is worth a visit for their tours on Saturday mornings, or just to take a walk around the building and grounds. Pay close attention to all of the details on the building. I have been on the tour many times and it is never the same twice. I visit the building and walk around the grounds nearly every time... More

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Detroit, Michigan
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
16 attraction reviews
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2014

I came for the building, husband came for the science, we both left smiling. The guide was a wonderful retired professor and he moved the dome and the telescope and the floor to show us what marvels they were in 1895 and what marvels they still are today. Tours on Saturday only - don't miss this!!

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Indianapolis, Indiana
Top Contributor
132 reviews 132 reviews
38 attraction reviews
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2014

Took my first tour as a kid and recently returned. Beautiful grounds and architecture. Informative, interesting Saturday morning tours. Nice way to learn more about history, astronomy and architecture. Impressive to see the inner workings of a large observatory. Definitely worth the time to visit when in the area on Saturdays. A nice spot for a quick walk and some... More

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Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
14 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2014

This was an interesting tour. Much great information about the decision of why the telescope was there, who's idea it was, who funded it, etc. Some of the information was old, and not accurate (scripted). The guide that brought us up to the telescope seemed more interested in selling us a picture of Einstein at the telescope than anything else,... More

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