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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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35 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Pataskala, United States
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
10 helpful votes 10 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 1
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 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
61 reviews 61 reviews
15 attraction reviews
28 helpful votes 28 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
8 helpful votes 8 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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Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2014

This is an interesting and educational place to visit. The tour guides were very knowledgeable about astronomy, the history of the observatory and its architecture. The history of the telescopes and how the observatory was founded and originally used is fascinating and the detail of the architecture is stunning. There is no established fee for the tour, but they do... More

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Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2013

This is pretty interesting. Easy to get to, nominal fee and a good tour. We only viewed the telescope during the day. I would love to go back at one of their nighttime viewings to look through it. My kids (6 & 8) liked it too. There is a small gift shop with a nice selection of books and space-related... More

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Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

A definite must when visiting the Lake Geneva area, with children and adults as well. The exceptional architecture and history of the building as well as special events to view throught the telescope is a gift to the area.

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Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
22 attraction reviews
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2013

This is an old building sitting on the shores of Williams Bay in Lake Geneva. It is close to the town center and close from highway 43. After the visit go for a walk on the path trails along the bay, either left or right you'll have a wonderful view of water, boats, and homes. We loved it.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2013

My 12 year old son and I decided to stop in during one of the free tours and it was just fabulous. I had so much enjoyment watching my son's eyes as the tour guide led us up to the huge dome with what used to be the worlds largest telescope. The architecture alone is worth exploring. You can walk... More

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