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Yerkes Observatory

Observatories & planetariums, Museums
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Address: 373 W. Geneva St, Williams Bay, WI 53191
Phone Number: 262-245-5555
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Description: This 100-year-old observatory, which is owned by the University of...
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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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Most recent review
Hidden Treasure!

If you have the opportunity to visit Yerkes, do it! The history alone is worth a visit. To be in the same areas that Einstein studied is amazing. The grounds are beautiful too!

5 of 5 starsReviewed January 30, 2015
Jenny53121
,
Elkhorn, Wisconsin
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47 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
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English first
Elkhorn, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
216 reviews 216 reviews
51 attraction reviews
87 helpful votes 87 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2015

If you have the opportunity to visit Yerkes, do it! The history alone is worth a visit. To be in the same areas that Einstein studied is amazing. The grounds are beautiful too!

Was this review helpful? Yes
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
19 attraction reviews
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2014

The staff at the observatory did an outstanding job with the history of the building and Yerkes himself. The architecture is beautifully done and while they did have some construction going on it did not subtract from the experience. Getting to go into the dome was beyond any expectation I may have had - its a shame the telescope is... More 

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2014

Beautiful building with what i thought was a huge telescope, but with the tour guides help learned it is small compared to what is out there now. Very interesting tour, only 45 minutes about a subject i Know nothing about. worth seeing if you are in the Lake Geneva/Williams Bay area. Boy scout troop on our tour and it kept... More 

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Nicollet, Minnesota, USA
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
16 attraction reviews
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2014

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
4 helpful votes 4 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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Illinois
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
16 attraction reviews
51 helpful votes 51 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
85 reviews 85 reviews
36 attraction reviews
42 helpful votes 42 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
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
22 attraction reviews
23 helpful votes 23 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
38 reviews 38 reviews
10 attraction reviews
8 helpful votes 8 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

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Shannon, Illinois
1 month ago

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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?