Lowell Observatory

Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff: Hours, Address, Lowell Observatory Reviews: 4.5/5

Lowell Observatory
4.5
Observatories & Planetariums
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10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
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About
Established in 1894, Lowell Observatory is a leading astronomical and planetary science research institution, National Historical Landmark, and one of the most popular nighttime destinations in Arizona. Our astronomers and planetary scientists work to reveal our universe with advanced instruments, such as the 4.3-meter Lowell Discovery Telescope, the 5th-largest optical telescope in the continental US. State-of-the-art public telescopes provide incredible views of the cosmos, and our historical telescopes offer a look into our history of scientific progress. Admission includes constellation tours, exhibits, and access to our Giovale Open Deck Observatory. See why we are recognized as the world’s first International Dark Sky destination. Effective Monday, March 7th, 2022, Lowell Observatory has lifted our on-campus mask requirements to match new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
1,970 reviews
Excellent
1,269
Very good
476
Average
149
Poor
57
Terrible
19

JoeBenevides
Fresno, CA380 contributions
We arrived at 2:15 in the afternoon, which was just in time to catch the Pluto tour, but to our surprise nothing else was open after that tour ended. Their schedule had a couple of tours for the 24 inch Lowell telescope and the Pluto Discover telescope during the day, but they don't start opening everything for their "Open House" until 5PM, so we came back in the evening using the same tickets. They had a program in the visitor's center on light spectrums then stargazing at another location when the sun started going down. The main telescope buildings were opened up by then too, but the wind was too strong to use the 24 inch Lowell telescope for stargazing. At $22 for adults it's a bit pricy but there's a lot to do in the evening. If we had not been able to come back in the evening using our original ticket then things would've been bad.
Written April 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi Joe, thanks for your review! We're sorry to hear that things weren't open during the daytime portion of your visit, but we're glad that you were able to return for evening stargazing and other activities. Many parts of our programming are dependent on the weather, particularly those involving older and more fragile things like the Clark Telescope. We thank you for your patience and understanding, and we hope to see you again soon!
Written June 8, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

David P
Phoenix, AZ150 contributions
After visiting last week, my wife and I wondered what took us so long to get up there! It is FANTASTIC. We stayed in Flagstaff, with my parents visiting from Seattle. After a beautiful drive to and around Sedona, we grabbed a bite and headed to Lowell. Fortunately, they had a scooter for my (92) year old dad, because there are some hills to navigate. We arrived a bit before sunset and got a lay of the land, heard a presentation, and waited in the Observatory viewing room (where it was warm, while it was freezing outside) for it to get dark. We were lucky to visit on the night of the Messier Marathon, looking for all 110 Messier objects in our night sky. They used a 14 inch telescope for the main viewing of Messier, and had three other scopes out for us to look directly through the lens at a nebula, the moon, and a star cluster. It was amazing, watching (via TV monitor) the "checking off" of the objects. I enjoyed it so much that I logged into Lowell's live-stream and watched several more hours in the comfort of our condo.
Written March 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi David, thanks for your review. It's great to hear that you and your group had such a good time at the observatory—during the Messier Marathon, too! It's always a super fun event to put on, and we were thrilled to be able to have guests to participate in person this year. We'd also like to thank you for tuning into our live stream from home, and we hope you enjoyed! Your review was shared with staff members, particularly those who helped make the Messier Marathon possible. We hope to see you again soon!
Written April 4, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Debbie S
Grass Valley, United States11 contributions
The staff at the observatory were all very helpful and kind. We were investigating having a family gathering at the observatory since we have star gazers in the family. There are many plans you can purchase for membership but we are from out of state and were looking to have our family be able to have a unique experience at the Lowell. The location is very good. Easy to get to off the I-40 and easy directions once you get to Flagstaff. You are even able to have special time with parties of up to 10 people and have use of the big 24" telescope. This sounded special to us as we have a family member who is an astronomy professor. The down side was that it was very expensive for this and limited in size for everyone to get a chance to view the stars through the big lens. Apart from that it is worth the trip if you are staying in Flagstaff as they are known for being the discoverer of planet Pluto (before it wasn't a planet anymore!) great stories and plenty of parking! Enjoy if you are a star gazer or just a curious traveler.
Written February 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi there, thanks for your review! We're so glad to hear that you enjoyed your visit to Lowell Observatory. We would also like to thank you for mentioning our membership program—our members help make these experiences possible. Even if you are from out of state, Lowell Membership grants free admission to hundreds of ASTC-affiliated science centers around the country. Thanks again for your review, we hope to see you on Mars Hill again soon!
Written April 4, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tlaquepaque21
Columbus, OH8 contributions
Follow instructions on their website, you need to reserve tickets for tours in advance. Summer 2021 tickets become available 2 weeks in advance. We booked the Expanding Universe Tour - it was very informative and interesting. Unfortunately we couldn't view stars from their observation deck telescopes due to thick cloud cover and storms. But that's no fault of the Observatory, I'm sure it would have been amazing if the weather cooperated.
Written July 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi there, thank you so much for your review! We're so glad to hear that you found your visit enjoyable and educational. We hope to see you again soon!
Written July 22, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Je C
Houston, TX17 contributions
Friends
The place is interesting. We arrived at 4 pm, we learned many things from the written information but in an Observatory what you want to see is the sky and the stars through the Telescopes. We waited until it was dark enough to be outside so we entertained ourselves in the exhibitions. There are three telescopes that in our opinion are sub utilized because the whole night they are focused on the same object. We suggest that they find the way to make it more interesting and interactive for the public. The three objects are seen in three minutes …we left around 8:30 pm because we stayed looking at the stars without the telescopes (we can do that somewhere else.)
Written February 19, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi there, thank you for your feedback! We're sorry to hear that your visit to Lowell Observatory did not meet your expectations. Telescopes are focused on objects based on viewing conditions, and some can be more difficult to view than others. We understand that this can sometimes lead to limited viewing options. Thanks again for your review, we appreciate your comments and will always do our best to improve our visitor experience.
Written April 4, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MerelyATourist
935 contributions
My wife and I visited late last October as part of an Arizona vacation. As an amateur astronomer, this is one place I just had to visit. Lowell Observatory is most famous for the "discoveries" of Percival Lowell (canals on Mars that do not exist) and for Clyde Tombaugh's discovery of Pluto. While it has a rich history, Lowell is also still a functioning astronomical observatory. However, most or all professional work takes place 40 miles away using the 4.3-meter Lowell Discovery Telescope, a facility that is not open to the public.

Arriving at about 10:00am, we spent nearly the entire rest of the day at Lowell. We took a guided tour, listened to several of the talks and explored the grounds on our own. We left to get dinner in town and returned to attend the evening session of talks and observing. No extra entry fee was required.

The observing consisted of a peek through the famous 24-inch Clark refractor (of M15, a globular cluster in Pegasus) and more views through a variety of telescopes at the Giovale Open Observing Deck, which had just opened up a few weeks prior to our visit. The Observing Deck is essentially a large concrete pad for telescopes but the unique thing about it is that when the pad is not in use, a large building slides over it on railway tracks to cover all of the telescopes and protect them from the elements. We arrived from dinner too late to witness the building move but you can watch it on YouTube.

If you are an amateur astronomer or merely interested in astronomy, in my opinion Lowell Observatory is definitely worth a visit, assuming it becomes possible and practical post COVID.
Written September 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

rossde
Palo Alto, CA48 contributions
Couples
We came at 10:00 AM for some morning talks about the observatory. We walked up the Pluto walkway where the planets are placed proportionally apart and where each inch is a million miles. Still the walk to Pluto is about 100 yards. We then walked over to the viewing deck where a sun telescope was setup. This desk is so cool and it is lined with inspirational sayings from historical scientists and other philosophers. We then had a talk on the history of the discovery of Pluto at the very telescope where Pluto was discovered. We came back that evening for star viewing on a beautiful night. They do a great job and I highly recommend this if you have any interest in the Astronomy.
Written April 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thanks so much for your thoughtful review! We're so glad to hear that you got the most out of your visit. Stopping by for daytime activities and then returning in the evening for stargazing is a great way to plan! We agree that the Pluto walk is a very cool feature on our campus—it really puts the universe into perspective.
Written June 8, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

kiki
North Port, FL2 contributions
Solo
This tour SHOULD be free! Terrible to charge $49 to hear someone talk about men who like astronomy. Someone in our group asked if we can look into the telescope and we were told no. You can come back and pay more $$$ to be able to do it. Spent over an hour looking at telecopes. When we got to the observation deck thought we can finally see something. We saw a red dot (sun) that was mostly covered by pine trees in the area. The guide said the trees needed trimming. Dont waste ur time or $, NOT WORTH IT!
Written September 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Anonymous855
Trabuco Canyon, California1,504 contributions
Our docent was very knowledgeable and most of the students on the deck were amazingly helpful. (A couple were being silly, tell them to stop that) Couldn't see the constellations at all that he was pointing out so it was pretty cold to stand and look up vaguely at the sky. Needs some work on that. I liked the documentary that is running for us in the room adjacent to the front desk. Recommend everyone come early and watch that as it fills in a lot of blanks on the work being done in the sky right now. My husband thought it was pricey but I know with smaller groups during covid, it's tough.
Written May 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thanks so much for your feedback! We're sorry to hear that you weren't able to see the constellations--sometimes uncooperative atmospheric conditions and light from the Moon can make viewing difficult. It's great to hear that you found most of our educators helpful; they truly love what they do and enjoy sharing their knowledge with visitors! Thanks again for your review, we hope to see you again soon.
Written July 15, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

TravelingAmos
New Jersey462 contributions
We came here for the last night sky tour of the evening, starting around 9:30. Since we were early, we spend some time in the gift shop which is actually quite nice. The tour itself was entirely outdoors. Half the time was spent looking through telescopes and the other half was a guide pointing out constellations. Looking at Jupiter and Saturn was pretty surreal as I felt that I was looking at the pictures of them that we have in our minds. The constellation tour was OK, but I was getting cold. Make sure to bundle up, including hats and gloves if here at night outside the summer!

I looked for a similar private tour in Sedona, and it was over $100/person.
Written November 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi there, thanks so much for your review! It's great to hear that you enjoyed your tour and got to see the planets through our telescopes. Seeing Saturn's rings with your own eyes is always a profound reminder of how incredible our universe is. Thanks again for your review, we hope to see you on Mars Hill again soon!
Written November 29, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Lowell Observatory

Lowell Observatory is open:
  • Tue - Tue 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Wed - Mon 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

We recommend booking Lowell Observatory tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 3 Lowell Observatory tours on Tripadvisor