Lowell Observatory
Lowell Observatory
4.5
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Monday
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Tuesday
12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Thursday
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Friday
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Saturday
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Sunday
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM
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.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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  • ssjj123
    Brazil, Indiana273 contributions
    Cool experience
    Definitely worth a stop. We arrived at 6PM for their evening activities in March, and the timing was perfect. We attended two informative lectures and were able to see Mars, Jupiter, the moon, and the Orion nebula through the telescopes. I thought the views through the telescopes would show more detail than they actually did, but it was still pretty cool. Dress warm if it's cold because you will be outside for much of the evening.
    Visited March 2023
    Written March 20, 2023
  • angeleyes27
    Brigantine, New Jersey5,146 contributions
    Lots of telescopes and programs
    This place is where they discovered Pluto. There are several talks during the day on a number of topics related to space and telescopes. The telescopes are huge and the talks are informative. There is no food on premises. We spent almost 4 hours there and so I felt it was worth the price. There is a AAA discount.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 19, 2023
  • TJ
    Santa Ana, California1 contribution
    Surprisingly entertaining.
    We went before sunset to miss the crowds. Did you know you can see stars even in daylight? They had telescopes set up pointing at stars & planets - amazing, and short lines. I enjoyed seeing the telescope that found Pluto- very basic.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 2, 2023
  • Mike M
    13 contributions
    Historical, Educational and Live Experience All in One
    This place can meet people on many different levels. Explore the history of astronomical science as it was performed in the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries, along with the fascinating lives of those who worked here. I advise setting aside an entire later afternoon/evening. My space-interested teen boy loved it. My non-spacing loving older teen boy and wife really liked it as well. The Lowell home as well as many of the items he and his colleagues used are on display, many still in the place they were used, such as his wicker chair he sat in to observe Mars through the Clark Telescope. Some of the historical scopes are still in use! The scope used to discover Pluto has its own little observatory. Educational programs run in two segments, afternoon (about 3pm until 6 pm) and evening (about 7pm until 10pm). You can pick and choose what you would like to attend, they range from historical to scientific. We did 2 afternoon lecture tours lasting about 45 min each then took a food break at the delicious Diablo Burger in downtown Flagstaff before returning for evening program. This consisted of computer enhanced imaging and live telescope viewings of the Ring Nebula, Venus and the Sombrero Galaxy from the observation deck as well as the M5 star cluster through the historic Clark telescope. We capped it off with a night-sky star gazing tutorial. Students in astronomy from Northern Arizona Univ. provided much of the tutorial work and they were intelligent, enthusiastic, kind and informative. We attended on a Sunday just before local schools let out and we did not experience problems with crowds as some reviews suggest. Complaint of getting little scope time can be unfounded as well. On a tour, 30 seconds at each scope is plenty; you don't need 10 minutes to get a great experience. Overall a true 5 star experience.
    Visited June 2023
    Written July 7, 2023
  • Katherine W
    46 contributions
    So interesitng
    What a fun and interesting place to visit. The history you learn and the explanatory and demonstrative talks are so informative. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and able to answer questions. If you stay till dark and it is a clear night, the building holding about 6 telescopes slides back. The staff hooks up the telescopes to large screens and you can see things you would never imagine. A great place to take the family....but not really young kids.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 12, 2023
  • Sheri B
    Phoenix, Arizona5 contributions
    Magical
    Lowell Observatory is simply magical. While it may be a bit hit and miss, given need for a clear night, if you get one, it is amazing. There are several telescopes through which you can see, depending on time of year, planets, star clusters, nebula, etc. On the night we went, you could see the Milky way with the naked eye. The staff and docents are all fabulous. This is a don't miss
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written September 7, 2023
  • daviddonnam
    Dunkirk, New York8 contributions
    Stars, Planets and great tours. We would go again
    We went at 5 pm at night stayed till 10 pm. It was great. Mostly outside things and you walked. But paths were smooth. We saw the moon (no cheese that I saw) we looked at Saturn and the rings you could see the moons too. The lady there had monitors that she explained the stars and other planets. There was a few movies to watch. It was more than I expected. And my husband and son was thrilled with it all.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 25, 2023
  • Diana S
    North Branch, Minnesota133 contributions
    Fabulous time learning astronomy history and viewing celestial objects
    We love astronomy and history, so this was the perfect place to visit. The observatory is on a mesa above Flagstaff, so you have a beautiful view over the city, day or night. It is open noon to 10 pm, so we were able to go up in late afternoon and walk around, then stay after dark. They have video presentations and live talks about the history of the observatory, the discovery of Pluto in 1930 (you can see the equipment used to discover it!) and other subjects, plus they have telescopes available to view celestial objects once it is dark. We opted to go to the Discovery of Pluto talk, which started in the Rotunda building, then we walked up the hill to see the astrograph telescope which was used in that discovery. Tour guide and astrophysics student Gavin gave a great talk, and was able to answer lots of questions. The Rotunda building has history displays, and hosts other talks, like Moonrise. As we were there the day after a full moon, guide Kate talked about the moon, then led a walk to the overlook to watch the rising moon. We were able to view Saturn and its rings on the historic Clark refractor telescope, then went to the Giovale Open Deck observatory where we viewed Jupiter and its moons, as well as a globular cluster in the constellation of Hercules. They only have water and candy bar type of snacks, but you can come during the day and keep your receipt, then go eat in Flagstaff, and come back to look through the telescopes. Be sure to bring warm clothes, as it gets cool quickly at this altitude once the sun goes down. It was also windy.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 1, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Popular mentions

4.5
2,001 reviews
Excellent
1,289
Very good
477
Average
156
Poor
59
Terrible
20

Tlaquepaque21
Columbus, OH23 contributions
Jul 2021
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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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.

Anonymous855
Trabuco Canyon, California1,712 contributions
May 2021
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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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.

David P
Phoenix, AZ202 contributions
Mar 2022
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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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.

Debbie S
United States14 contributions
Feb 2022
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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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.

Doug S
Escondido, CA179 contributions
Oct 2022
I went right before sunset, which in retrospect was a mistake.

They have a couple of small exhibits, and you can see the historic telescope used to discover Pluto.

The main attraction is telescope viewing of the night sky. It takes quite a while for the sky to darken sufficiently for them to focus on planets. I did get to faintly see a galaxy approximately one hour after sundown.

They had another telescope set up for viewing Saturn and its rings. That was a cool experience.

For me, the exhibits weren't enough to hold my attention waiting for the sky to darken. Though astronomy buffs may feel differently.

Staff is very nice and knowledgeable.

Remember to dress warmly. Flagstaff is at altitude and cools down quickly after sunset.
Written October 31, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kiki
North Port, FL2 contributions
Sep 2021 • 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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mike M
13 contributions
Jun 2023
This place can meet people on many different levels. Explore the history of astronomical science as it was performed in the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries, along with the fascinating lives of those who worked here. I advise setting aside an entire later afternoon/evening. My space-interested teen boy loved it. My non-spacing loving older teen boy and wife really liked it as well.
The Lowell home as well as many of the items he and his colleagues used are on display, many still in the place they were used, such as his wicker chair he sat in to observe Mars through the Clark Telescope. Some of the historical scopes are still in use! The scope used to discover Pluto has its own little observatory.

Educational programs run in two segments, afternoon (about 3pm until 6 pm) and evening (about 7pm until 10pm). You can pick and choose what you would like to attend, they range from historical to scientific. We did 2 afternoon lecture tours lasting about 45 min each then took a food break at the delicious Diablo Burger in downtown Flagstaff before returning for evening program. This consisted of computer enhanced imaging and live telescope viewings of the Ring Nebula, Venus and the Sombrero Galaxy from the observation deck as well as the M5 star cluster through the historic Clark telescope. We capped it off with a night-sky star gazing tutorial. Students in astronomy from Northern Arizona Univ. provided much of the tutorial work and they were intelligent, enthusiastic, kind and informative. We attended on a Sunday just before local schools let out and we did not experience problems with crowds as some reviews suggest. Complaint of getting little scope time can be unfounded as well. On a tour, 30 seconds at each scope is plenty; you don't need 10 minutes to get a great experience. Overall a true 5 star experience.
Written July 7, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Je C
Houston, TX24 contributions
Feb 2022 • 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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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.

Edsalldw
Ellsworth, ME339 contributions
Feb 2020 • Family
We arrived hoping to excite the kids about astronomy. There was a home school group there with same objected
Kids were bored senseless with a tour guide that should know better as he had been a 5th grade teacher
He digressed to using his credit card problems and tours of he took at other places. He gave very little information about the observatory. And took half the time for the Pluto tour with no info about Pluto.
The sun presentation was by a real scientist and well worth it.
Exhibits were good and informative
Written March 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mnicolev99
Mesa, AZ9 contributions
Dec 2019
An amazing date if you and your significant other love space. I also saw a lot of families and even people by themselves. Get there earlier to get the full experience since the observatory has a whole itinerary you can follow and they even have fun talks. We stayed late for a constellation lecture outside and learned about the Norse mythology which was really awesome for me but we heard the lecture depends on the worker giving it.
Written January 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks for your review! We're so glad to hear that you enjoyed your visit to the observatory. We appreciate your feedback and support; we hope to see you again soon!
Written January 24, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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