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Kitt Peak National Observatory
Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Sells
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Located 56 miles southwest of Tucson on the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation, the observatory is a working research station situated high above on Kitt Peak.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed May 12, 2009

We live in the Midwest and have a second home in Oro Valley. We made reservations well in advance and were fortunate to have a beautiful night. We arrived shortly after 4pm (per instructions) and stayed until approx 10pm. A full night with great staff. Good value! A super combination of education and entertainment. I'd go back in a heartbeat! Highly recommendable for all ages. Dress warm.

3  Thank Bob L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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311 - 315 of 328 reviews

Reviewed April 4, 2009

I drove to Kitt Peak on a whim. It was my last day in Tucson and I wanted something to do. Be prepared for a long drive. Though beautiful and scenic, there is little out there, so TAKE FOOD, and make sure you fill up the gas tank and use the restroom. Also, you will not get cell phone service on the way up there and are asked to turn your phone off on the mountain, so be prepared. I visited in April and found the weather to be extremely windy and cold. The winds were so high when I walked up to the largest telescope I was almost blown off the mountain and had to grab the side of the building in order to not be blown over. Although I absolutely love science and am very interested in astronomy, I only know the little bit I was taught in school. I thought that the exhibits, although impressive, seemed a bit too technical and required a lot of reading. I would have liked to see some exhibits that explain a little more about why astronomy is important, and what kinds of work is done on the mountain. The technical specifications of the telescopes were of no interest to me. I felt like the tours lacked a bit of excitement and the guides were a bit long winded. I noticed many people, except the amatuer astronomers, looking around in boredom. The self-guided tour is nothing more than a map of the mountain and plaques on the walls of the visitor's center. There were a few interesting facts about the mountain that the guides covered, but they were few and far between. The best part of our tour was when some astronomers invited us into their lab and told us what they were observing. The scientist was more interesting and explained things in clearer terms than the guide did. Overall, the day wasn't a waste but was a bit boring, unless you REALLY like astronomy and actually know something about it. Looking at other reviews, perhaps I should have signed up for the evening viewing.

8  Thank TravelJunkie2579
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2008

The Adventures of the Two Wise Ones

The Two Wise Ones called [---] to see how long it would take to get reservations for the Nightly Observing Program. They were in luck! There were openings that very night! Yowza! The man on the phone gave very specific instructions. Be on time! Be on time! Be on time! He also took a credit card deposit of $15 per person.

The Two Wise Ones hopped in the truck with a FULL tank of gas and drove into the Tohono O’Odham Indian Reservation. They allowed 90 minutes from Tucson. The climb up the mountain was steep and windy but the views were spectacular. Upon arriving, the deposit charges were dropped and $39 per person was charged.

The program itself was amazing. The Two Wise Ones didn’t think much of the box dinner but they were at Kitt Peak to see the stars and see stars they did! It was a wonderful experience looking through huge telescopes at faraway galaxies, nebulas and even Mars! They dressed as warmly as possible with hats, gloves, winter coats, warm socks, etc. Everyone looked like stuffed snowmen.

Once the program was over, the drive down the mountain commenced. The guides led the cars WITHOUT headlights on down the mountain. It felt very safe and everyone got down just fine. Then on the way out of the Indian Reservation, everyone was stopped by Border Patrol. But again, it was just fine.

This was one of the highlights of the Arizona Adventure for the Two Wise Ones. We highly recommend it!

7  Thank twowiseones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2008

A very cool place to visit! Largest collection of research telescopes in the world. Go for the night viewing, it's unforgettable (dress warmly!).

2  Thank msmarls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2007

The Nightly Observing Program is one of the best tours I've ever taken anywhere in the world, which makes it funny that I have lived in Tucson for nearly 15 years and just recently visited Kitt Peak. If you are anywhere even close to Arizona, you won't regret changing your plans to include a night at Kitt Peak.

9  Thank Melony W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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