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“OK if your an anorak”

Goldendale Observatory State Park
Ranked #3 of 14 things to do in Goldendale
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: See within 1,100 miles of the moon's surface and Jupiter's cloud belts when looking through the amazing telescopes available to the public.
Reviewed September 26, 2011

I enjoyed my visit, the guy running the tour does his best to make astronomy interesting, however he is restricted to what he can show you through his telescope by the weather, during my visit even the moon was not visible, the tour takes over 2 hours, take a coat it even gets cold outside and inside the observatory during the summer evenings. Be warned you will be charged $10 for a discovery pass, infact i would advise anyone visiting Washington State to buy the $30 annual Discovery Pass otherwise every attraction you visit you will rack up a $10 fee

2  Thank chrishawk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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82 - 84 of 84 reviews

Reviewed May 29, 2011

First, I don't want to discourage anyone from making this trip, which is why I'll still give it a thumbs up. I love Astronomy and am confident that maybe on a better day my experience would have been better. But I had been wanting to hit the Goldendale Observatory for years and was very disappointed.

I was hoping to attend both the 2PM AND 5PM sessions. Upon arrival, the gates were locked. They were not unlocked until about a minute before 2:00. Then as we go in and sit down it was explained that time was crucial as a storm was rolling in within the hour. However, instead of hurrying along we mostly wait and chit-chat. And wait some more.

After completely wasting a full hour (after already stating we needed to hurry) we get a live shot of the sun...for 10 seconds before it hides behind the clouds.

I was extremely disappointed. While the weather is nobody's fault, wouldn't it make sense to do the viewing FIRST, then learn the facts when it's pouring outside? We walked out with no intention of coming back for the 5:00.

2  Thank Cyberhwk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 15, 2010

Our family had an excellent time at the observatory on Sept 11, 2010. Director Steve Stout does a fantastic job explaining how the telescope works, and talks in great detail (but in a very entertaining fashion) the objects we'll be seeing in the night sky. He is a very passionate and patient tour guide to our universe, and the telescope room is exquisite.

Once the doors to the dome open and the stars in the sky are revealed, the real fun begins. Steve will pick several points of interest in the night sky, and then you're welcome to take a turn at the telescope eyepiece. Its one thing to see pictures of the objects celestial sky, but it's on a completely different plane to see these objects for real - "LIVE" - viewed through a precision instrument such as this.

Highly recommended, and our family stayed until midnight - we could have stayed until dawn if they'd let us.

NOTE: Its dark in the telescope room, and you do have to climb a small ladder to reach the telescope eyepiece depending on where its pointed. Not a place for little, little kids, but anyone else say age 7 to 170 will have a grand time. I would recommend NOT going on a Friday or Saturday to avoid larger-than-normal crowds.

NOTE: Some of the views thru the 'scope won't look exactly like Hubble photos, but that isn't the fault of this telescope. Its just because your eyes can't see in color at night. Just the same, the views are absolutely spectacular, considering the light coming into the telescope has traveled millions - if not billions - of light years to reach your eye.

Will definitely go again. This State Park is a one-of-a-kind gem and could really use as much support as possible.

11  Thank Applegeek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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