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“Very interesting”
Review of Yerkes Observatory

Yerkes Observatory
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Yerkes Observatory is owned and operated by the University Chicago, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and located in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. Built between 1895 and 1897 in the classic Romanesque style, Yerkes is home to the largest refracting (lens-type) telescope in the world and two other research-grade reflecting (mirror-type) telescopes. The building is beautifully preserved and ornamented with Roman brick and terra cotta, has three telescope domes (the largest is 90 feet in diameter and 10 stories in height), and is situated on 77 acres in a park-like setting. Tours of the building and the refractor are available Monday through Saturday. The cost is $10 per person age 18+ and $8 per person age 6 - 17. Weekday and Saturday hours vary by season. Consult the website for the most current tour schedule. Saturday tours are held for the public at 10 and 11 am, and 12Noon (11 am and 12Noon only from January 1 to mid-March). Reservations are not required. Saturday visitors are asked for a donation of $10 per person for adults and $8 per person for ages 6 - 17. The grounds are open every day, during daylight hours, for self-guided walking tours, free of charge. Photography is permitted. Professional photographers are required to contact the Observatory in advance during weekday hours to obtain permission for any photo shoot. The staff also hosts public observing sessions with the 40-inch refractor and the 24-inch reflecting telescopes many evenings throughout the year. Reservations are required and there is a charge for participation. Visit the Yerkes website for more information. The Observatory contains a lovely museum, many interesting displays concerning its construction, history, architecture and the science of astronomy, and a beautiful new gift shop with many unique items.
Reviewed August 21, 2012

Totally interesting architecture (bring your camera) and very knowledgeable volunteers do tours on the weekend. Sometimes at night they have opportunities to view the stars (call, books up fast) A quick tour for a unique experience away from the Lake Geneva crowds.

3  Thank Gemuse4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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184 - 188 of 202 reviews

Reviewed July 30, 2012

This is one of the nation's oldest observatories, built in 1895. The exterior is worth the visit alone, as it's encrusted with stone and terra cotta ornament relating to astronomy, the University of Chicago (owner), etc. But, on Saturday mornings (10, 11, and noon), there are guided tours by astronomers that really make sense of the building's history and function. Donation cost $5 and definitely worth it, if only to see the absolutely phenomenal main observatory room, its century-plus-old telescope, and an entire floor that moves as an elevator.

5  Thank Jim P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2012

Only open to the public on Saturday. The guided tour was great! Very informative. The building itself was beautiful, built in 1895.

2  Thank Christopher J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2012

Our tour guide, Richard, was very knowledgable and provided a thorough tour!

Thank rasaknits
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2012

Thank heaven the developers failed to convert this property into another overgrown and overpriced condo area. The tour of the facility is fascinating and absolutely worth the time

1  Thank beentherejohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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