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“Always a excellent show”
Review of Lowell Observatory

Lowell Observatory
Ranked #3 of 104 things to do in Flagstaff
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Lowell Observatory, founded in 1894, is a non profit astronomical research and educational outreach institution located on Mars Hill one mile west of Flagstaff, Arizona. For visitors, the Observatory offers telescope viewing, exhibits and science center, daytime guided tours, safe viewing of the Sun, multimedia programs, shows in the McAllister Space Theatre, special events throughout the year, and an astronomy gift shop.
Level Contributor
64 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Always a excellent show”
Reviewed November 1, 2013 via mobile

The show is in the sky's above. Come on a evening when they are open late so you can look through the Clark Telescope. Feel free to ask the staff questions about how long they have worked there and what they find interesting about astronomy. We enjoined the exhibits.

Visited October 2013
Thank Lightning077
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Level Contributor
74 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“A Must Visit in Flagstaff”
Reviewed October 27, 2013

If you are even remotely interested in science, Lowell Observatory is a must visit place for you. Lowell Observatory has provided two revolutionary contributions to astronomy. Firstly, this is where Pluto was discovered. Secondly,one of the most groundbreaking phenomenon ever - the expanding universe, was detected here. It is probably one of the very few places where you can actually touch and look through a telescope (The Clarke telescope) that made such an important contribution to science. And to think that the same machine was once used by giants of science like Percival Lowell, Carl Sagan and Edwin Hubble would literally give you goosebumps.

The drive up Mars Hill road to the observatory is short but beautiful and you get a great view of the city from above. The admission fee ($12 /adult) covers everything inside including two fantastic guided tours - The Pluto tour and The Mars tour. Our guide Todd was an amazing guy who not only could explain difficult concepts in layman's terms but had a great sense of humour and took real pride to be associated with such a prestigious and important center of science. During the tours - along with the two telescopes that discovered Pluto and was used to detect expanding universe respectively - you also get to visit the former library, take the galaxy and universe walks, see the exhibit hall, touch a meteore fragment, stare at the sun safely and see Percival's mausoleum. The campus is a beautiful place shaded with large pines. The tours happen multiple times a day. Lowell has close to 20 astronomers who work on a wide range of fields and have their offices right next to the visitor center.

You can view through the telescopes on certain nights, check out the schedule before you visit. Telescope viewing is subject to weather conditions and there are no refunds if you don't get to view the night sky. Also - the Clarke telescope is soon to be dismounted for major maintenance works (it's 117 years old!) and would not be available for viewing after a few weeks. Lowell also houses the giant 170 inch 53 million dollar Discovery Channel Telescope but that isn't located here and is used strictly for research; so don't expect to see that.

Flagstaff is generally much cooler compared to Phoenix or Tucson, and since the observatory is on much higher ground, it becomes very cold at night. Make sure you wear warm clothes. There is a souvenir shop and drinks machine but no food is available. The talks during the tours and inside the telescope domes are mostly scientific, so small children would get disinterested.

I must say I'm pretty amazed to not see Lowell ranked among Flagstaff's top 10 Tripadvisor attractions. I'm certainly going to come back when I can to this most interesting place and would highly recommend it. Overall - a fantastic experience.

Visited October 2013
2 Thank smonda5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
58 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“"Limited viewing"”
Reviewed October 27, 2013

Check this out if you're staying. A good thing to fill up time with, but usually the telescopes are stuck on one spot and there are only two. Nice scenery, and there is a 45-minute presentation that is interesting. Overall, if you have a tight schedule, it is not a "must".

Visited October 2013
Thank DBTNMinneapolis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
22 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Had fun!”
Reviewed October 27, 2013

I went there with my family and they had a blast! The place was full and we had to wait in line, outside, for a turn to see the planets using their telescopes. The only issue was the cold weather but that's not their fault. Even with winter coats, hats, gloves and scarfs, it was hard to withstand but we are not used to the cold weather anyway. Just in case, if you decide to go the observatory during winter, bring warm clothes, specially if you are traveling with kids and/or seniors.

Visited November 2012
Thank JadeSoul18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Where Pluto was discovered”
Reviewed October 24, 2013

Lowell Observatory is a very interesting place to visit while in the Flagstaff area. We took the Pluto tour and learned why Pluto was declassified as a planet and is now called a dwarf planet. The guide was very knowledgeable and was great with kids who asked questions. Then we listened to a lecture about the planets. We went outside and could see Venus through a telescope even though it was still daylight out. The museum inside the visitor center was very educational. There was no way to absorb it all in one visit. We plan to go back there soon.

Visited October 2013
Thank Gretchen N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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