Kitt Peak is the largest collection of optical and radio telescopes in the world and has been for over 50 years. Here, about an hour and a half from Tucson, they study stars, galaxies, magnetic fields, Dark Matter, and even our own sun. Every volunteer-lead tour is a little different. They offer many different types of tours ranging from a daytime, budget evening programs, VIP and even overnight programs.
A few years ago I signed up for one of the 4 hour evening programs. after a light dinner (chicken fingers – or something simple) they took us on a walk around the peak to view the sunset. It’s unique here b/c of its height and smooth dry desert to the west. We then were each handed a set of binoculars were trained how to properly use them. We spent some time learning where to look in the nighttime sky for cool things like binaries, nebulae, other galaxies, and even some neighboring moons. The tour then took us to a huge telescope where we spent a long time looking at things we couldn’t see with binoculars.
When visiting Kitt Peak, bring a jacket. It’s almost 7,000 so even if it’s blistering hot in Tucson during the day it’s easy to get some serious chills as soon as the sun goes down, especially if you’re outside for a few hours.
After my tour, I knew I had to bring my family back here to see the place themselves. Our schedule wouldn’t let us fit in an evening program but the kids still loved it and I was amazed at how much I learned during my second visit.
Open 9 am to 3:45 pm unless you have a reservation for an evening tour (Highly recommended by Wesley Adventures) – open every dahttp://HTTPS://www.NOAO.edu/kpvcy except major holidays. Check the website for exact details.
More To Do in the Area
There’s so much to do in the Tuscon area. Be sure to see our posts about other fun family-friendly stuff in the area, besides Kitt Peak there’s, the Pima Air and Space Museum, Biosphere 2, Arizona Sonora Desert Museum (one of our favorites), Titan Missile Museum, San Xavier Mission, and nearby (kinda) Tombstone, AZ.