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Lowell Observatory

This observatory is famous for discovering the dwarf planet Pluto and features many educational activities, historic telescopes and events for visitors.

Visit Lowell Observatory for daytime guided tours and nighttime telescope viewing sessions. Established in the late 19th century, the observatory is one of the oldest in the United States. The facility operates several telescopes, including the Pluto Discovery Telescope, for historical, educational and research purposes.

Start at the Steele Visitor Center on the Lowell Observatory campus. Here you’ll get acquainted with tour options and knowledgeable guides. Lowell’s present research telescopes are located outside Flagstaff; however, the campus still operates as an administration and visitor hub. Venture outward from Steele Visitor Center to find historic telescope domes and other fascinating Lowell Observatory areas.

Take the Pluto Tour to see the Pluto Discovery Telescope. This device was built in the late 1920s for the specific purpose of sighting the hypothetical 9th planet in our solar system. In 1930, observatory assistant Clyde Tombaugh discovered an object in the telescope’s glass negatives. The object was later named Pluto and the discovery marks one of the most important moments in United States astronomical history.

Attend an evening viewing through the Clark Telescope, a 24-inch (61-centimeter) refracting telescope, built in the late 19th century. The telescope, listed as a National Historic Landmark structure, was used to study moons, double planets, comets and other celestial objects. In the 1980s, Clark Telescope’s purpose shifted from research to education, where it has since amazed more than 2 million guests.

Stop at the Rotunda Museum to see some of the observatory’s most precious artifacts, including measuring and calculating devices. The museum contains displays on the Pluto discovery and moon mapping for the Apollo program. Exhibits on the expanding universe discovery and the Lowell family history also feature at the museum.

Lowell Observatory, open daily, is located in Flagstaff, Arizona. Use a public parking area next to the Steele Visitor Center. The cost of admission covers both day and evening programs. Reservations are not essential; however, it’s a good idea to check the official Lowell Observatory website for special events, tour times and seasonal programs.

Visit Lowell Observatory to look through state-of-the-art telescopes and learn about the facility’s monumental discoveries.


Guide to Exploring around Lowell Observatory


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Lowell Observatory

See all 543 Properties near Lowell Observatory
Days Inn by Wyndham Flagstaff - West Route 66 $44
Days Inn by Wyndham Flagstaff - West Route 66

Days Inn by Wyndham Flagstaff - West Route 66

1000 West Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ
     
    2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Conveniently located near the ski slopes, this motel in Flagstaff is within 3 mi (5 km) of Riordon Mansion, Northern Arizona University, and Lowell Observatory. Flagstaff City Hall and Heritage Square are also within 1 mi (2 km). Flagstaff Station is 19 minutes by foot.

    La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Flagstaff $95
    La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Flagstaff

    La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Flagstaff

    2015 S Beulah Blvd, Flagstaff, AZ
       
      2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located near the slopes, this Flagstaff hotel is in the entertainment district, within 1 mi (2 km) of Riordon Mansion and Northern Arizona University, and close to winter sports such as cross-country skiing and skiing lessons. Lowell Observatory is 2.7 mi (4.4 km) away.

      Drury Inn & Suites Flagstaff $115
      Drury Inn & Suites Flagstaff

      Drury Inn & Suites Flagstaff

      300 S Milton Rd, Flagstaff, AZ
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Southside Neighborhood, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Flagstaff City Hall and Northern Arizona University. Lowell Observatory is 1.4 mi (2.2 km) away. Flagstaff Station is 10 minutes by foot.

        Baymont by Wyndham Flagstaff $59
        Baymont by Wyndham Flagstaff

        Baymont by Wyndham Flagstaff

        2005 S Milton Rd, Flagstaff, AZ
           
          2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located near the slopes, this Flagstaff hotel is in the mountains, within a 15-minute walk of Riordon Mansion and Northern Arizona University, and close to winter sports such as cross-country skiing and snow tubing. Lowell Observatory is 2.5 mi (4 km) away.

          Motel 6 Flagstaff Butler Avenue $38
          Motel 6 Flagstaff Butler Avenue

          Motel 6 Flagstaff Butler Avenue

          2010 E Butler Ave, Flagstaff, AZ
             
            2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in Flagstaff, this motel is within 3 mi (5 km) of West of the Moon Gallery, Northern Arizona University, and Lowell Observatory. Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra and Heritage Square are also within 2 mi (3 km).

            Motel 6 Flagstaff West - Woodland Village $38
            Motel 6 Flagstaff West - Woodland Village

            Motel 6 Flagstaff West - Woodland Village

            2745 S Woodlands Village Blvd, Flagstaff, AZ
               
              2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in Flagstaff, this motel is 1.2 mi (1.9 km) from Riordon Mansion and 1.3 mi (2 km) from Northern Arizona University. Walkup Skydome and Coconino Community College are also within 3 mi (5 km).

              Residence Inn by Marriott Flagstaff $129
              Residence Inn by Marriott Flagstaff

              Residence Inn by Marriott Flagstaff

              100 North Humphreys Street, Flagstaff, AZ
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in the historical district, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Flagstaff City Hall and Northern Arizona University. Lowell Observatory is 1.3 mi (2.1 km) away. Flagstaff Station is 5 minutes by foot.

                Budget Host Inn NAU / Downtown Flagstaff $32
                Budget Host Inn NAU / Downtown Flagstaff

                Budget Host Inn NAU / Downtown Flagstaff

                820 West Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ
                   
                  2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated near the airport, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Riordon Mansion and Northern Arizona University. Lowell Observatory is 1.8 mi (2.8 km) away. Flagstaff Station is 17 minutes by foot.