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8 Things to Do at Lowell Observatory During the Daytime

The Rotunda Museum with flowers in the foreground.

8 Things to Do at Lowell Observatory During the Daytime

By Claire Gibson, Lowell Educator

Now that the weather is warm and the daytime is long, check out this list of fun activities to do at Lowell Observatory during the day. Whether you love astronomy or are looking for some family-friendly activities, or love nature and want to explore the flora and fauna of Northern Arizona, Lowell Observatory has so much to see beyond the Sun through our special solar telescope!

1. Have a picnic in the Picard Grove

Right in the center of our public campus, the Picard Grove is one of the best places to relax and enjoy the sights of Lowell Observatory. Here, you can see the Clark and Dyer telescope, the Rotunda Museum, and the 42” Lampland Telescope. The grove has picnic tables and is under the shade of an outdoor tent, perfect for a midday break!

2. Walk the scale of the Solar System

Just past the Rotunda Museum, there is a walkway with placards detailing information about each of the planets and regions in the solar system. But, this short walk up the hill to the Pluto Discovery Telescope is a scale model of the solar system! Every inch you walk starting from the sun is equal to one million miles in space!

3. Watch for Northern Arizona’s wildlife

Flagstaff is host to many species of wildlife, and lots of them call Lowell Observatory their home! Spot the Abert squirrel, with their bushy white and gray tails, or the golden-mantled ground squirrel. Mule deers sometimes wander into the Lowell Observatory campus or can be spotted on the road up the visitor center. You can look up into the trees and see some western bluebirds or a red-faced warbler!

4. Explore deeper into Lowell Observatory grounds with the Galaxy and Universe walks

Just past the Giovale Open Deck Observatory, there are two information-filled astronomy walks. Learn more about the scale of our universe and the research that has broken barriers in astronomy, as well the people involved with these discoveries!

5. Take a funny picture with your favorite historic Lowell astronomer bust

Along the solar system and universe walks, there are busts of all the historic astronomers who have been a part of Lowell Observatory’s history. You can take a picture with Clyde Tombaugh’s bust, the man who discovered Pluto at Lowell Observatory, or walk deeper into the forest and find Vera Rubin, who helped discover some of the first evidence for dark matter!

6. Explore our new Meteor Discovery exhibit

We have a brand new interactive meteor exhibit in the Steele Visitor Center! Learn about Lowell Observatory’s LO-CAMS project for surveying meteors in the night sky, and look at the latest data of our discoveries and see for yourself the amazing research happening at Lowell!

7. Learn about solstices and equinoxes at the Giovale Open Deck Observatory

Up at the GODO, there are several plinths that detail where the Sun rises and sets during the Summer and winter solstices as well as the Spring and Autumn equinoxes. Learn about the science behind this natural phenomenon!

8. Enjoy the gardens of Lowell Observatory

Did you know that Percival Lowell was interested in botany and natural science besides just astronomy? When he first established the Observatory, he had gardens on the grounds of the observatory. Today, we have several natural gardens full of native plants!

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