Spring Trips to Lowell Observatory

Get the most out of your seasonal visit.

Spring into an Otherworldly Adventure

Spring at Lowell Observatory

Those looking to add an astronomical element to their spring itinerary should look no further than the top of Mars Hill.

Keep this page on your radar for the latest on enjoying your visit to Lowell Observatory during the spring season!

 

 

Flowers blooming in front of the Rotunda Museum. Photo Credit: Michael West

Spring Itinerary

Check out this sample itinerary of a perfect spring day spent at Lowell, from open to close, to help you plan!

What to Wear

Not sure how to dress for the weather? Follow these tips to dress for success during your visit!

Though spring in Flagstaff brings warmer temperatures, it gets pretty windy here in our mountain town. Wind chill can make temperatures feel much colder than they are and get through even the warmest jackets, so important to have extra layers on hand!

If you want to get the most out of your visit by going on tours of our historic campus and enjoying evening stargazing, you should be prepared to do some walking! The walking paths on our campus can get fairly steep in some areas, and tours require a lot of walking and standing. If you need a break, there are benches placed throughout our campus. They’re also a great place to sit and take in the scenery!

Spring Constellations

Ursa Major

The Greater Bear

Ursa Major is a constellation in the northern sky, whose associated mythology likely dates back into prehistory. Its Latin name means “greater bear,” referring to and contrasting it with nearby Ursa Minor, the lesser bear.

Ursa Major is always above the horizon in the northern latitudes, but the best time to see it is in the spring when its high above the northeastern horizon. To find it in the sky, just look for the Big Dipper — it makes up part of the bear’s body!

Leo

The Lion

Leo is one of the constellations of the zodiac, between Cancer the crab to the west and Virgo the maiden to the east. It’s located in the Northern celestial hemisphere.

To find Leo in the night sky, look for the bright star Regulus, which will be directly above. Once you locate the star, trace out a distinctive pattern of stars shaped like a backwards question mark, known as The Sickle. This pattern represents the Lion’s mane.

Boötes

The Herdsman

Boötes (pronounced boh-OH-teez) contains the fourth-brightest star in the night sky, the orange giant Arcturus. Epsilon Boötis, or Izar, is a colorful multiple star popular with amateur astronomers. Boötes is home to many other bright stars, including eight above the fourth magnitude and an additional 21 above the fifth magnitude, making a total of 29 stars easily visible to the unaided eye.

To find Boötes, look for the Big Dipper constellation in the north. Follow the arc made by the Dipper’s handle until you see a bright star. This is Arcturus, which is located in what would be the waist of Boötes.

Hydra

The Serpent

The shape of Hydra resembles a twisting snake, and features as such in some Greek myths. One myth associates it with a water snake that a crow served Apollo in a cup when it was sent to fetch water; Apollo saw through the fraud, and angrily cast the crow, cup, and snake, into the sky. It is also associated with the monster Hydra, with its many heads, killed by Hercules, represented in another constellation.

To find Hydra, draw an imaginary line from Betelgeuse to Procyon and keep going. You will reach a bright star called Regulus, in the constellation Leo. Hydra’s head lies around halfway from Procyon to Regulus. Join head and tail and you should see a trail of stars making up Hydra.

Virgo

The Maiden

Ophiuchus

The Serpent-Bearer

Ophiuchus (pronounced OFF-ee-YOO-kuss) is a large constellation straddling the celestial equator. Its name comes from the Ancient Greek word for “serpent-bearer”, and it is commonly represented as a man grasping a snake. The serpent is represented by the constellation Serpens.

The key to finding Ophiuchus is being able to identify Scorpius. Scorpius is a fairly easy constellation to point out because of its distinctive hook-like shape. The ‘head’ of Ophiuchus is also located near the head of Hercules, so use that constellation to help guide your way.

Local Destinations

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Bearizona

Bearizona Wildlife Park is located on approximately 160 acres in beautiful Williams, AZ.

As a member of the Zoological Association of America as well as the American Association of Zoo Keepers, Bearizona is dedicated to responsible wildlife management, conservation, and education.

Everyday, visitors can drive through over three miles of Ponderosa Pine Forest viewing North American animals in their natural habitats.

More animals are housed in Fort Bearizona, a beautiful 20-acre walk-thru area, which is more of a “zoo” style setting.

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Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park, located just a 1.5 hours away from Flagstaff by car, encompasses 278 miles (447 km) of the Colorado River and adjacent uplands.

Located on ancestral homeland of 11 Associated Tribes, Grand Canyon is one of the most spectacular examples of erosion anywhere in the world — unmatched in the incomparable vistas it offers visitors from the rim.

The park offers accessible experiences for all visitors, from paved scenic walking trails to challenging hikes, mule rides, and camping excursions.

 

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Meteor Crater & Barringer Space Museum

Over 50,000 years ago space and earth came together when a huge iron-nickel meteorite, approximately 150 feet wide and weighing several hundred thousand tons, impacted an area outside of Flagstaff, Arizona, with a force 150 times greater than an atomic bomb. The result of this impact was devastation for miles and the creation of the giant bowl-shaped cavity we call Meteor Crater, which measures 550 feet deep and almost a mile wide.

Nestled on its north rim, Meteor Crater Visitor Center is one of the most popular attractions in Northern Arizona. See the crater for yourself and explore interactive exhibits in the Barringer Space Museum!

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Museum of Northern Arizona

The Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) is a private, non-profit, educational institution located in Flagstaff, Arizona at the base of the beautiful San Francisco Peaks. The Museum was founded in 1928 by a group of Flagstaff citizens to protect and preserve the natural and cultural heritage of northern Arizona through research, collections, conservation, and education.

MNA’s 200 acre museum campus includes the Museum exhibit building, office space, research lab space, and collection storage for more than five million Native American artifacts, natural science specimens, and fine art pieces.

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Local Events

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Live Music at Museum Club

The Museum Club is a popular roadhouse and dance club, offering the best in live country-western and after-hours entertainment.

Location: The Museum Club – 3404 E Route 66

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First Friday Art Walks

If you plan to attend this monthly street party, your walking shoes are a necessity. First Friday ArtWalk is one of Northern Arizona’s premier arts events. Held the first Friday of the month, art galleries and businesses in historic Downtown Flagstaff open their doors from 6-9pm with special art exhibitions, performances, live music, treats, and more. Many downtown hot spots remain open after 9 pm as the ArtWalk celebrations continue.

Location: Downtown Flagstaff
Time: 6-9pm

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Youth Arts 2023

Coconino Center for the Arts’ 2024 Youth Arts Exhibition celebrates the outstanding progress and unbounded potential of local youth artists in Flagstaff and the regional community. The exhibition was open to and inclusive of all artwork submissions by youth artists (Pre-K to 12th grade, living in Coconino or Navajo counties); 450 works by local youth artists reflected the following criteria: significant progress in the student’s artistic learning; risk-taking, trying new materials and techniques; and strong potential for continued art-making.

Date: March 2-23, 2024
Time: 4-8 pm
Location: Coconino Center for the Arts – 2300 N Fort Valley Rd – 928-779-2300

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Kite Day

April showers bring May flowers and a LOT of wind! We want our community and visitors to enjoy our bountiful gusts of wind and take full advantage of the active weather by purchasing kites from our Visitor Center, as well as other local retailers listed below, and flying in nearby rural areas. After flying your kites, head downtown for some yummy treats to refuel for the rest of your day!

Fly your kite at:
Arroyo Park, Bow and Arrow Park, Cheshire Park, Jim Cullen Memorial Park, Mobile Haven Park, Old Town Springs Park, Ponderosa Trails Park, Wheeler Park, Bushmaster Park, and/or Thorpe Park.

Additional kite pick-up locations:
Babies to Kids and Book Nest Toy Store, Walmart, Target, and Big 5 Sporting Goods.

Date: Saturday, April 6, 2024
Details: Visitor Center – 1 E Route 66 – 928-213-2951
Questions: Contact Sabrina.Beard@flagstaffaz.gov or 928.606.6348

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Arboretum Opening

Walk through The Arboretum gardens, wetlands, meadow, and forest and enjoy Flagstaff’s natural and native beauty on self-guided tours, available through October. Yoga classes will also be available May-September bringing attendees peace and serenity, as well as painting classes available June-July to channel your inner-Bob Ross. The fun doesn’t stop there, click below to see their calendar of events for 2024.

Date: May 1, 2024
Location: The Arboretum – 4001 S Woody Mountain Rd – 928-774-1442

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Yoga on the Lawn

Yoga on the Lawn with Holly White takes place every Saturday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. There will be a $5 dollar drop-in, and make sure to bring a yoga mat and towel too!

Date: Saturdays (Memorial Day to Labor Day)
Time: 9am-10am
Location: County Courthouse Lawn – 200 N San Francisco St

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Old Town Creperie Opening

Take advantage of this seasonal restaurant and indulge in crepes galore. YUM! Choose from a variety of options creating a robust menu and take your order out on the patio for some fresh air and sunshine downtown while you dine. Like attending the Community Market? You can find their delicious crepes there too on special Sunday mornings. Bon appetit!

Date: May TBD, 2024
Location: Old Town Creperie – 120 N Leroux St

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Upcoming Events at Lowell

Off-Site Event

June 20 @ 5:00 pm

Movies on the Square

On-Site Event

June 20 @ 6:30 pm

Moonrise Program

July 6 @ 7:00 pm

Meet An Astronomer

Off-Site Event

July 23 @ 10:00 am

Kids Squared

July 27 @ 7:00 pm

Meet An Astronomer

November 10 @ 11:00 am

Astronomy Discovery Center Member Preview

November 11 @ 11:00 am

Astronomy Discovery Center Member Preview

November 12 @ 11:00 am

Astronomy Discovery Center Member Preview