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Kitt Peak National Observatory: a day trip from Scottsdale

There is so much to do in Arizona and that’s what attracts thousands of visitors to the state each year. After falling in love with the diversity of this amazing state, many visitors end up making the greater Phoenix area their part time or permanent home. You can enjoy a game of golf in Scottsdale in the morning and be on ski slopes up north by evening. Head in the opposite direction, southwest, and one can be at 6875’ above sea level, taking in the endless tapestry of star studded black velvet skies at Kitt Peak National Observatory atop Kitt Peak mountain.

Kitt Peak National Observatory

Kitt Peak National Observatory

Back in 1958, the sky and its lack of light pollution got the attention of the director of the National Science Foundation who targeted this area for astronomical research. The government entered into a perpetual land lease with the Tohono O’odham, and as they say, “the rest is history”.
Unless you are spending the night in Tucson you will want to make sure to give yourself extra time to travel to and from Kitt Peak National Observatory. There is random road maintenance and other unexpected delays while crossing the Native American Indian Reservation, and the steep climb up the mountain should be done with a modicum of care.
Once there, it is well worth the price of a ticket to go on a guided tour, but self-guided audio tours are an option as well. Both tours require a lot of climbing and walking, so wear comfortable shoes and bring a jacket for the windy areas on the mountain. A lot of astronomers and researchers live on the grounds and are extremely friendly and will start up a conversation, so feel free to ask questions!
Totally new is the day VIP Tour open to the public on the fourth Saturday of each month. It starts at the world’s largest solar telescope and tours the entire summit ending at the 18-story Mayall 4-meter telescope. Often the VIP group gets treated to exploring areas typically off-limits to the general public.   This is a five hour adult program geared for a more in-depth knowledge of the observatory and scientific programs.   ou’ll be climbing stairs and traversing the mountain so you must be at least 15 years or older to join in. Reservations are typically required months in advance.
And last but not least, take a box lunch with you, there are only light snacks and beverages available on the mountain for visitors, and with the altitude and climbing you’ll surely work up an appetite.
If you’re looking for Arizona golf homes for sale, contact me at 480-405-4228 to learn more about the area, and to make an appointment to view properties. 
Don Matheson
Realtor | Founder
The Matheson Team – RE/MAX Fine Properties
21000 N. Pima Rd., #100, Scottsdale, AZ 85255
[email protected]
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