The Kitt Peak Experience… Like no other
There are a variety of tour options visitors can partake in while visiting the Observatory during the day.
A self-guided walking tour map is available in the Visitor Center. You may also download audio tours that are avaialble in podcast format (mp3 files) for use with your iPod or other MP3 player. This tour is free.
Lead by our excellent docent corp, the Kitt Peak Visitor Center offers three guided fee based tours each daily. Each tour lasts approximately one hour. The tours begin in the Visitor Center with a brief introductory discussion. These tours contain a wealth of information and stories about the observatory. Following the discussion, the walking tour to the telescope begins. (See the schedule below) The telescopes are up to 1/4 mile away from the Visitor Center. No reservations are required for groups under 20. Groups over 20 should call the Visitor Center at (520)318-8732. For pricing information, visit our Tour Rates page (which also includes group rates).
McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope
The first tour each day is of the world’s largest solar telescope, the McMath-Pierce solar telescope.
On this tour you will visit one of the early workhorses of Kitt Peak. Built in 1964, the 2.1-m telescope is still in high demand every night.
Mayall 4-m Telescope
This telescope has been a landmark in since 1973, and is easily visible from many points in Tucson. The 4-m is the largest optical telescope on Kitt Peak, and receives 4 times more requests for use than there are clear nights each year. From the Visitor Gallery you have a beautiful 360 degree view of Kitt Peak and surrounding landscape. Tour lasts approximately 1.5-2 hours.
Please Note that telescope tours and times may change without notice due to maintenance issues and weather conditions.
Groups with 10 or more can make an online reservation.
Daytime V.I.P. Tour NEW!
The Kitt Peak Visitor Center is proud to offer a new, not-to-be-missed, all-encompassing tour of Kitt Peak National Observatory! The special Daytime V.I.P. tour is intended for any group with a desire to learn more in-depth knowledge of the historic and scientifically important observatories on Kitt Peak than the regular daytime tours can offer. Spanning 4 or 5 hours (depending on your schedule), this tour will cover the entire summit of the Mountain.
MONTHLY VIP TOURS
For the General Public
Kitt Peak is now offering a VIP Tour on the Fourth Saturday of each month that anyone can sign up for! Individual members of the General Public, couples, and small groups are encouraged to sign up for our Monthly VIP Tours!
From time to time docents will staff the Coronado/Mead Solar Telescope Array where visitors can learn about the sun and actually observe the sun live though a telescope. A sign will be placed in the front of the Visitor Center when solar observing is open. This is a free event.