Kitt Peak National Observatory Rules

The Observatory is located on the lands of the Tohono O'odham nation. Treat the land with respect. You are visiting a working research observatory, an important national scientific facility. In order to allow the public to visit without disrupting research, we ask you to follow these rules.

  • Visitor Center is open from 9:00am to 3:45pm. Observatory grounds close to all visitors except preregistered evening program guests at 4pm. Evening guests must comply with all light pollution control procedures.
  • Weapons of any kind and alcohol are strictly prohibited.
  • Smoking is only permitted in your vehicle and nowhere else. Fire danger is extreme throughout the year.
  • Please do not feed or approach wildlife. Collection of plants and animals is prohibited by non-tribal members.
  • While traveling on mountain roads and highway 386, please watch for hazards such as rocks, wildlife, and cattle.
  • Please obey all signs posted on the mountain, and follow instructions of Observatory staff or docents.
  • Switch cell phones and tablets to airplane mode or turn off. These devices interfere with radio telescopes.
  • Know your physical limitations since we are at 6,875 - feet above sea level (2,096 meters).
  • Kitt Peak medical services are minimal. In case of an emergency, please have staff call 911 and report all emergencies to any Observatory staff or docents.
  • Extreme weather conditions like rain, lightning, and storms are possible at any time.
  • Watch for uneven or slippery walking surfaces and vehicle traffic on roadways.
  • All pets must be leashed. Please pick up after them. Pets are not allowed in public buildings, with the exception of assist dogs. Do not leave pets in cars.
  • Please stay on designated paths and in designated areas. Hiking, bushwhacking, base jumping, and climbing on rocks or structures is not permitted.
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
  • Members of the media and professional photographers must first obtain permission from the Observatory Director.
  • Only guided tours led by Observatory docents and staff are permitted.
  • Operation of all radio controlled devices, kites, gliders, or model rockets is prohibited without prior permission of the Observatory Director.
  • For questions or more information, please ask your docent or the Visitor Center Staff.

Observatory Management reserves the right to restrict any activity that may impact the safety of persons or facilities or impact the science operations of the Observatory.


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