Enjoy our universe like you’ve never done before!
Join members of the Desert Botanical Garden as we visit Arizona’s plethora of exceptional science learning facilities for astronomy. You not only get to explore the night sky but learn how giant telescope mirrors are being developed to produce the widest, fastest and deepest scans ever captured by a single telescope!
Upon arrival at the University of Arizona, you will tour the Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory to learn about the ground-breaking techniques being used to produce telescope mirrors. You’ll see construction of the mold and learn about spin-casting, grinding and polishing of a mirror that is 28’ in diameter! Then we visit the Flandreau Planetarium to see some interesting exhibits, including “Mars, Up Close & Personal”.
After lunch, you will be transported to the Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter featuring the new Schulman Telescope, the largest one in the state dedicated to public viewing. You will tour the facility, learn how to navigate the night sky using binoculars and sky charts, view a spectacular sunset, and then once it is dark - you get to use the “big” telescope to observe planets, galaxies, and nebulae like never before. Dinner is provided during this evening program as you view the glorious Sonoran Sky!
Saturday morning travel to Kitt Peak National Observatory, home to 23 optical telescopes and two radio telescopes. Your docent-led tour will take you to the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope, the world’s largest solar instrument; as well as the 4-meter telescope. The impressive Visitor Center provides more information about optical and infrared astronomy. A boxed lunch is provided for your enjoyment while visiting this thrilling site. Mid-afternoon, we drive down the mountain and return to Phoenix.
Rate includes round-trip transportation in a deluxe motor coach with professional driver, guided tours, overnight lodging, all meals and admissions. Bottled water and snack are provided on the coach.
Note: This tour requires climbing stairs and walking up to ¼ mile. Both Mt. Lemmon and Kitt Peak are at high elevations, so those with cardiac and respiratory concerns should be aware that walking paths are steep. Warm clothing and closed toe shoes are required.
Tour departs from Desert Botanical Garden at 8:00am on April 25 and returns to the Garden ~5:30pm on April 26.
Transportation in a 30-passenger mini bus with professional driver
Professional tour guide
Overnight lodging with breakfast
Admissions to the Mirror Lab, Planetarium, Sky Center and Kitt Peak
Dinner at Mt. Lemmon and boxed lunch at Kitt Peak
Bottled water and snack aboard the bus