Kitt Peak National Observatory
Tohono O’odham Reservation, Arizona
Telephone: (520) 318-8726
Starry, starry night… Perched atop a wind-blasted mountaintop named for 19th century settler Kitt Peak, this site supports the world’s most diverse collection of astronomical observatories for nighttime astronomy and daytime study of the Sun. In fact, the magnificently large sun telescope was the Very Coolest Thing I saw on our visit. (The photograph here only shows about one-third of the sun scope! The rest is below ground, and can be seen from the observation room inside the building.) Although the official website says that dogs are not allowed in the buildings, the friendly woman at the visitor center said I was welcome inside both of the buildings she recommended we walk to: the 2.1-meter telescope and the sun scope. Daily guided tours, magnificent views of the surrounding Arizona dessert, and the occasional real-life astronomer strolling about the place make this a fun and educational destination. Pack lunch to enjoy at one of the many picnic tables before you explore.