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Tour and Visiting Information for USNO Flagstaff Station



10391 West Naval Observatory Road

Flagstaff, AZ 86001-8521
USA
Tel: +1 (928) 779-5132
Fax: +1 (928) 774-3626

E-mail Contact Form


Introduction:

The US Naval Observatory's Flagstaff Station does not have public outreach personnel on staff, so there are neither regular visitors' programs, nor regularly scheduled tours. However, we make an effort to accommodate visitors who drop in and pre-scheduled educational groups. The grounds are normally open, and tours of the facility are possible during daylight hours. If you would like to arrange a visit, please read the section below most relevant to your situation.


Educational and Group Tours:

Educational groups are welcome to visit the Flagstaff Station. Because of limited staffing, we request that you schedule your tour well in advance, and please try to be at least a little bit flexible about dates and times. A group size of 10 to 20 is most easily accommodated at the station. Visits by larger groups can be arranged, but we need more advance warning. Group organizers should contact the USNO Flagstaff Station using the e-mail contact form.

We recommend that groups of school age children time their visit to the Flagstaff Station to coincide with studying astronomy in class or working on an astronomy project. This will allow them to derive the maximum benefit from the visit.


Official Visits:

Official visits should be arranged through the office of the Director of the USNO Flagstaff Station using the e-mail contact form.


Drop-in Visitors:

While USNOFS is not optimized for open visitation, unexpected visitors arriving at random times during the regular work week should enter the Navy's station at the east side of the main building (the one at the top of the hill with the large dome on top) and identify themselves to the administrative assistant. Generally, if not on official business, visitors may be escorted on a short tour of the facility if staff manning, operations, and time permit, and may be shown the public areas of the main building. If a member of the staff happens to be free at the time, visitors may also be shown one of the principle telescopes on the station. Those who are seeking a more informative visit and extensive tour should either call in advance to make arrangements at (928) 779-5132, fill out the e-mail contact form, or might wish to visit Lowell Observatory (optimized for public touring) instead. Also note that each fall during Flagstaff's Festival of Science, USNOFS does offer an Open House to the general public, which includes scheduled telescope viewing. The interested public is encouraged to watch media releases on these events for times and dates.

Visitors arriving at night or on weekends and holidays will not be able to enter the buildings, as these are kept locked outside regular hours. All the telescopes at the station are used for mission-related work every clear night and thus are not available for night-time viewing by visitors.


How to get to USNOFS:

The US Naval Observatory's Flagstaff Station is located roughly 5 miles west of downtown Flagstaff, AZ.  Try one of the mapping service  (like Google Maps) for visual directions to the USNOFS.

  • From downtown Flagstaff: drive south on Milton Road to the intersection with Old Route 66 (Business 40). Go West on 66, 2 miles beyond Woody Mountain Campground, to interchange with I-40. Look for green sign on right side of road for "U.S. Naval Observatory". Turn right after sign on a paved road. Follow the road about 2 miles to the top of the hill and the USNO gate. The main building will be straight ahead. Parking and entrance are on the east side.
  • From Phoenix: go north on I-17 to the outskirts of Flagstaff. Take the exit onto I-40 westbound. Exit I-40 West at Exit 191 (Business 40). The exit road bends to the right in a hairpin turn. As soon as you reach the main road, look for the green "U.S. Naval Observatory" sign and turn left on to the paved road. Follow the road about 2 miles to the top of the hill and the USNO gate. The main building will be straight ahead. Parking and entrance are on the east side.
  • From eastbound I-40: take I-40 to Exit 191 (Business 40). This exit will lead you around to a T-intersection. Turn left at the T and look for the green "U.S. Naval Observatory" sign. Turn right at the sign on to the paved road. Follow the road about 2 miles to the top of the hill and the USNO gate. The main building will be straight ahead. Parking and entrance are on the east side.
  • From westbound I-40: Exit I-40 West at Exit 191 (Business 40). The exit road bends to the right in a hairpin turn. As soon as you reach the main road, look for the green "U.S. Naval Observatory" sign and turn left on to the paved road. Follow the road about 2 miles to the top of the hill and the USNO gate. The main building will be straight ahead. Parking and entrance are on the east side.