Tours at Palomar Observatory
Palomar Observatory is closed today due to the dangerous conditions created by snow and ice on the roads and walkways.
The following options are available to Palomar Observatory visitors:
Most Palomar visitors will tour the accessible areas (see map below) on their own.
Public Guided Tours (April – October)
In 2023, the guided tours will tentatively be offered on weekends starting Saturday April 1 until Sunday October 29.
Public guided tours of the 200-inch (5.1-meter) Hale Telescope are available to visitors on the weekends (Saturday and Sunday) spring through fall—typically from the first weekend in April to the last weekend October.
The tours are roughly one hour long, and limited-availability tickets (sold exclusively on a day-of and first-come, first served basis) are required. Please plan accordingly.
Time and Location
Public tour start times are 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 2:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Please follow the signs from the Visitor Center to the tour meeting point. Tours start on the northwest side of the Hale Telescope dome (immediately to the left of the large service doors as viewed facing the dome from the west). To ensure you make your tour (and in consideration of others) please be on time.
Public tour tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are sold in the Observatory Gift Shop in the Greenway Visitor Center the day of the tour. We cannot offer online or advance ticket sales. The Gift Shop opens at 9:15 am and tickets go on sale for all tours that day at that time.
Tickets are $5.00 per person, $3.00 for children (ages 5 through 12) and seniors (age 65 and over), maximum 6 tickets per customer. Tour presentations are unsuitable for children under 5 years of age, hence our minimum age requirement.
Please note that tours may be cancelled due to Observatory operations or available staffing. Check this page for updates.
Questions? We've answered many common visiting, media, and academic questions in our public FAQ page.