aWe’re always looking for fun and unique ways to spend time with the kids, and if you do the same, sometimes it’s great to have things that don’t cost huge amounts.
With 5 kids, it’s impossible for us to find places to visit that are free or largely discounted – this is one of our kids favorite things to do on Friday and Saturday nights.
If you are in the East Valley, head to Gilbert on Friday and Saturday nights to the local Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory – across the lake from the Southeast Regional Library. The observatory has a 16 inch reflector lens telescope that allows the public to view details on Jupiter, Saturn, and the colorful double stars of our distant planetary system.
Park in the area right by the Riparian Preserve, on the Southeast Corner of Greenfield and Guadalupe and you will walk just over the small hill (or around the path) to the telescope.
The observatory began in 2006 when The Riparian Institute raised funds for the $100,000 project – which included the Rotary Club as a major sponsor.
The Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory is open every Friday and Saturday for public viewing from dark until 9:30 p.m. Join them on the 2nd Friday of each month for their Public Star Party
Things to Know before you Go:
- Attendance is free – however, a donation of $3 for an adult or $5 per family is suggested and highly appreciated
- Children of all ages are welcome if accompanied by adult
- Groups of 15 or more will require advance arrangements, and private sessions are available for for $5 per person (min $45 fee)
- Viewers should not physically touch the telescope, as it will cause the image to shake
- Refrain from using cameras or cell phones during your visit
- Mosquitos love to nibble at your legs while you stand in line to view – so please make sure you bring some type of pest repellent or DIY your own (it’s super effective!)
Educational videos are available to watch on the patio if there are people waiting to use the telescope, that are great for kids to see
Have you been to the Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory?