Lick Observatory serves as a leading observational astronomy research and education center open to students, professionals ... More
Lick Observatory serves as a leading observational astronomy research and education center open to students, professionals and public. Each half hour, a 15-minute presentation on the history of the observatory is shown in the 36 inch telescope dome. Some of its attractions include the Great Lick Refractor, the Shane Reflector, astronomical catalogs, various displays and more. In the summer it offers a visitor's program where the public gets the opportunity to gaze through two Lick telescopes as well as a concert series. An on-site shop sells souvenir apparel and gifts with an astronomical flair. Admission is free.
I took my 6, 8, and 10 year old boys here and they really enjoyed this facility. Kids won't stop asking questions and it has sparked thier interest not only in astronomy but engineering. The drive up and down was fun too. The roads are haunted by cyclists so watch out for them!
This is a magical place at the end of a long, twisting drive. What a view -- of the earth and sky! Make sure to hit it on a night when an amateur telescope club is there; show a little interest, and you'll get to gaze the heavens through a bunch of telescopes probably much better than anything you could ever own.
The drive up and down could prove a little bit diffcult for an inexperience driver, but once you reach your destination, everything is worth it :) You get an unobsructed view from the height and clouds of sea can be seen. Beauty of nature, sure worth the trip.
My religion is science, and this was like visiting the "Vatican of Science."
It includes both old and new equipment. It was important in the past and is still an important scientific facility today.
The drive up the winding mountain road was the most memorable trip I have ever taken. It alone was worth the drive from San Francisco. But, it is not for the faint of heart. There is no safety guard rail, and if you go off the edge, you are out of luck (and out of Lick).
Lick Observatory is definitely a destination very different from traditional parks and museums. Lick Observatory is one of the oldest astronomical observation points in the United States, and its atmosphere really reminds you of that.
When visiting, you don't get to look through any telescopes (that's can be done via signing up). You however do get a volunteer to tell a story about how the observatory came to existence, and the personalities involved -- a very interesting story indeed.
It's really not a great place for you children since there isn't any sort of interactive exhibits, but it is a nice place that gives you the feeling that you're on top of the world (on a nice day that is). There is a small gift shop with everything Lick Observatory, or astronomy that's actually reasonably priced. You'll probably end up with a one-of-a-kind shirt to share.
From the Evergreen area, it takes about 30 minutes to traverse very narrow and windy roads to the Mount Hamilton's summit. Start with a full tank of gas, and bring food -- none is available between Evergreen and Mount Hamilton. If you really want to, pack picnic -- Joseph D. Grant Park is along the way and has a nice picnic area.
There is no charge to visit Lick Observatory, but a parking fee may be charged at Joseph D. Grant County Park.
BTW -- It's connection to Santa Cruz rests in that the observatory is run by the University of California, Santa Cruz.