Here are three observatories in the Washington, DC area for families to go stargazing. These observatories offer education and telescopes to learn more about planets, stars, and nebulas and maybe even catch a glimpse of the Milky Way!
Not a far drive from DC, you’ll find Observatory Park at Turner Farm. Fairfax County Park Authority works together with the Analemma Society to host Friday night public viewing stargazing sessions at Turner Farm in Great Falls, Virginia. There are four telescopes set up for use in the Roll-Top Observatory. If your family has a telescope of your own, you’re welcome to bring it! The Observatory also offers programs for Scout Groups (Girl Scouts and BSA).
Follow the Analemma Society on Twitter for last-minute updates on the Observatory viewing sessions.
Admission: FREE for Friday night viewings for the public. You can also register for classes and pay a small fee ranging from $8-10.
George Mason University Observatory hosts public Evening Under the Stars events your star-loving family is sure to enjoy. These evenings include a science talk (great for ages 5 and up) and an hour-long guided telescope tour, perfect for stargazing. Check their calendar for available evenings. The Observatory has eight telescopes, including two from the original observatory which opened in 1975. GMU Observatory also offers an option for private in-person tours. You can schedule one by completing the form on their site.
Parking can be found at Shenandoah Parking Deck Sandy Creek Way, Fairfax, VA 22030.
Looking for an observatory in Maryland to take the family stargazing? Look no further than Montgomery College Astronomical Observatory. It is located on the roof of the Rockville Science Center and is a short drive from DC. This Observatory hosts classes, public viewing events, and workshops for the local community. At their Observatory Guest Nights, they have Astronomy faculty on hand to answer questions and guide observers to see stars and nebulae. Check out their blog for the latest info on upcoming viewing events.
The Montgomery College Astronomical Observatory welcomes children and families, but due to campus policy cannot allow anyone younger than five years old on the roof.
Remember when visiting these Observatories to dress warmly as they are open-air settings. Bundle up and have fun!