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Yerkes Observatory, Williams Bay

(4.7/5 based on 130+ reviews on the web)
Yerkes Observatory is located in Williams Bay. Make Yerkes Observatory a part of your Williams Bay vacation plans using our Williams Bay tourist route planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Learned a lot about the Observatory. Learned what is and is not accurate in movies about astronomy. They answered all m questions. 
  • We enjoyed visiting here. I would recommend staying for the tour and learning about the largest refracting telescope. The tour last about an hour, hour and a half. They also explain the history of the...  more »
  • Beautiful fall day, historic architecture and bountiful stellar information! History about the building, the telescope, the star gazing. 
Google
  • Outstanding!!! As a kid I remember riding by all the time. Well last year I found this hidden gem again. I highly recommend doing the guided tour during the day, so much history in this building. Ask if they have any spaces left for the night viewing through one of the scopes as well, there are stairs you will have to climb for that. It is well worth the money.
  • A must miss! Rude tour guide! Erroneous details... My family and I showed up for the noon tour at the observatory. We walked up to the front door and found it was locked. We saw through the building that the back door was open so we walked around to the back to inquire about the tour. We realized that the tour guide was finishing up the tour before ours. We just decided to wait by the tour since there was no where else to wait. Then the tour group went inside and we followed since it was noon and we wanted to pay for our tour. However, the tour guide shut the door on us. I thought it must be an accident. No, it was intentional. We knocked and another tour member had to let us in. When we walked through the door, we were greeted by the tour guide scolding us that we should have come in through the front door. We responded that it was locked. He continued to be rude to us. We tried to explain that we have never been here before and didn't know. He just blatantly ignored us and continued with the tour even though it was after the noon time at this point. We just walked out. Why would we take a tour with someone who was incredibly rude and sarcastic.
  • Very awesome tour. Richard did a great job covering the history of the people behind the observatory, as well as the observatory itself. Even though it was extremely windy outside and the weather was crappy and there was only two of us, we still got the full tour. Definitely worth the $8 each.
  • I did a field trip here with my fellow UChicago students. It was just an amazing experience. The scale of the 40-inch refracting telescope was just shocking. I heard of it when I was in middle school but not until I actually saw it I did not know how the grandeur of a human engineering project can be comparable to the human wisdom.
  • Went there on 8/8/15 and had a great time. This is about the 4th time I have been there over the years and it is always interesting. It is free, but suggested donation is $8 per person and I think well worth it. Every time I have been there, it has been a little different as each tour guide has their own little routine and style. The building architecture and history there is fascinating and almost as interesting as the telescope part of the tour. For maximum benefit, bone up on the history of the observatory a little before you go and it will probably be a little more interesting. Tour takes about an hour total.