Last December I took the kids to the George Observatory.
It was not what I expected but it was not a terrible experience. The observatory is located in Needville Texas inside of the Brazos Bend State Park. We have been to the park many times but never to the observatory. Since it is roughly 30 miles outside of Houston there are no lights and the roads are pretty dark out there. Not a big deal but unnerving for the kids since they started to feel nervous being away from the bright city lights. All of that went away once we got into the park. The stars were absolutely beautiful and since there were no lights, aside from trail lights, the view was unobstructed.
Once we parked we had to make our way down a trail that crossed a swamp and lots of thick trees. The park is known for its varied wildlife and of course, its main resident the alligator, so we were pretty watchful. As we got closer to the entrance the trail lights turned from white to red. We read some signs that indicated this was necessary in order to see the stars from the telescope better. So, do not turn on your flashlight to see better or you will be told to turn it off.
We bought tickets to enter the observatory and took the picture at the opening of the article. I forgot I was not supposed to use a flash. Below is the non-flash photo.
Once upstairs where the telescopes were kept we had to stand in long lines. it didn’t help that it was cold outside. Most of the volunteers were happy to be there and were helpful. The kids went in to see the telescopes but the experience was ruined by the grumpy guy helping them with the device. After that, they didn’t want to see anymore, the lines were long and it was cold so we decided to get some pizza afterward.
I do have to say that even though I didn’t look through the telescopes I had more than enough time to star gaze. The sky was so clear and I saw constellations I would not have been able to view in the city.
So, there you have it. Another life list item knocked off.
Don’t take my word for it. Take a trip out there an see it for yourself, the drive and the night sky alone are worth it.