· Frequently Asked Questions ·
Q: What is the cost/What are your hours/How do I get there?
A: Answers to these and similar questions may be found on the Visit page.
Q: What are you doing for the August 21st, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse?
A: Goldendale is slightly north of the Path of Totality, but special events are still being planned.
Please monitor the Solar Eclipse page for updates.
Q: Will you mail me a brochure?
A: Brochures are not available during the 2017 facility upgrade and its associated scheduling changes.
Q: What is there to see at the Observatory?
A: Unlike many observatories open to the public, Goldendale Observatory is not a museum. Afternoon and evening programs involve informative lessons supported by live public telescope observation. Check the show and telescope pages for more information.
Q: Can the telescopes see through clouds?
A: No, but engaging multimedia presentations still take place during poor viewing conditions.
Q: Is the Observatory kid-friendly?
A: Kids have fun at Goldendale Observatory, but guardians should keep a watchful eye on young hands as there are many fragile antiques and sensitive instruments in the facility. Additionally, young children do well during our daytime solar shows, but may have trouble staying awake in the evening.
Q: Do I need a reservation?
A: Only if you are bringing more than 10 people.
Q: Does a reservation mean that no one else will be at the park during my visit?
A: No. Reservations simply provide advance notice for staff and prevent overlap with other large groups. VIP special use permits are available for $200 per 4 hours during times when the facility is normally closed.
Q: May I bring my pet to the observatory?
A: Only service dogs are allowed inside the observatory buildings - no exceptions. Individuals with animals indoors, off leashes, or leaving waste will be ticketed.
Q: May I show up whenever I like? What about after hours?
A: It is highly recommended that visitors plan around program schedules. The facility does not remain open after hours and gates close at midnight. Arriving in the middle of presentations can be disruptive for staff and other guests. Please see the visit page for showtimes and special events.
Q: May I bring my own telescope or camera and set it up at the Observatory?
A: Absolutely, but please choose a location that does not obstruct visitor foot traffic.
Q: I have purchased and named a star; can it be viewed at the Observatory?
A: Perhaps. Purchased stars are unofficial and limited to faint stars which can be challenging and time consuming to locate, even with a telescope. We ask that individuals wait until the end of the show to attempt these viewings. Please confirm that the star is up during the month in question by determining what constellation it is in.
Q: May I sleep, camp out, or hook-up an RV at the Observatory overnight?
A: No. Goldendale Observatory is not a camping park, but there is sufficient space to park an RV during regular operating hours. For camping, please consider Brooks Memorial or Maryhill State Parks, both less than 20 minutes from the Observatory North and South, respectively. Local motels, such as ThePonderosa and Quality Inn & Suites are also available for those wishing to stay overnight.
Q: Will Observatory staff discuss my religious questions or statements?
A: No. The Goldendale Observatory is a secular and publicly funded and staffed State Park facility. Staff are not permitted to discuss or endorse any individuals or groups privately or publicly held faith, religious beliefs, or philosophy. Doing so would be unconstitutional under state and federal law, which prohibits public entities from favoring one religious view or belief system over another, or favoring religion over nonreligion. Please be considerate of other visitors and staff who may hold other, or no systems of belief.
Note: Astrology, as well as ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and other mythologies may be discussed as they relate to modern and historical astronomical terms, constellations, etc.