· Frequently Asked Questions ·
(Updated March 2018 for Stonehenge campus operations)
Q: Why are you tearing down Goldendale Observatory?
A: Goldendale Observatory has developed a good problem; being too popular. A multi-phase capital upgrade project of considerable scope has been approved by the Washington State Legislature. Most of the campus structures built in 1973 are being demolished in preparation for construction of a much larger and more modern facility capable of serving large crowds. Visit the upgrade page for more info.
Q: Can I still visit Goldendale Observatory during the facility upgrade project?
A: No, the facility is closed and its gates locked until project completion in Summer of 2019. Observatory programs will continue at the nearby Maryhill Stonehenge War Memorial campus until project completion. The visit page includes directions to this new location.
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: Will observatory programs at the Stonehenge campus be different?
A: Yes. Without permanent structures like observing domes, programs will primarily take place outdoors with the aid of portable telescopes. The on-campus visitor center has been converted into classroom space.
Q: Do I need a reservation? And does a reservation grant me exclusive access?
A: Reservations do not guarantee exclusive facility access and are only required if you are bringing more than 10 people. Reservations are intended to prevent scheduling overlap with other large groups.
Q: May I show up whenever I like? What about after hours?
A: It is highly recommended that visitors plan around observatory program schedules. Arriving in the middle of presentations can be disruptive for staff and other guests and the facility does not remain open after hours. Please consult the visit page for showtimes and special events.
Q: What is the visiting schedule for non-observatory functions at the Stonehenge campus?
A: The Maryhill Stonehenge War Memorials are open 7 days a week year-round from sunrise until sunset.
Q: May I bring my pet to observatory shows?
A: Only vested and documented service dogs are allowed inside the campus buildings - no exceptions. Individuals with animals indoors, off leashes, or leaving waste will be ticketed.
Q: Are the observatory programs 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 may have trouble staying awake for the entirety of evening shows.
Q: Can the telescopes see through clouds?
A: No, but engaging indoor multimedia presentations still take place during poor viewing conditions.
Q: May I bring my own telescope or camera and set it up during observatory shows?
A: Absolutely, but please choose a location that does not obstruct visitor foot traffic.
Q: Are there indoor restroom facilities at the Stonehenge campus?
A: No. However, portable outdoor units are provided.
Q: May I sleep, camp out, or hook-up an RV at the Stonehenge campus overnight?
A: No. The Stonehenge War Memorial is not a camping park, but there is sufficient space to park an RV during regular operating hours. For camping, please consider nearby Brooks Memorial or Maryhill State Parks. Local motels, such as ThePonderosa and Quality Inn & Suites are also available.
Q: I have purchased and named a star; can it be viewed during Observatory programs?
A: Perhaps. Purchased stars are unofficial and limited to faint stars which can be challenging and time consuming to locate, even by experienced telescope operators. 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: Will Observatory staff discuss my religious questions or statements?
A: No. The Goldendale Observatory and its satellite campuses are secular and publicly funded and staffed State Park facilities. 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 belief system over another, or favoring religion over nonreligion. Please be considerate of others 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.