2024 Summer Series Public Events have been scheduled!
Event Information

Sunset over Lick Observatory with open domes. Photo by Laurie Hatch

Public Evening Tours at Lick Observatory

Our “behind the scenes” style 4 – 6 hour walking tour of Lick Observatory will start at the main building’s Visitor Center. Participants can learn about the unique history of the world’s first permanently occupied mountaintop observatory, the eccentric California pioneer James Lick, technology used for observing on different telescopes along the tour route, and current science being conducted at Lick Observatory.

A highlight of the tour will be visiting the dome of the 3-meter Shane Telescope to see the mountain’s largest telescope up close. After the walking tour, there will be an opportunity to enjoy the sunset, and the Gift Shop will be open. During twilight, a history lecture about James Lick and the construction of the observatory will be presented. Once the sky is dark (and weather permitting), viewing celestial objects through the historic 36-inch Great Refractor Telescope will commence. Insights will be provided throughout the evening on how we find planets beyond our solar system, how exploding stars teach us about the evolution of the universe, how we discern the nature of galaxies and black holes, how new technologies are used to undo the blurring effects of Earth’s atmosphere, and about Lick Observatory’s rich astronomical history and bright scientific future.

Complimentary coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are included with the tour. The event will last approximately 4 to 6 hours. Visitors should be prepared to walk about one mile during the evening, including taking stairs. Events are held rain or shine.

Please note: Weather may restrict telescope viewings, but other activities will still take place. Due to safety regulations and the nature of the event, children must be at least 12 years of age for admission and accompanied by an adult. Due to historic construction of telescope domes and safety concerns, the telescopes are not wheelchair accessible at this time. Those having difficulty navigating stairs may also find the telescopes inaccessible.

Public Evening Tours in 2024

Schedule of Events

Friday

May 3rd

6:00pm

Sunday

May 5th

6:00pm

Friday

May 10th

6:00pm

Saturday

May 11th

6:00pm

Sunday

May 12th

6:00pm

Friday

May 31st

6:00pm

Sunday

June 2nd

6:30pm

Friday

June 7th

6:30pm

Sunday

June 9th

6:30pm

Thursday

June 13th

6:30pm

Sunday

June 16th

6:30pm

Sunday

June 30th

6:30pm

Friday

July 5th

6:30pm

Sunday

July 7th

6:30pm

Thursday

July 11th

6:30pm

Sunday

July 14th

6:30pm

Thursday

July 25th

6:30pm

Sunday

July 28th

6:30pm

Friday

August 2nd

6:30pm

Sunday

August 4th

6:30pm

Thursday

August 8th

6:30pm

Sunday

August 11th

6:30pm

Thursday

August 22nd

6:00pm

Sunday

August 25th

6:00pm

Friday

September 6th

6:00pm

Sunday

September 8th

6:00pm

Friday

September 13th

5:30pm

Saturday

September 21st

5:30pm

Sunday

September 22nd

5:30pm

Sunday

September 29th

5:30pm

 

Ticket Information

The Public Evening Tour is typically offered Sunday and Thursday evenings throughout the summer months to accommodate a variety of people’s schedules. Late arrivals for ticket holders can be accommodated until sunset, when the gate closes.

Tickets are priced at $75 per person (capacity of max. 40 people on each tour).

Tickets always sell out fast!

Tickets will be available to the general public starting Wednesday April 17, 2024 at noon on Eventbrite. There is a limit of 4 tickets per customer.
EARLY TICKETS: If you’d like early access to purchase next summer’s tickets, join our Friends of Lick Observatory (FoLO) program by March 1st, 2024. As a thank you for supporting the observatory, you’ll get special access to purchase tickets one week before the general public. Please email tickets@ucolick.org if you have any questions.
Our upcoming Public Evening Tours will have the following COVID-19 safety protocols:

  • COVID-19 safety protocols may change according to the conditions in Santa Clara County and the University of California Santa Cruz policies to ensure the safety of visitors, staff and volunteers.   Ticket purchasers will be notified of the current safety protocols and masking rules shortly before the event.
  • By purchasing a ticket, you agree to abide by the COVID policies in place at the time of the event.

Assistance

We strive to make your visit as complete and meaningful as possible. Please let us know if you will need special assistance (for example, if you will have difficulty climbing stairs), so we can make the necessary arrangements. Please note: Due to historic construction of the telescope domes, the 36-inch Refractor and the 3-m Shane telescopes are not wheelchair accessible at this time.

Driving to Lick Observatory

Please allow a one-hour drive from San Jose. The road is good, but windy. The event typically lasts between 4 and 6 hours; prepare to drive home late in the evening. There are no automative services or gas stations for 20 miles, so please plan ahead. See more information on driving directions and parking here.

Join the Mailing List

Join the Summer Series mailing list to get updates on when events are scheduled, when tickets will go on sale,  and announcements of new programs.