Lowell Observatory.

Lowell Observatory

Field review by the editors.

Flagstaff, Arizona

Just one mile off of the then-nonexistent Route 66, Lowell Observatory was built in the 1890s by Percival Lowell, the wealthy son of an elite New England family. Lowell became obsessed with the idea that canals had been dug on Mars -- and with enough money to do whatever he wanted, he had the Observatory built so that he could spend his nights gazing at his favorite planet. Photos from the time always showed Lowell peering into the eyepiece of his big telescope wearing a three-piece suit and a hat.

Nowadays, depending on the weather and availability -- this is still a working observatory -- visitors can view Lowell's hand-drawn "maps" of the Red Planet's canal system, peer through his Mars telescope, or view the heavens through another large telescope he had built at the Observatory to find what he called "Planet X." This telescope was later used, long after Lowell had died, to discover Pluto (His widow tried and failed to have it named "Percival").

Another highlight at the Observatory is Lowell's mausoleum; it's glass-domed, so he can forever be bathed in starlight.

Lowell Observatory

1400 W. Mars Hill Rd, Flagstaff, AZ
From Route 66, at the intersection of S. Milton Rd and W. Santa Fe Ave., drive west on W. Santa Fe Ave. for one mile. It becomes W. Mars Hill Rd and ends at the Observatory.
Hours, tours vary with weather and telescope availability. Call ahead. (Call to verify)
Adults $17.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Bicentennial Moon TreeBicentennial Moon Tree, Flagstaff, AZ - < 1 mi.
Lumberjack Muffler Man - IndoorsLumberjack Muffler Man - Indoors, Flagstaff, AZ - 2 mi.
Lumberjack Muffler Man - Outside: World's First?Lumberjack Muffler Man - Outside: World's First?, Flagstaff, AZ - 2 mi.
In the region:
Bra Tree, Flagstaff, AZ - 9 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Arizona

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in Arizona.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use RoadsideAmerica.com's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights

Map and Plan Your Own Roadside Adventure

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

Arizona Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Hot Dog Muffler Man, Atlanta, Illinois (Jan 25-31, 2021)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

RoadsideAmerica.com Hotel & Motel Finder

Special rates for hotels.

Book Now