Safety is important to us. Yerkes Observatory follows federal, state, and local laws regarding COVID-19 mask use and safety. When a mandate or ordinance has been updated, we will update our policy accordingly.
Plan a Visit
Here’s how to make your visit
a cosmic experience.
Plan to enjoy Yerkes Observatory at your leisure. Tours take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Grounds trails are level and covered in either wood chips or fine gravel; you may prefer hiking shoes, but they are not a must.
On inside tours, you’ll likely see historic scientific equipment and artifacts. We ask that you do not touch the objects due to their fragile nature.
On the grounds, please stay on the marked paths or designated picnic areas.
If thunderstorms occur in the area, the grounds will close until the storm passes.
Yerkes Observatory is a smoke-free environment. Please do not use tobacco products or e-cigarettes/vaping.
Photography is generally permitted inside the building and on the grounds. From time to time, special exhibits may restrict photography; these will be clearly marked.
Welcome to Yerkes Observatory
The ticket prices for tours of the inside of the Observatory can be found by clicking the button below. There is no cost for exploring the exterior of the campus. You can walk the outdoor trails as you please. Non-ticketed visitors who are only visiting for the grounds are asked to park in the grassy, shaded lot on the southeast side of our campus adjacent to the paved lot. The parking sign reads Grounds Visitors.
Hours subject to change
- Sunday 11:30AM – 5:00PM
- Monday 9:30AM – 5:00PM
- Tuesday CLOSED
- Wednesday CLOSED
- Thursday CLOSED
- Friday 9:30AM – 5:00PM
- Saturday 9:30AM – 5:00PM
On occasion Yerkes Observatory is closed for private events, such as weddings, corporate gatherings and private tours and/or parties. Prior to planning your visit please click here to confirm availability.
Abundant free parking is available in our new lot on the east side of the Observatory. When you enter the grounds, signs will direct you to available spaces.
Our current tour offerings are walking tours that require navigating intricate spaces and climbing staircases, thus they are not handicap accessible. Designed and built in 1895, Yerkes Observatory is a historic landmark that we are working to make accessible for all to enjoy. As part of our renovations, we finished our wheelchair-friendly bathrooms but a lift elevator is under construction to ensure accessibility in the future. We are also working with Parkitecture, a Wisconsin-based landscape design firm, to create wheelchair-accessible trails on our grounds.
If you have any additional questions or recommendations on how we could improve your experience, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Yerkes Observatory offers a variety of tours of the building and grounds.
Ground floor of the Yerkes Observatory, 1897
Programs & Special Events
Classes, sci-fi movie nights, star-gazing evenings, concerts, and more—Yerkes Observatory is a happening place.
Take your group on a field trip to space! Yerkes Observatory welcomes school classes, scouting troops, community organizations, and the like. Tours last 1 hour and 15 minutes and encompass the history and architecture of the Observatory, the scientists who worked here, and ongoing restoration work. Discounts available for groups of 15 or more. If you’re looking for an outing that’s educational, entertaining, and experiential, the stars align at Yerkes. Contact us for reservations.
Private Event Availability
Make your wedding, corporate meeting, or family reunion truly memorable. Yerkes is as unique an event venue as you’ll find. Offering a magnificent backdrop would be enough, but our event planners go the extra mile to help you imagine and execute the perfect gathering.
Weddings—the sky’s the limit
On the scenic grounds, inside the stately halls, high noon, sunset, intimate few, adoring throng—personalize your wedding to the nth degree at Yerkes. This is the place where dreams become realities, after all. And start your celebration with a rehearsal dinner in one of our elegant reception spaces.
Meetings, retreats, corporate events—focus on your business
Think outside the box for your next outside-the-office gathering. Yerkes offers an impressive setting to welcome employees and guests. Flexible spaces can accommodate virtually any kind of program, and food and beverage services can be arranged.