3489 Observatory Place
Cincinnati, OH 45208
Monday - Friday12 PM - 4 PM
Public lectures & Viewing most Thursday & Friday Evenings. School, Scout and special events throughout the year.
Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
Group Tours
Craig Niemi, Executive Director
Dean Regas, Outreach Astronomer
Anna Hehman, Development Director
John Ventre, Historican
Samantha Pepper, Historian
Richard A. Davis, Museum Curator
Kelsey Stryfee, Docent / Admin Assistant


Located atop the rolling hills of Mt. Lookout, the Cincinnati Observatory is home to the world's oldest telescope still in use nightly by the general public. Two handsome National Historic Landmark buildings and the beautiful grounds provide a serene, park-like setting while still being centrally located in the city of Cincinnati.


The mission of the Cincinnati Observatory Center will be to maintain the integrity and heritage of a historic 19th century observatory while promoting the study and practice of 21st century astronomy and science.


The Cincinnati Observatory Center is known as "The Birthplace of American Astronomy." It houses one of the oldest working telescopes and was the first public observatory in the western hemisphere.

On the 9th of November, 1843, a crowd of thousands witnessed former president John Quincy Adams preside over the dedication of the observatory, "The Lighthouse of the Sky," and the laying of the cornerstone. It was at the dedication that Adams gave his last public speech.

In 1979 the Observatory formally became part of the Physics Department of the University of Cincinnati. The Observatory continued to be used for public education as well as for research by graduate students and others at the University of Cincinnati.

Artifacts Collections

Houses a collection of astronomy & space science artifacts from the late 19th to early 20th century including two historic (1845 & 1904), fully functioning telescopes.

Research Collections

Our research collection is in process of being catalogued. Inquiries are welcome.

Educational Programs

  • Daytime tours
  • 2nd & 4th Sunday Tours
  • Public Astronomy Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Special events related to astronomical events (eclipses, planets visible, meteor showers, etc).
  • K-12 field trips and outreach programs.
  • University Programs
  • Class and events for Lifelong Learners.
  • Member programs and activities


Situated on 14 over 10 acres of urban green-space our campus includes two late 19th century observatories. /// Two vintage telescopes /// Two classrooms /// Museum/Exhibit space /// Restrooms /// Outdoor features include a 450' (1"=1 million miles)scaled planet walk and interactive patio sundial.


Lecture Halls


A 501c3 the Observatory currently has a 19 members board of trustees.


  • Monthly Newsletter.
  • Annual report.
  • Regularly refreshed website (weekly or more often).
  • Daily postings to Facebook and other social media.


The Cincinnati Observatory strives to share the universe and our historic site with all our visitors, and to comply with ADA guidelines, will make all reasonable accommodations to ensure a positive experience when visiting the Observatory.


There is level parking directly adjacent to both buildings. While there are no marked parking places, with notice we can reserve places with cones or signage.


The main public areas are relatively level and have blacktop or brick paths and walkways. There is an ADA compliant outdoor drinking fountain and two benches for seating.

1873 Observatory Building: Designed by leading architect Samuel Hannaford, the 1873 building is accessible by either the front entrance (9 steps with railings) or though the side walkway entrance which leads to a ADA compliant elevator/lift.

1904 Observatory Building: The 1904 observatory houses our main classroom, original 1845 telescope, gift shop and two accessible restrooms. The front entrance has 5 steps but no handrails. There is an ADA compliant ramp to the side entrance which brings visitors into the main floor with access to the classroom, gift shop, lobby and restrooms.

However please note that there are limitations imposed by our architecture, being a National Historic Landmark, and our being a functioning astronomical observatory. The physical act of getting to the telescope?s eyepiece for viewing can also be an issue. The eyepieces on our two main telescopes can be anywhere from 4 feet to over 14 feet above the floor, which typically requires climbing a stepped platform to reach.

Complete information on our website or feel free to call.

Wheelchair Accessible




Gift Shop

A modest gift shop of Observatory branded, astronomical books/merchandise and telescopes.

We offer the 1873 building for weddings, receptions and other private events. Also corporate retreats/business meetings. (~75 person capacity)

Rent the Observatory

The Observatory is a lovely, unique, park like setting ideal for smaller, intimate wedding ceremonies, receptions, business meetings, dinners, cocktail parties, adult birthdays and reunions. To schedule an walk-through, check availability, or schedule an event, please contact Kelsey Stryffe at 513-321-5186,

Gift Shop

Special Event Rental

Group Tours