Ever look up into the Arizona night sky and wonder? Bright city lights keep us from seeing into the vastness of the dark canopy above, but how can we look at the constellations beyond? Is it possible to get an astronomy fix here in Phoenix? Lucky for us, Arizona is a great place for budding and seasoned astronomers. How about astronomy for the whole family. Best of all, it doesn’t cost much to see some great celestial sights in Phoenix. Keep reading for the best cheap options for stargazing and more astronomy-fun.
Astronomy Nights at Mesa Community College Planetarium
Head on over to Mesa Community College to enjoy free planetarium shows for the whole family. The Mesa Community College planetarium is state of the art and offers an excellent chance to show your family and friends the wonders of a planetarium. Astronomy Nights are the first Friday of the month in February, March, April, & May and September, October, November, & December.
Its located at the Dobson and Southern campus.
Shows run from 6 to 10 p.m. every 30 minutes, and tickets are free on a first-come, first-served basis. You must reserve tickets in advance. Click here for more information.
Dorrance Planetarium at the Arizona Science Center
Located at the Arizona Science Center, Dorrance Planetarium is one of the largest, most advanced planetariums in the US. The planetarium features a NanoSeam design, “the world’s first of its kind at a science center or museum.” With credentials like that, you can’t miss an astronomy show at the Dorrance Planetarium. Check out the current show, “Arizona Skies”. Not the cheapest venue, but well worth it for a special family outing. Click here for showtimes, costs, and descriptions.
Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, Tucson
If you’re looking for a quick trip to Tucson (roughly 1.5 hours from Phoenix), visit the University of Arizona Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium for an affordable, interactive science center experience. With your general admission ticket, you also get one ticket to the planetarium.
Click here for an updated show schedule and descriptions.
Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff
One of Arizona’s most famous historic landmarks, a true wannabe astronomer or space-fanatic won’t want to miss a trip to Flagstaff, AZ to visit the Lowell Observatory. Learn about the solar system, galaxies, the history of astronomy, and enjoy an outdoor constellation tour. Click here for tour times and entrance fees.
Other local stargazing opportunities
Stargazing at Adero Scottsdale Resort
Local astronomers, “The Star Dudes” are on-hand to assist and educate about the solar system and how to navigate the night sky from the Adero Scottsdale Resort. Resort guests and the public are welcome to spot some of the major constellations and visible deep-sky objects with special binoculars and telescopes for free. Stargazing takes place every Friday from 8 to 10 pm in November, 2022. Click here for more information.
Spring Astronomy Week, at Arizona Science Center
Explore the sun, moon, and stars during the Arizona Science Center’s Spring Astonomy Week, April 24 – 30, 2023. All Astronomy Week activities are included with general admission to the Science Center. Children under 3 are free. Click here for more information.
Any planetarium or free/cheap stargazing in Phoenix activities we missed? Let us know in the comments!