This post is all obout the birthplace of modern astrophysics, Yerkes Observatory.
Yerkes Observatory is a wonderful place to visit if you are in the Lake Geneva area. Founded in 1892 it is known as the birthplace of modern astrophysics (a branch of space science that seeks to understand the universe) and had the largest refracting telescope. For over 100 years Yerkes was a center for astrophysics and scientists from around the world visited, including Albert Einstein in 1921!
From 1897 to 2018 the observatory was owned and operated by the University of Chicago but in May of 2020 ownership was transferred to the non-profit Yerkes Future Foundation. Today the observatory is open to the public! You can walk the grounds free of charge or elect to take a tour of the inside. Tours range from 1.25 to 1.45 hours and can be booked online here.
The iconic Yerkes dome can also be seen from various points on the lake. If you are out enjoying the lake, try to spot the dome over the trees!
I highly recommend walking the grounds. The architecture is beautiful and it is a fun way to spend some time outside, and a free activity! After hiking I suggest going to Steamers for a coffee (located in the Green Grocer) or the Frosty Moose for an ice cream treat! Both places are a 5 minute drive from Yerkes in downtown Williams Bay, so very easy to get to!
Location: 373 W. Geneva Street, Williams Bay, WI
Hours: Friday/Saturday/Monday 9:30am-5pm; Sunday 11:30am-5pm
In 2022 the observatory started the “World’s Tallest Glass Tree” event in December.
The Tree is crafted using recycled glass bottles donated by the community, crushed, and melted in a mobile furnace to the consistency of honey. Artists will wrap the liquid glass around a 31-foot tall spinning steel structure until it is covered entirely in glass. On the event’s final night, a four-and-a-half-foot tall hand-blown star tops off the Tree for a total height of 35-and-a-half feet.
This festive, creative celebration of the holiday season takes place over three weekends (Fridays through Sundays), Dec. 2-4, 9-11, and 16-18. At sundown on Sunday, Dec. 18, topping the Tree with a four-and-a-half-foot tall blown glass star completes the installation.
This post was all about Yerkes Observatory.