The Houston Museum of Natural Science George Observatory, is located about an hour from central Houston. In this blog post I will share some tips on stargazing at Brazos Bend State Park, inside George Observatory, that I wish I would have known before purchasing my tickets.
There are 3 telescopes that are used for research and education. The observatory consists of a 36-inch Gueymard Telescope which is one of the largest telescopes in the country along with 2 smaller domes.
The observatory is within Brazos Bend State Park and reopened in March after two years of renovations. Purchase a ticket to experience Saturday stargazing and real time camera feeds from the telescopes, interactions with astronomers, and a laser tour of the night sky.
1) Book your tickets to the George Observatory way in advance
Tickets to the George Observatory are now available online on a limited, and timed capacity basis. First things first, purchase your tickets to the observatory through the Houston Museum of Natural Science website. Stargazing is offered on Saturday nights at 9pm & 10pm.
However, tickets are not sold onsite so make reservations online as soon as possible because they will sell out. Tickets for adults and children are both $10 each. Click here to book your tickets.
2) Book a ticket to Brazos Bend State Park
The George Observatory is located inside Brazos Bend State Park. Although, your ticket to the George Observatory does not include a park entrance reservation to enter Brazos Bend State Park.
Moreover, purchase your ticket to Brazos Bend State Park here. You will need to create a login for the Texas State Parks website and then purchase a day pass for the 5-10pm time slot. The day pass is $7 for persons 13 years and older.
3) Get there early
Once you enter the park, follow the signs for Observatory, and pullover into the parking lot on the left when you see Observatory parking. Then, walk across the street and there will be a walkway leading you to the observatory.
For instance, I recommend getting there before sunset as the streets around the park are fairly dark at night. We got there early and hung out inside the building which consisted of a small gift shop, and an exhibit hall. Around 9pm, they will call you to line up and head up to the domes. Then, you can explore upstairs at your leisure.
Although, I highly suggest getting to the State Park even earlier and exploring the hikes and trails onsite if you have time.
4) Bring your own binoculars & telescopes
It’s highly recommended you bring your own binoculars and telescopes. There is a huge telescope onsite but it is shared with others so you will have to wait your turn.
Due to COVID, there is no access inside the domes or viewing through the telescopes.
5) Bring your own water & bug spray
As this is summer in Texas, there will be tons of mosquitoes! We learned this the hard way but luckily they sold insect repellent wipes onsite. They come in packs of 2 and we each got a pack and used one wipe for our arms and one wipe for our legs. It definitely made a huge difference.
You can bring your own water or water bottles and then fill up in their water fountain or you can purchase water or soda onsite.
In conclusion, I hope you found the tips on stargazing at Brazos Bend State Park, George Observatory helpful. I hope this makes your visit to the park much easier and enjoyable.
It really was such a cool experience, perfect for the kids and the family, or even date night. Also note that no professional camera is needed to enjoy the stars, I used my iPhone 12 for all my photos. Enjoy!