Information for visitors & activities

Visitors centre Siding Spring Observatory Science in the Pub

The Siding Spring Exploratory houses an astronomy exhibition area with hands-on activities for the whole family. Enjoy a great coffee, lunch or a snack at the Exploratory café and browse the wonderful variety of souvenirs and gifts available.

The Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) houses the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) which is the largest optical telescope in Australia. The AAT is an impressive four storeys high and holds a 3.9m, 16 tonne ceramic glass mirror. Inside this massive dome is a visitor viewing gallery open to the public and free of charge. From the gallery you can see the telescope and read about its history and the discoveries it has made.

Behind the AAO building is a lookout which overlooks the iconic Warrumbungle National Park. Take a moment to view the natural beauty of the landscape surrounding Siding Spring Observatory.


Learn about the importance of this area to astronomical research and the natural environment. Enjoy a walk with breathtaking views of the Warrumbungle National Park. Learn more about the various telescopes and international organisations that reside on-site and what it is they observe.

There is a range of activities for visitors to the observatory, including:

  • Tours of the Anglo-Australian Telescope operate Thursday 10 am, and Saturday 2 pm, year-round but must be booked in advance.
  • Group tours for all ages can be organised on request. Please call +61 2 6842 6363 for pricing and availability.
  • A visitor centre with informative and educational displays about telescopes and astronomy.
  • Access to the viewing gallery of the Australian Astronomical Observatory's (AAO) Anglo-Australian Telescope.
  • Spectacular views of the Warrumbungle National Park
  • A cafe and shop at the visitor centre that is stocked with great food and gift ideas. Morning and afternoon teas and light lunches are available - contact us for group pricing.
  • Our annual StarFest celebration is held over the October long weekend. You can meet our astronomers and discover more about the observatory and the science that we do.
  • School holiday activities, including guided walking tours of the observatory and talks by astronomers and scientists.


Please note: Siding Spring Observatory (SSO) is a working research facility and as such we are not open at night for public viewing. Siding Spring Observatory is closed to the general public after 4pm. The use of drones at Siding Spring Observatory is not permitted without prior approval. Please contact us for more information.

For more information on things to see and do at Siding Spring Observatory, including upcoming events, please visit the Siding Spring Observatory web page.

Opening hours

Open 7 Days except Good Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Monday to Saturday: 10am to 4pm Sundays: 10am to 2pm

During times of Severe Fire Danger (or higher) and extreme weather events, the observatory will be closed to visitors.

Please visit the Siding Spring Observatory webpage for more information.