Open to the Public
The EAC Discovery Park Campus is open to the public Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (except that shuttle rides are not given after 4:00 p.m.) and Saturdays from 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. If skies are cloudy, it is very windy, or the Moon is near full on Saturday night, we will close the campus early because it is not possible to safely and effectively use the Tinsley 20" telescope. The main attractions available to the public are conducted in the Gov Aker Observatory building. All of these activities are offered free of charge (except for special events). The Gov Aker Observatory houses a series of of galleries allowing visitors the opportunity to view artifacts from early Gila Valley history on loan drom the Graham County Historical Society, including a heliograph - used by the army in the late 1800s to communicate using the sun to send morse code signals, and a collection of minerals mined in the region.
Other gallery exhibits demonstrate to visitors how light is composed of many colors and light waves. Visitors learn about the Sun and can enter a room to hear the sounds of space. Another exhibit demonstrates how telescope mirrors are constructed under the University of Arizona football stadium, and another explains part of the history of astronomy.
During the day visitors can see the image created by one of the world’s largest camera obscuras. Visitors can also look through the Gov Aker Observatory telescope to see the Sun through special filters.
The Space Shuttle Polaris takes visitors on a virtual tour through the solar system. This high-tech motional simulator blasts off from the Discovery Park Campus, over the 10,720 foot Mt. Graham, to visit each of the planets in the solar system. The on-board “computer” describes the journey to make it a very educational and entertaining experience. Hold on because we don't want any crash landings!
For information about public tours or to make a special reservation, contact the Discovery Park Campus at (928) 428-6260.
Trails and Habitat
The EAC Discovery Park Campus (Discovery Park Campus) includes over four miles of trails criss-crossing the habitat area. Come and enjoy a run of slow walk on the "Nature's Hideaway" 5k course that will take you around the perimeter of the campus and along the Discovery Park pond riparian area. The public is welcome to use these trails during our normal open hours for hiking, jogging, or just enjoying nature. These activities are free of charge. There is access to the habitat area and trails via the walk-through gate connected to the City of Safford walking trails on the north side of the campus along Discovery Park Boulevard. Please do not park your vehicle on the Discovery Park Campus grounds except during public hours, or your vehicle may get locked inside the property. The habitat is a natural area with the plants and animals you would expect to find in the desert southwest. Snakes, gila monsters, bobcats, and coyotes do roam the habitat, as well as roadrunners, rabbits and squirrels. Please be aware of their presence and take appropriate precautions for yourselves, your children, and your pets.
Special Public Events
Throughout the year, EAC and other community groups offer public events at the Discovery Park Campus. These are usually advertised in advance and may include an entrance fee. Events offered in the past include poetry recitals, Astronomy Day, storytelling events , and star parties.