Observatory Visitors with Additional Needs
The Cincinnati Observatory strives to share the universe and our historic site with all our visitors, and to comply with ADA guidelines, will make all reasonable accommodations to ensure a positive experience when visiting the Observatory
However please note that there are limitations imposed by our architecture, being a National Historic Landmark, and our being a functioning astronomical observatory. The physical act of getting to the telescope’s eyepiece for viewing can also be an issue. The eyepieces on our two main telescopes can be anywhere from 4 feet to over 14 feet above the floor, which typically requires climbing a stepped platform to reach.
There is level parking directly adjacent to both buildings. While there are no marked parking places, with notice we can reserve places with cones or signage.
The main public areas are relatively level and have blacktop or brick paths and walkways. There is an ADA compliant outdoor drinking fountain and two benches for seating.
1873 Observatory Building
Designed by leading architect Samuel Hannaford, the 1873 building is accessible by either the front entrance (9 steps with railings) or though the side walkway entrance which leads to a ADA compliant elevator/lift. The lift is a suitable size for individuals with canes, walkers or a standard-size manual wheelchair. The lift may not be suitable for wheelchairs with legs rest extended or motorized wheelchairs. The lift brings visitors to the main floor which houses the office, classroom, museum exhibits and event space.
The side door and lift also provide access to the unisex restroom although navigating the narrow basement hallways may be a limitation. Restroom access is easier in the other building.
The Telescope Dome Room is only accessible by stairs. A total of 27 stairs with 3 landings and one handrail. As noted above, reaching the telescope eyepiece usually involves additional steps.
1904 Observatory Building
The 1904 observatory houses our main classroom, original 1845 telescope, gift shop and two accessible restrooms. The front entrance has 5 steps but no handrails. There is an ADA compliant ramp to the side entrance which brings visitors into the main floor with access to the classroom, gift shop, lobby and restrooms. The is a drinking fountain indoors.
The Telescope Dome Room is only accessible by 5 steps with handrails on both sides. As noted above, reaching the telescope eyepiece usually involves additional steps.
The Cincinnati Observatory wants all our visitors to have a great experience. If you need additional assistance please inform us when making reservations or before visiting. Depending on staffing and equipment available, staff and/or volunteers may be able offer individualized tours and use of a portable telescope for stargazing.
Due to our limited budget we do not necessarily have on-hand staff with the skills to fully assist vision, hearing or physically/developmentally impaired visitors. However we actively work with organizations that do provide these services for their clients and encourage them to experience the Observatory. For more information please call 513-321-5186.