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Activities at Comanche Springs

Daytime Activities

Solar Viewing

We have several telescopes built specifically for safe viewing of the Sun. Each telescope shows a different view of the Sun (some show prominences, flares, and other details; while some show sunspots).

Hikes

We have an easy and popular 1.5-mile nature hike to a beaver pond, through short-grass prairie land loaded with native plants and animals.

Geocaching courses

We have a beginner’s geocaching course on the built-up section of campus (no hiking gear required) and an advanced course that leads to our eastern ridge line. Additional courses will be developed. We supply GPS units, or you can bring your own.

Birding

88 different species of birds have been sighted and photographed on our campus. Some species are native and others either migrate through seasonally or overwinter on campus. Many of these birds are rarely seen in urban environments.

Self-guided trails w/ GPS markers

We are developing a series of self-guided trails which feature markers keyed to notes on maps. Each marker describes a particular point of interest.

Meteorite Petting Zoo

By advanced reservation only, we have a meteorite “petting zoo” featuring meteorites found all over the world, and students are allowed to handle the meteorites as well as study them under microscopes.

Photography

Bring your cameras! We offer many different photo opportunities, including wildlife and astronomical photography. Even cell-phone cameras can be used with our telescopes, day and night.

Comanche Springs School Field Trips

3RF provides engaging, meaningful field trips for all age groups. Contact 3RF for additional information.

STAAR Bootcamps

This program is an interactive, hands-on review at Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus for 5th and 8th grade students to prepare them for Science STAAR mastery.

Scouting

Tent camping

We can accommodate both large and small camping groups, from individuals to multiple Scout troops. Our tenting area includes a shade pavilion equipped with hot/cold city water and an electrical outlet. Gear drop-off is available at the tenting site, but parking is limited. Trailer parking is allowed at the camping area.

Short/med/Long hikes (2, 3, 5 miles)

We have hiking trails suitable for all levels of Scouts. All except the entry-level, on-campus hike require sturdy footwear (we are a high-desert area where many types of cacti are common). Adult supervision is required when minors are hiking. Weather is always a factor, so please dress appropriately both for comfort and safety.

Girl Scouting Astronomy Patch, Boy Scout Astronomy Merit Badge, Cub Scout Astronomy Belt Loop instruction

We can provide assistance and instruction for award activities, or we can simply provide support so your leaders can conduct the activities.

Service Projects

Some of our trails were developed as Eagle Scout service projects. Other projects are available, either for individuals, small teams, or whole troops, packs, or dens.

Nighttime Activities

Telescope Observing

We have the largest privately-owned collection of astronomical telescopes in the world, and we provide them free of charge for public education. Our largest scopes are 30 inches in aperture, and many are driven by state-of-the-art computerized mounting systems. All are attended by knowledgeable astronomers eager to introduce you to the wonders and mysteries of the night sky. We have free, public star parties two Saturdays each month, and are open to schools and other groups throughout the week between these two events.

Light Pollution measurements (star counts)

We participate in GLOBE Science’s Sky at Night project aimed at monitoring light pollution worldwide. Each season, the students in the project observe a different constellation, counting the stars they can see naked eye in the constellation outline, using charts downloaded for the activity. We submit these results to GLOBE and they are shared with scientists throughout the world. It is an easy way to contribute to science and public policy.

Meteor Shower observing and counting

During major meteor showers, you can participate in activities involving counting the bright meteors you see within an hour. These results also are shared with scientists, who use them to refine their forecasts of shower activity.

Observation Challenges

We have different observing challenges for each season, an d these span a variety of ages and interests. You can “design” your own constellations, find figures in the face of the Moon, identify planets and even galaxies in the sky … whatever you want to try.

Photography

It is easy to make photos of the Moon and bright planets through our larger telescopes, simply by holding a camera to the eyepiece. If you want to try your hand a more advanced forms of astrophotography, we can provide instruction to help you with this. Many of our volunteers are world-class astrophotographers, so you’ll be learning from the best.


call in advance to schedule group activities