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Gov Aker Observatory Telescope
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Circle D Ranch
History of Discovery Park Campus
The idea for a visitor’s center for the Mt. Graham International Observatory (MGIO) in Safford began in the mid-1980s. Plans for the center quickly expanded and eventually became known as Discovery Park, an education and entertainment retreat, emphasizing the science and culture of the Gila Valley, from mining and agriculture to space exploration.
Eastern Arizona College's
The University of Arizona donated a research-grade 20” Cassegrain reflector telescope and dome for the Gov Aker Observatory. The Vatican Observatory donated a radio telescope. A full-motion simulator takes guests on a ride past Mt. Graham to tour the solar system. As the park grew, Nature’s Hideaway was added as a riparian habitat just south of the Gov Aker Observatory.
In the summer of 2006, the park came under the control of Eastern Arizona College’s Governing Board. “The park now has a much better foundation upon which it can thrive as an educational campus, emphasizing science and technology for the leaders of tomorrow. The park, which is now known as Eastern Arizona College’s Discovery Park Campus, will continue as a multi-purpose educational facility. The MGIO visits will continue and the facility will still be available for group rentals. EAC classes such as Rocketry and Environmental Biology will continue, and the College will be planning additional course offerings and events which will allow students and the community to take advantage of the unique environmental, technological, and educational features of the park.”
Open to the public Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (No shuttle rides after 4:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, in order to avoid disturbing classes in session), and Saturday, 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. General admission fees to the park have been discontinued by EAC. Special fees for certain performances and activities at the park may be charged as per EAC’s current policy.
For more information, contact the reservation specialist at the Student Life Office, 928-4288354. All EAC policies and regulations will apply to Discovery Park Campus. To foster safe and appropriate educational environment for students, the existing EAC policy prohibiting the use of alcohol and drugs apply to all Discovery Park Campus facilities and areas.