Sunriver Nature Center & Oregon Observatory

Written by’s Local Expert


The Sunriver Nature Center and Oregon Observatory are located next to each other. You can visit just one or both. We decided to explore them both, and it is well worth it. Start with buying tickets in the office at the nature center.

The Sunriver Nature Center really does a great job of educating about the world around us while also making everything so interesting. Even when you have younger children who may not understand everything, the entire experience is exceptional.

Both the nature center and the observatory are educational facilities, but they feel more relaxed and friendly. Everyone you find on site is happy to answer questions, and we had a lot of them being space lovers! The equipment onsite at the observatory is impressive, and they are all very willing to provide information about everything onsite and so much more. Definitely check out the full experience in both locations.

While visiting, we learned of the private experiences they offer. You have to book these in advance, but they offer a private guided experience for you at either the nature center or the observatory. There are several options, including the exclusive star party, which is outdoors at the observatory and gives you a laser guided tour. You can see the meteorites here. There are also options for birding adventures, cosmetic adventures, and a Sunriver nature hike. These are excellent options when it comes to learning about the area.

Getting To The Nature Center & Observatory

The Sunriver Nature Center is just a few minutes from River Road. It's only a few minutes from the Sunriver Airport and Sunriver Trail Rides and just minutes from the Deschutes River.

Nature Center & Observatory Admission Costs

One of the first things to know when visiting the Sunriver Nature Center is that there is a lot to do here. They offer several admission options, including a daytime visit that's $9 per adult, with kids 4 to 12 at $6. Seniors pay $7 for admission. You can also become a member. They also have evening visits for one hour or two hours, depending on when you come. Those cost a bit more at $20 and $30, respectively. The nighttime experiences are fun because you can see through the telescopes and take a guided constellation tour. It's even possible to see meteorites.

You can buy tickets for the daytime visits as a walk-in or, for the nighttime experiences, purchase tickets in advance to make a reservation. You can do that online.

Sunriver Nature Center

There is something so special about visiting the Sunriver Nature Center. You'll learn a lot when you come here. There are a lot of animals here, and many of them are resources that are unfit for some reason to live in the wild. They are given a home here. I highly encourage you to ask questions and get to know them. You are sure to learn about Ron, a Swainson's hawk who was imprinted when raised by humans. He's a beautiful bird. Also, check out Aquila, an eagle that was struck by a car in 1984. This sweet bird is mostly blind from the accident but is stunning.

We saw a lot of beautiful animals, including the pacific tree frog, rubber boa, northwestern salamander, and the rough skinned new western skink. Take the time to read about each and get to know them all. If you take the time to go through this location, you will learn a lot, not just about the species but also about how people change their lives.

There are numerous exhibits at the nature center, and all are worth exploring. That includes the Botanic Garden, the Eurasian Eagle-Owl, the Honey Bee Hive, and the Birding Spotlight. You may also want to check out the private experiences, student and teacher resources, and summer camps here. There's so much to explore.

Oregon Observatory

The observatory is just a few minutes away from the nature center. While you could do them on the same day, it can be fun to take your time and really explore them all. We did take the time to explore both areas and loved it. Check out the Planetarium shows while here, both for the short break and the insightfulness they offer about the solar system and beyond. It's a fascinating show. You can really see the galaxies and even watch a meteor shower if you visit during the evening shows. These are fantastic and really ideal, not just for people that love astronomy, but for kids and just about anyone else.

We learned while there that the area itself makes it the ideal place for an observatory. That's because of the unique elevation of the Sunriver area makes it possible to see quite a bit. It's also very remote, which creates better light restriction, allowing for a better ability to see the stars.


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