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Volunteer

Kitt Peak Visitor Center Docent Program

If you are service-minded, interested in astronomy, enjoy meeting people, and would relish the opportunity to work at one of the most scenic spots in Southern Arizona, then consider joining our Docent Program.

Docent Application

Please note: Docents are unpaid volunteers. This is not an application for employment.

Docents lead three public daytime tours of our major research telescopes and interact with guests in the Visitor Center to ensure an engaging and educational visit.

Docents host school groups at Kitt Peak, conduct or assist with special events and programs, develop astronomy-related demonstrations, assist with exhibit designs, and operate telescopes for public solar viewing.

Upon completion of training, docents must commit to at least three six-hour shifts per month on Kitt Peak for the following two years. Each shift is from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (if taking an observatory shuttle, docents will depart observatory headquarters on Cherry Avenue at 8:30 am and return by 5:20 pm).

Docents may schedule their own shifts but must also be flexible and willing to support outreach efforts and cover for other docents as needed.

Docents are expected to adhere to observatory policies and procedures at all times.

Docent Benefits

  • Monthly docent meetings featuring speakers from the scientific community.
  • Free transportation to and from Kitt Peak in observatory vehicles.
  • Free lunch in the mountain cafeteria while on duty.
  • A discount on all items in the gift shop, except Tohono O’odham crafts.
  • Free admission to our Nightly Observing Program for you and a guest once a year.
  • The opportunity to become involved in other Visitor Center projects.

Docent Requirements

After successfully completing the training course, docents must be willing to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for Kitt Peak astronomy with visitors.

Docents must be able to interact with diverse members of the general public in a positive and professional manner at all times, serving as the public face of Kitt Peak National Observatory.

Docents must be able to work with each other and observatory staff in a positive and professional manner.

Docents must be able to walk at least 1/2 mile at a 7,000-foot elevation and spend long stretches of time on their feet during their shifts.

Make a Donation

The Visitor Center was established in 1964 at a time of strong financial support from the U.S. Government. For over 50 years we have reached each new generation. We hope to reach new generations for the next 50 years. You can help us achieve this goal. The Kitt Peak Visitor Center is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3 Non Profit organization through its parent organization AURA so your gift may be tax deductible. As such, we gratefully accept donations both large and small, and major funding from private and corporate sources.

Your contribution will allow us to reopen to the public and resume our mission which is to inspire a sense of wonder and knowledge about the universe through nighttime stargazing programs, exhibits, and guided tours. Click the Donate button below to go to our secure donation page.

Purchase a Membership

Help us grow by becoming a member! Stay informed about public events on and off the mountain. Join today at one of our six membership levels and take advantage of our great member benefits program.

The Visitor Center is your first stop on any visit and your springboard to informative daytime tours, nighttime stargazing and telescope viewing programs, fascinating exhibits, a terrific gift shop, and beautiful panoramic mountain top views!

Membership Application

There are 2 ways to join.

  • Fill out the application and mail it in.
  • Turn your application in in person when you visit the Kitt Peak Visitor Center.

Annual Membership Pricing

Membership benefits are for cardholders, and are non transferable.

Gift Shop discounts will not apply to any Tohono O’odham crafts

Individual Membership — $100

Free daytime telescope tours, annual newsletter, free general admission to over 257 science centers through ASTC, 15% discount on gift shop merchandise from Black Friday through December 1st

Dual Membership — $150

Same benefits as Individual Membership, but for two

Family membership — $200

Same benefits as Individual Membership, but for two adults and children under 17, plus 10% discount on gift shop merchandise year round.

Contributing Membership — $1000

Same benefits as Individual Membership, plus two Nightly Observing Program passes, two daytime telescope tour passes, 10% discount on gift shop merchandise year round.

Sponsor Membership — $2,500

Same benefits as Individual Membership, plus two Nightly Observing Program passes, four daytime telescope tour passes, 10% discount on gift shop merchandise year round.

Patron Membership — $5,000

Same benefits as Individual Membership, plus four Nightly Observing Program passes, four daytime telescope tour passes, 10% discount on gift shop merchandise year round, and private birthday overnight viewing for you and two guests on your birthday