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A huge Hike
The Observatory in Arecibo should be one of the wonders of the world. The size is unbelievable! It costs $10 per person. They have a 2 story museum and the radio telescope outside viewing platform. There are Spanish and English presentations about the telescope. My favorite fact is about the kind of shoes they must wear to clean up the reflector. To stand on the reflector you can't weigh more than 150lbs!
By the way, this is the exact location from the James Bond Movie Golden Eye. Pretty Cool!
There is no cell phone usage allowed, it doesn't matter, there isn't service anyway. And the trek up to the observatory is a workout, I don't recommend flip flops!
**I just read an article the other day (Dec 2013), the scientists were really surprised bc they were receiving signals from space. They later discovered that they are tv and radio signals from over 50 years ago. Perhaps they were thinking it was coming from alien tv at first? Ha!
- Museum Visits
Visit the largest radio telescope in the world
Located here in Arecibo is the largest radar/radio telescope in the world used to monitor radio emissions from distant galaxies, pulsars, quasars and other sources.
Must be seen to be believed. It is a 600-ton platform suspended over a 20-acre (yes you read right) dish set in a sinkhole 565 feet below. The world's largest radar/radio telescope.
E.T. phone home!
If you don't have an inner science nerd, this may not be a huge highlight for you, but those of you who are SETI/E.T./UFO fans like me, it was a cool experience to see this in person! I've been obsessed with seeing this place since I was a kid and the visitor's center/"Day in the Life at Arecibo" film was a pleasant surprise - very informative. The cost to get in is $6. Totally random = you can buy a hot dog on the observation patio and watch the telescope move as scientists do their "experiments" or stop for a pina colada at a local stand on the way down the hill from the observatory. It's a steep hill, wear decent shoes and the obs deck is outside so bring a hat, sunscreen and umbrella. Once again, the early bird beats the crowds. They open at 9am and I recommend leaving San Juan around 7am to get there before the masses arrive. Getting here you will drive through some small neighborhood streets and some beautiful country side, just when you think you are totally lost, you will see signs pointing the way to the observatory. Parking is free - let the gate person know you are just a visitor.
Aricebo Lighthouse Park
The Aricebo Lighthouse Park was an unexpected surprise. There is alot of history to view. The modern history of the Western Hemisphere started here with the landing of Columbus in what is now San Juan. The slave trade, pirates, rum and of course my beloved USS Constitution are all covered at this park.
The Aricebo Lighthouse Park was well worth the detour and was interesting as well as educational. Besides the exhibits there is a petting zoo and the light house itself. The view from the light house is spectacular. There is plenty to do so plan on being there for at least a half a day.
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