Astronomy leads us from this world to another, with unlimited potential of things to discover! Dr. Goethe Link knew the potential of space and was incredibly passionate about its discovery and exploration. Although he was a Thyroid Surgeon by trade, his hobby and passion was Astronomy. So much so, that with his personal money, he created his own observatory right here in Indiana in the 1930’s. The construction took many years and was finally finished in 1939. Now, over 80 years later, the general public has a unique opportunity to tour and even use the original telescope crafted by Dr. Link!
The Link Observatory Space Science Institute—located in Martinsville, Indiana—is now a non-for-profit, in partnership with Indiana University, and available to the general public for tours and star gazing! There is a full located on the main site, but generally tours are the second Thursday of the month from 9 am-3 pm, and Observing is the first Saturday of the month at 8 pm.
There are many unique things about the observatory, but the craftmanship of the building was one of the first things that caught my eye. Almost everything in the observatory is still original, including the light fixtures, flooring, and beautiful exposed wood siding. Dr. Link spared no expense when constructing the building! The auditorium, office space, and entry way located on the main level catch your attention immediately when you arrive! The design was very intricate, including the 200-ton concrete pier made to support the telescope, that was not only built first, but made totally separate from the rest of the building.
After you climb the spiraling staircase, you will enter the observatory! The telescope is still original, with only a couple minor changes made since it’s construction by Dr. Link. The ceiling will open above you, for a beautiful and unique view of the sky. The wood beams on the retractable roof, that were specially steamed and crafted in the construction of the observatory are a sight to see! The character within the observatory is everywhere!
My four year old and I went on a special mommy date to tour the observatory, and even at his young age he learned so much! He really loved checking out the display case in the auditorium, full of Dr. Links personal belongings, including surgical equipment from the 1930’s! The telescope was larger than life for him, and quite a sight to see! The guides on the tour are so welcoming of young children, they allowed my son to help operate the retractable roof, and he was even was able to climb up and touch the telescope!
Since opening to the general public, they also added two kid friendly bathrooms, which is awesome since the observatory is nestled up in the woods on a large secluded hill. When you arrive look for the beautiful daffodils! Dr. Link’s wife was a master gardener, and her flowers are still blooming to this day! We cannot wait to go back for a Saturday evening observation event. Find the next observation opportunity on our event calendar.
The Link Observatory Space Science Institute is a non for profit organization, that relies on donations to continue offering science education. They have a tax deductible donation link on their website as well as STEM educational programming, and ways to get involved! All of that information can be found here: www.linkobservatory.org. If you are looking for a fun and unique way to spend time with your kids, the skies the limit for family fun at the Link Observatory!
8403 Observatory Road