Observing Facilities, Sites
Baylor Regional Park / Onan Observatory
45 miles SSW of Twin Cities
Lat: 44.81024 (N 44º 48' 37'')
Lon: -93.93982 (W 93º 56' 23'')
Baylor Regional Park is roughly 25 miles southwest of the Twin Cities
and just north of Norwood-Young America. It is easily reached
either by Minnesota Highway 5 or U.S. Highway 212. The park address is:
10775 County Rd. 33
Norwood/Young America, MN
The park offers camping (fifty tent sites and thirty RV
sites with utilities), two shower facilities (one open year-round), a
swimming beach and bathhouse on Eagle Lake, two large picnic shelters
(contact the office for reservation information), tennis courts, two
play lots, a ball field, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and five
miles of hiking / cross-country ski trails including a floating
boardwalk marsh trail. A community room in the park barn is available
with advance reservations. (For more information on the park,
please visit http://www.co.carver.mn.us/departments/PW/parks/baylor.asp)
Baylor Regional Park is also home to the Minnesota
Astronomical Society's Onan Observatory. (For more information
about the observatory, please visit http://www.mnastro.org/onan.)
To reach Baylor Regional Park, head west on Minnesota Highway
5, through Chanhassen and Waconia, to the town of Norwood-Young
America. Turn right onto Carver County Road 33 and continue
approximately two miles north. Baylor Regional Park is on
the right side of the road, marked with a prominent sign.
(For an alternate route from the southern suburbs, take U.S.
Highway 212 west to Norwood-Young America. Turn right at
the second traffic light onto Carver County Road 33.
Continue on two miles north to the park entrance.)
[Click on map to enlarge.]
Once at the park, enter the gate and continue to the end of the road.
The customary MAS observing site is the grassy area between the parking
lot and the tennis courts.
Parking: A graveled parking area is available by the
lake, just past the Onan Observatory building. There is also a
parking lot west of the observatory. The entrance for this lot is
on the left side of the main park road after you enter the.
(Late-arriving visitors are encouraged to park in the lot west of the
observatory to avoid flooding the observatory and observing field with
Restrooms: During summer months there is an indoor
restroom within walking distance of the observatory building. It
is located by the swimming beach. Year-round indoor restrooms are
a short drive away, at the park office (the lower level of the large
barn located at the park entrance). There are also outhouses open
year-round, northwest of the observatory.
Baylor Regional Park is home to the Minnesota Astronomical Society's
Onan Observatory, housing the 16" Larson cassegrain telescope and
several other instruments. The observatory is open to the public
and MAS members at scheduled times during the year. Access is
limited to MAS keyholders at all other times. If you desire more
information about the observatory, please visit the pages at http://www.mnastro.org/onan.
Warming: Aside from the Onan Observatory, there is no
convenient warming facilities near the observing areas. There is a
heated room in the observatory, but access is only available when the
observatory is open.
Electrical: There is a single electrical outlet on a
post near the playground, just east of the observing area. Two
sets of exterior outlets are available on the southwest-facing wall of
Observing at Baylor Regional Park is not limited to Society-scheduled
star parties. Members of the Minnesota Astronomical Society may use
Baylor Regional Park for personal observing. To arrange access, contact
the Carver County Park office by calling 952-466-5250 during normal
business hours (Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.).
If you anticipate arriving after park hours, call the park office in
advance and they will arrange for the gate to be unlocked.
If you plan on over-nighting at Baylor an annual or daily use permit
is required. You can reserve a camp site (call well in advance),
or park your vehicle in the lot just northwest of the Park barn.
Park personnel may ask to verify membership via your MAS
Access to the observatory and its equipment is limited to MAS
keyholders. Visit http://www.mnastro.org/onan/keyholders.htm
for information on becoming a keyholder.