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Observing Facilities, Sites

Baylor Regional Park / Onan Observatory

45 miles SSW of Twin Cities
Lat: 44.81024 (N 44 48' 37'')
 Lon: -93.93982 (W 93 56' 23'')

Overview

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

Phone: 952.448.6082.

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.)

Directions

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 to Expand Map

[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.

Facilities

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 headlight glare.)

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.

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 the observatory.

Access

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 identification card.

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.

 

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