About the Drake Municipal Observatory

The Drake Municipal Observatory is operated jointly by the City of Des Moines and Drake University. It is located on the grounds of the Waveland Golf Course (4908 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311) at the highest point in Des Moines.


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It is open to the public during our Public Night series held on Friday nights in spring, summer and fall.

The observatory contains an eight and a half inch refracting telescope which was built in 1894 and donated by Francis Marion Drake, the namesake of Drake University. The observatory was built in 1920-21 and was made possible due to the cooperation of the City of Des Moines and Drake University. While the city supplied the land and the funds to build the observatory, the university provided the scientific instruments and staff. 

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University News
July 22, 2016
Drake University took a powerful step this summer in renewing its commitment to the growth and development of the Drake Neighborhood when University officials hired Drake alumnus Nick Valdez to the position of Neighborhood and Community Relations Manager.
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