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. 

University News
April 27, 2017
When Drake senior Reed Fischer crossed the finish line at the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee on Thursday, he broke a school record that has stood since long before Drake’s famed Blue Oval was blue.
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