Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory Celebrates 50-Year Anniversary

June 7, 2018 in Tours by cipcipTrip

Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory, which has served multiple generations of visitors with hands-on experiences, created intimate connections with nature and the universe, and fostered discovery in all its offerings, is celebrating its 50-Year Anniversary. To mark the occasion, the organization is offering an Open House and free admission from 9am – 5pm on Saturday, June 9.

Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory (SNCO) was started in 1968 by Sunriver founder John Gray as a key component of the Sunriver Community. The organization has grown multi-directionally and now serves over 50,000 visitors a year.

The organization’s mission is to inspire present and future generations to cherish and understand the natural world. Over the years, SNCO has achieved this mission through experiential opportunities including engaging natural history exhibits, field trip and summer camp programs, lectures and workshops for adults, volunteer and service programs, and outreach into local communities.

Education is a cornerstone of SNCO’s programs. Each year, approximately 5,000 students participate in SNCO’s Kindergarten-12th Grade Education Program. Both the Nature Center and Oregon Observatory provide a variety of classroom and outdoor field-based programs designed to engage students in learning about the natural world through inquiry-driven experiences. Many of these programs are provided free-of-charge to local school children through grant-supported funding.

In addition, a diverse selection of educational opportunities, programs, and events are hosted year-round to engage the broader community in SNCO’s mission. Programs include bird walks, star parties, native plant and Ponderosa Pine seedling sales, and the annual Wildflower Show and Mushroom Show.

The Nature Center has played an important role in Sunriver and surrounding Central Oregon communities over the years by serving as the area’s environmental conscience and resource center. It has also served as a wildlife rehabilitation center for over 30 years and responds to calls about injured and orphaned wildlife on a daily basis. The Nature Center has also contributed important research on the threatened Oregon Spotted Frog to the scientific community.

The Oregon Observatory has grown to provide the largest number of telescopes for public viewing in the United States. The Observatory is also designated as a NASA affiliate.

Says Dave Buhaly, Board President, “We have grown a lot in the past 50 years and have an enduring focus on our mission. Today, the entire organization is primed to face the next 50 years with energy and enthusiasm. I am proud to say that I know we have an amazing team that can make this happen.”

More on the Open House and SNCO:
Visitors are invited to enjoy free admission to SNCO on Saturday, June 9th from 9am – 5pm during the Open House. The Nature Center and Observatory will be open for exploration and teams of Naturalists and Astronomers will be hosting activities throughout the day. Activities will include raptor presentations, reptile encounters, nature crafts, guided trail walks, rocket launches, solar viewing, a native plant sale, and much more. Admission is waived for daytime admission (9am – 5pm) only. Carpooling and biking are strongly recommended as parking is limited.

Since its founding in 1968, the non-profit Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory has provided a wide array of environmental and astronomy programs, events, and exhibits for residents and visitors. SNCO is proud to partner with the Sunriver Owners Association and the Sunriver Resort who support many of their key programs.

More information is available at and