ARECIBO, Puerto Rico -- One of Puerto Rico's newest attractions is
literally out of this world.
The world of stars and space set amidst the karst forests on
Puerto Rico's north coast awaits visitors to the Arecibo
Observatory Visitor and Educational Facility. The state-of-the-art
facility opened last summer and complements the Arecibo
Observatory, the world's largest radar-radio telescope, which
attracts thousands of visitors each year. In fact, officials
predict that annual attendance will exceed 100,000 visitors,
including many students.
More than 565 feet below the 600-ton suspended platform of the
observatory, a 20-acre dish set in a sinkhole gathers radio waves
from space. Operated by Cornell University, the telescope enables
scientists to probe the planets and moon with powerful radar
signals and to monitor radio emissions from distant galaxies.
The new visitors center explains the workings of the universe
through bilingual interactive exhibits, video displays and
information panels. The center is open to the public Wednesdays
through Sundays. Group tours can be arranged during the week by
appointment. The entrance fee is $3.50 for adults.
Just east of Arecibo is a century-old lighthouse, which has been
restored as a museum focusing on the city of Arecibo. The
lighthouse is open Wednesdays through Sunday; admission is
Arecibo Observatory Visitor Facility, Phone: (787) 878-2612,
Arecibo Lighthouse, Phone: (787) 879-1625