Things to do in Oregon: Stargazing at the Hopservatory, a brewery observatory

The Spirit of the West exhibit at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon,traces history from the region's American Indians to the 19th century westward movement. (Jackie Burrell/Bay Area News Group)

Central Oregon enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year, but on those rare occasions when the weather turns drippy or chilly, here are three fab places to go, from the High Desert Museum outside Bend to a beer-centric observatory in the city.

High Desert Museum

This spectacular wildlife and living history museum tucked just off the highway between Bend and Sunriver bills itself as the spot “where wild meets west.” It’s a perfect description. The 135-acre grounds offer native wildlife exhibits and habitat for raptors, river otters and bobcats. The 1904 Miller Family Ranch and sawmill outside is a living history site, complete with homesteaders and heritage-breed chickens. You can play frontier games, do chores and chat about frontier life with Mrs. Miller daily through the summer and on weekends, weather permitting, from September through May.

Inside the museum, you can explore Oregon’s earliest days, from the first American Indian villages through the westward migration. It’s the perfect way to while away a chilly afternoon. We spent hours in the Spirit of the West exhibit, which takes you from a Northern Paiute shelter to a fur trapper’s camp, a Hudson’s Bay Company fort, an Oregon Trail encampment and through the gold and silver rush.

Bend’s High Desert Museum traces the region’s history through life-size dioramas.

Museum interpreters lead entertaining tours at 2 p.m. daily, and you may encounter those docents at other times, as well. The 19th-century assayer we met in the museum’s re-created boomtown of Silver City was most sympathetic when he learned that we had no ore to weigh. Clearly, we were incompetent miners, but at least he was tactful about it.

Details: Open daily from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. from November through April, when admission is $7-$12. Open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. May through October, when admission is $9-$15. 59800 Highway 97, Bend;

The Hopservatory

It’s a rare brewery that can claim to have its own observatory. Actually, there’s only one: Bend’s Worthy Brewing. Worthy’s year-old Hopservatory not only holds public viewing hours Thursday through Sunday, it also answers the age-old question: Why are we here? To drink beer, obviously, but also to star gaze through an OGS 16-inch RC Reflector telescope and get up close and personal with constellations and planets. On hand to help: Grant Tandy from the Oregon Observatory at Sunriver.

Worthy Brewing’s year-old Hopservatory adds stargazing to visitors’ must-see lists. (Worthy Brewing)

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Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

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