COMANCHE SPRINGS ASTRONOMY CAMPUS
Three Rivers Foundation Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus (CSAC) is located in north central Texas, in an area known as the Big Empty. Home to telescopes, observatories, as well as indoor and outdoor classroom space, CSAC serves visitors from across Texas, the U.S. and around the globe. Visitors can enjoy programs covering topics ranging from astronomy to environmental and earth science. This 3,200-acre facility lies in a corridor of dark skies that stretches from outside the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex to Amarillo. Only three to four hours from the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and about two and a half hours from Lubbock, Amarillo or Oklahoma City, the area is serviced by major highways making the campus easily accessible from all points on the compass.
Thanks to a passion for nature conservation by the late Bettie B. Gafford, an original 50-acre donation from the McAdams Ranch to Three Rivers allowed for the establishment of the 3RF Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus. Additional land acquisitions in 2009, 2010 and 2018 expanded the campus to its current size of 3,200 acres. Without Mrs. Gafford’s generous passion and vision, 3RF would not have been able to realize its mission of “engaging students, teachers and the public through hands-on education outreach opportunities”.
As the name, Three Rivers implies, our 3,200-acre campus is located in an area that enjoys a rich history. Named for the regional three rivers of the Pease, Red, and Wichita. Our campus enjoys a rich biodiversity and healthy ecosystem common in short-grass prairies. Resident species include the horned lizard, white tailed-deer, coyotes, raccoons, and eastern cottontail rabbits, over 60 species of birds, as well as a host of insect and plant species. Migrating species seen on campus include Monarch butterflies, hummingbirds, Mississippi kites, mountain bluebirds, and lesser sandhill cranes, just to name a few.
Our buildings on campus include a roll-off observatory which houses a 30-inch reflecting telescope bringing the wonders of galaxies and nebulae to visitors. Another large observatory houses a 15-inch refractor used for public events.
Additional facilities include four bunkhouses capable of housing up to 64 overnight guests, 6 family cabins sleep four guests in two full size beds with private 3-piece bathrooms and kitchenette, 12 RV spaces, and a shower and restroom facility.