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There are three decks in the observatory offering views in every direction. The elevator stops on the lowest deck, and a stairway leads up to the other two decks. The observatory is fully enclosed in special safety glass, but there is no heat or air conditioning. If it is a cool day, plan to wear a coat, and if it is windy, you will probably feel a breeze. If you have any trouble with stairs, a vertical lift connects the elevator deck with the top deck. While you are there, check out the beautiful inlaid bronze compass rose on the top deck.
The view, of course, will depend on weather conditions and the direction in which you are looking. Under good conditions, the view will extend out 40 miles or more in some directions.
The top deck of the observatory sits 447 feet above the Penobscot River, or about the height of a 43-story building.
Maine’s fastest and tallest passenger elevator takes about one minute to make the trip.
Due to space constraints in the elevator and in the observatory, we must prohibit large bags such as suitcases, duffel bags and backpacks, so please leave these items securely locked in your vehicle. Also, please leave your food and beverages in your vehicle as they are not allowed in the observatory. Strollers and pets (except for service animals) are not allowed in the observatory. Smoking is prohibited in the observatory.
The Penobscot Narrows Observatory has a capacity of 49 people, so all tickets are “time stamped” to help visitors avoid waiting in line and optimize their time in the observatory. When you arrive at Fort Knox, the entrance booth attendant will tell you the next available time for your observatory visit, and your tickets will be stamped with your visit time. If there is a wait between your arrival time at the Fort and your scheduled time for the observatory, feel free to explore historic Fort Knox, or leave the park and explore the area until it’s time for your ride.
Groups may reserve and prepay for tickets in advance by calling 207-469-6553. Please remember that all tickets are time and date stamped, so please be certain of the time your group plans on visiting the observatory.
Your State Park Pass can be your admission to Fort Knox, but we do ask that you pay a small fee to visit the observatory. These visitor fees are used to operate the facility. Our costs for operating the observatory include the utilities, service and safety contracts, as well as labor costs for attendants. Your ticket fees are used directly to operate the Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory. This facility could not operate without charging a fee.
The observatory meets all guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and is fully accessible for persons with mobility restrictions. When one gets off the elevator at the lowest deck (400 ft level) there is a lift available to the left which enables all who are mobility impaired.
Under Maine law, disabled veterans arriving at Fort Knox in vehicles displaying the Maine Disabled Veteran license plate will not be charged for admission to the Fort or the observatory.