Regina and Woody Johnson
Ken Klein
Butterfield RV Resort & Observatory

Jo Ann Mickelson
Arizona Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds

Butterfield RV Resort Wins “Park of the Year” Award from the Arizona Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds

The Southeast Arizona resort serves as a base camp for travelers heading to Karchner Caverns, Tombstone and Bisbee, also has a 16-inch telescope and a nightly star talks

BENSON, Ariz., June 12, 2017 – Butterfield RV Resort and Observatory has won a “Park of the Year” aware in the medium size park category from the Arizona Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.

The award is given annually to parks that deliver extraordinary guest experiences as  a result of all-around excellence in operations, professionalism, marketing, customer service and industry involvement.

“We are very excited to receive this recognition,” said Butterfield RV Resort co-owner Regina Johnson, adding that this past winter season was the busiest in the park’s history.

While the resort caters to snowbirds in the wintertime, the park also serves as a base camp for families bound for Karchner Caverns State Park, Tombstone and Bisbee, all of which are in close proximity. Johnson added that special events are scheduled in Tombstone and Bisbee throughout the summer and fall.

Butterfield Resort is also unique in that it has an on-site astronomical observatory with a 16-inch Meade University Grade telescope and nightly star talks, courtesy of Ken Klein, an amateur astronomer and self-proclaimed “astronerd” who moved to the resort five years ago.

While Klein initially had front desk and star talk duties, he was made full time astronerd at the park last year, and is in charge of giving nightly star talks, weather permitting.

As many as 18 people can fit inside the observatory at a time. The groups are limited in size so that everyone can have a chance to peer through the telescope to see the topic of the night’s discussion.

“Sometimes in winter we’ll have two shows a night,” Klein said, adding that the talks start in early evening and usually conclude by 9pm. “We look at whatever happens to be the most interesting things in the sky in the early evening,” he said.

Klein said the RV Park has had an observatory since 2001. “The original people who built the park in 1999 were amateur astronomers,” he said, adding that they built the facility for their own private use.

But RV Park guests were so interested in peering through the telescope and seeing the inside of the observatory that a decision was made by subsequent RV Park owners to make it open to park visitors.

“Most people have never looked through a big telescope like this before,” Klein said, adding that telescopes of its size are typically only found at major universities.

Word about Butterfield RV Resort & Observatory is spreading, however. The park is attracting visitors from across the US and Canada, many of whom come specifically to check out the observatory.

For more information about Butterfield RV Resort & Observatory, visit

Butterfield RV Resort is an award winning member of the Arizona Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, having won Medium Size Park of the Year awards in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2015 and 2017. The association represents campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across the Grand Canyon State. The association also promotes tourism to Arizona through its website at and its printed campground and RV park directory.

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