I'll be the first to admit that I'm a total space nerd! If it has anything to do with space and the cosmos-- I'm in.

So naturally, when I heard of the National Park Service's plans to welcome stargazers once again for their annual Star Parties series at the Sleeping Bear Dunes I was all over it. Here's what you need to know:

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What Are Star Parties?

Park Rangers from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore along with members of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will welcome aspiring astronomers for a series of stargazing events throughout the summer.

During the day participants will be able to observe the sun and learn about various solar phenomena, but the real fun begins when the sun goes down!

Of their Night Sky Programs the Parks Service says,

The night sky opens up an experience that goes beyond day-time activities. This summer the Lakeshore is offering a series of...monthly guided explorations of the night sky...Events vary each month, and will include stargazing, eclipses, meteor showers, sun-viewing, and storytelling.

Dana Marshall
Sleeping Bear Dunes - Dana Marshall/TSM

Know Before You Go

These star parties are free to attend, but you must have a parks pass to gain entry. Heads up-- the park has now moved to cashless payments in 2023 so make sure you bring your plastic with you!

Night sky viewing will begin at dusk with each event taking place at a different park location each month. Visitors are encouraged to bring flashlights, bug spray, and blankets for the event. If the forecast calls for cloudy skies the event will be canceled.

You can view the complete event details here. The schedule for 2023 includes:

  • April 29
  • May 27
  • June 24
  • July 29
  • August 19

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