November 24, 2017

Wish Upon a Star: 8 Places to Take Your Kids Stargazing

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If your kids love to wonder about the moon and the stars, then get your little stargazers to a planetarium this summer. Not only is it a great way to beat the heat, but a fun way to learn about constellations and the solar system. Or better, take the kids to an evening viewing program to see the summer skies for themselves. Here are eight places to get close to the stars and teach your kids about astronomy at the same time.

  • Bryce Canyon National Park: Far from the light pollution of the big city, 101 night sky programs take place here each year, which include a one-hour multimedia show followed by sky viewing with telescopes. During the summer, these take place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 9 p.m. Or, take in the annual Bryce Canyon Astronomy Festival, which runs June 29-July 2.
  • Maryland Science Center: Your kids will love Stargazing Fridays when you and your kids will get the chance to see the moon, planets and stars using the refracting telescope in the Observatory on the roof of the Maryland Science Center. Be sure to check out Sungazing Saturdays too.
  • Morehead Planetarium and Science Center (Chapel Hill, NC): Enjoy the monthly Star Families program that takes place on Saturday mornings and is designed for learners ages 7 to 12. Summer programs will address the life and death of stars, as well as the summer skies. For more North Carolina planetariums, here’s a great article from Charlotte Parent.
  • Newark Museum: Wednesday through Sunday, you and your kids can enjoy two 35 minute shows, Magic Sky (best for kids ages 4 to 6) and Earth, Moon and Sun (best for kids ages 6 to 9), which introduce young stargazers to constellations and basic astronomical phenomena. On July 8, check out Summer Stargazing for a look at the moon, Saturn and other wonders of the summer sky.
  • Onizuka Center for International Astronomy (Mauna Kea, HI): Enjoy a free nightly stargazing program that takes place every night of the year from 6 to 10 p.m. You’ll first watch First Light, a documentary on Mauna Kea, then will move to the lanai where several telescopes are set up for viewing and are pointed at various objects in the night sky.
  • Science Factory (Eugene, OR): Enjoy the Seasonal Stargazing show that takes place weekends and is a great introduction to the season’s night sky and stars. The Astronomy for the Fun of It shows are a fun way to introduce your kids to the planets in our solar system (April through June) or the constellations visible in the summer skies (July through August).
  • Science Museum of Virginia: Take in IMAX Hubble, which chronicles the greatest success in space since the moon landing with coverage of flights through distant galaxies. On the third Friday of every month (at 9 p.m. in June and July), stop by for Sky Watch as the Richmond Astronomical Society shares their powerful telescopes for a peek at the night sky.

Have you taken your kids to a planetarium or to a night sky viewing program? I’d love to hear about your experiences and what your kids thought about learning more about the moon and the stars.

Comments

  1. Should you find yourself in Utah, find the dark skies around Moab Utah, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks are great for viewing the night sky. Have telescopes, will Travel to your campsite, or will arrange a gathering place to see star clusters, galaxies and other sights.

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