“Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a perfect place to observe the heavens and contemplate the universe." --Bob Moler, Grand Traverse Astronomical Society
Weekly Evening Program
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers a weekly star program led by one of our park rangers. The program, Starry, Starry Night, allows visitors to learn the locations of and hear the legends of the stars that fill the night sky. The program meets before sunset, and prepares attendees for an evening of stargazing on their own.
Saturdays through August 23
D.H. Day Campground Amphitheater
8:00 pm, 45-minute program
Monthly Star Party Events
With the onset of darkness, the night sky becomes visible along the Lake Michigan shoreline. The night sky opens up an experience that goes beyond day-time activities. This summer the Lakeshore is offering a series of monthly astronomy programs beginning in May and lasting through October; join Park Rangers and the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society (GTAS) for these monthly guided explorations of the night sky.
Events vary each month, and will include stargazing, eclipses, meteor showers, sun-viewing, and storytelling.
Each month the events will be taking place at a different location within the Lakeshore to take advantage of all prime viewing locations within park boundaries.
May 9 (9:00-11:00 p.m.), Platte River Point
Get out on the beach to view the night sky. Focus on the moon, Jupiter and Mars.
June 7 (4:00-6:00 p.m.), Dune Climb parking lot
Enjoy the first solar viewing event of the year. Solar glasses will be available to borrow. Park in the row furthest from the dunes facing M-109.
June 7 (9:00-11:00 p.m.), Dune Climb parking lot
View Jupiter then focus on Saturn, Mars and the moon. Park in the row furthest from the dunes facing M-109.
July 26 (4:00-6:00 p.m.), Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive Stop #3
This is a solar viewing event. See the sun up-close. Solar glasses will be available to borrow. Please park at Picnic Mountain; the next right after the #2 stop.
July 26 (9:00-11:00 p.m.), Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive Stop #3
View the Mars, Saturn and the summer Milky Way. Please park at Picnic Mountain; the next right after the #2 stop.
August 9 (4:00-6:00 p.m.), Thoreson Farm in Port Oneida
This is a solar viewing event. As the Port Oneida Fair ends, the sun viewing begins.
August 9 (9:00-11:00 p.m.), Thoreson Farm in Port Oneida
The Port Oneida Fair celebration continues into the night. View the full moon, Mars, Saturn and Perseid meteors.
September 13 (9:00-11:00 p.m.), Dune Climb parking lot
View the summer Milky Way and many Deep Sky Objects. Park in the row furthest from the dunes facing M-109.
October 8 (5:00-8:00 a.m.), Platte River Point
View a total lunar eclipse. The moon also sets during this event.
October 21 (8:00-10:00 p.m.), Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive Stop #3
Celebrate the 44th anniversary of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore with a starry event. Please park at Picnic Mountain; the next right after the #2 stop.
October 23 (5:15-6:45 p.m.), Platte River Point
View the partial solar eclipse until sunset.
The monthly star party events will be cancelled if the sky is not visible due to weather conditions. An official decision will be made by the Lakeshore, usually, one hour before the event. To find out whether an event has been cancelled please check our Facebook page, or feed, or call park rangers at 231-326-4700, ext. 5005, for a voicemail message with the decision.
Monthly programs are free of cost, participants need only to purchase the Park Entrance Pass or have an annual pass displayed in their vehicle.
What to Bring
If planning to attend the event be sure to bring a flashlight for the walk back to your car, bug spray, and if needed, a blanket as the temperatures tend to be cooler in the evening.