Astronomy Programs

Stars and the Milky Way in the night sky with palm trees in the foreground.
The beauty of the night sky at Big Cypress National Preserve

Join us for an evening of dark sky education and celebration! View one of the darkest night skies in the eastern United States by attending a ranger-led astronomy program at Big Cypress National Preserve this winter.
Presentations will include constellation tours and telescope viewing (weather permitting) of astronomical objects including stars, star clusters, planets, nebulae, and galaxies. Here's a peek at images from past night sky programs.
These events are free and open to the public.

NOTE: In the event of inclement weather, the night sky programs will be moved indoors to the auditorium at the Nathaniel P. Reed Visitor Center. Please note that the auditorium has a maximum capacity of 75 persons.


Winter 2022-2023 Schedule

Programs will be held once per month in December, January, February, and March. The following dates have been scheduled for programs open to the public:

12/17/22 - Solar System Stroll 7:30pm - 8:30pm
Strap in and prepare for a stroll through the solar system. This Big Cypress ground-based space liner will guide you through the fantastic environments on planets found in our solar system. Some of these extraterrestrial wonders may just be twinkling over our very heads.

1/21/23 - Night Sky Culture 7:30pm - 8:30pm
Humanity has always been tied to the night sky. Different cultures across history have utilized the cosmos above for navigation, cultural ceremonies, and storytelling. Journey through the constellations and learn how you can create your own connection with them.

2/25/23 - Depths of Space 8:00pm - 9:00pm
The stars may seem distant when looking up at night, but even from the swamps of Big Cypress National Preserve their lights can tell stories from the depths of space. Peer through our galaxy and universe to experience the cosmos from the balmy weather of southwest Florida.

3/18/23 - Life in the Dark 8:30pm - 9:30pm
Nighttime is a period when most humans tend to wind down, but in Big Cypress National Preserve, many creatures will start their day after hours. Weave through the constellations above the swamp and learn about the fantastic nocturnal plants and animals of the preserve.

If you have questions or want more details, please contact us at 239-695-1149.



Programs will be conducted at the southern end of Seagrape Drive, where the Nathaniel P. Reed Visitor Center is located (east of SR 29, between MM73 and 74 on US41).

Nathaniel P. Reed Visitor Center
33000 Tamiami Trail East
Ochopee, FL 34141

Special Considerations

Outdoor seating will not be available during the interpretive program, telescope viewing, and constellation tours. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets if seating is desired. Night temperatures can be cool and mosquitoes may be present. Visitors should be prepared for weather conditions.
Presentations may be conducted in the Nathaniel P. Reed Visitor Center auditorium if weather prevents night sky viewing. As space is limited inside the visitor center auditorium, seating will be available on a first come, first served basis.
Pants, long sleeve shirts or jackets, and bug spray are recommended. Please no white flashlights as it affects our night vision. Only flashlights with red lenses will be allowed. Individuals and local astronomy societies are welcome to bring personal binoculars and telescopes.
Got questions? Call us at 239-695-1149 for more information.

A ranger points out celestial objects with a green laser to onlooking visitors.
Ranger points out celestial objects to onlooking visitors.

Why Dark Skies?

Dark skies are essential natural, scientific, cultural, and economic resources. National park sites, including Big Cypress National Preserve, are home to some of the last remaining dark skies in the country and are committed to protecting the night sky resource.
Learn more about the importance of natural dark sky and how to minimize light pollution.

Last updated: January 10, 2023

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Mailing Address:

33100 Tamiami Trail East
Ochopee , FL 34141


239 695-2000

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