Star Party


Join us for a week of free activities for students, families, and friends that immerse you in learning and stargazing. The second annual Boreal Stargazing week will take place from February 10 - 18, 2024.

These free events are friendly for all ages and feature captivating night sky tours, snowshoe hikes, live conversations with astronomers, and more!

Boreal Stargazing programs are brought to you by Voyageurs Conservancy, Friends of the Boundary Waters, Starry Skies North, the National Park Service, Superior National Forest, Expeditions in Education and The Bell Museum. Teachers, click here to register for inspiring Boreal Stargazing Week programs and speakers live streamed directly to your classroom!

Boreal Stargazing Week poster showing event schedule against the backdrop of a star-filled night sky

Peter McWilliams


Join us for Boreal Stargazing Week - where the magic of the Minnesota night skies comes to life!
Enjoy free community events during our dark sky celebration in Minnesota’s wild places including Voyageurs National Park, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Duluth, and the Twin Cities. Explore our inspiring universe alongside dark sky experts, park rangers, and local astronomers.

A star-filled sky above a frozen lake surface.
Winter Night Sky - Boreal Stargazing

Gordy Lindgren


Voyageurs National Park:
Nighttime Hike & Telescope Program

Saturday, February 10th
6-7:30 PM
Note: Location change to Rainy Lake Visitor Center / Oberholtzer Trail

Join a park ranger and Voyageurs Conservancy for a talk around the campfire and telescope observation session just behind the Rainy Lake Visitor Center. Bring warm layers and a headlamp!

No reservation necessary

Virtual: Art of the Night Sky with Sam Zimmerman
Sunday, February 11th
2 - 3:00pm CT
ZOOM - Register here.

Join Sam for a presentation featuring art of the evening sky, sharing the stories that inspired the pieces featuring Ojibwe constellations. Learn more about the birds and animals in his work, and how they inspire his art.

Sam Zimmerman, a Grand Portage direct descendant, is a painter, author, and educator based in Duluth, Minnesota. Zimmerman draws on his Ojibwe heritage to create vibrant images filled with symbolism. He passionately believes in artistic expression as a gateway for education and cultural understanding. His work continues the Anishinaabe tradition of storytelling, with themes of environmental stewardship and conservation. His work has been showcased in gallery and public installations throughout the nation and abroad. Register here.

Ages: This presentation is best for upper elementary and older, and perfect for families and young adults!

BWCAW: Snowshoe to the Hegman Lake Petroglyphs
Monday, Feb. 12th and Friday, Feb. 16th - 5:00 PM
Bass Lake Trail trailhead
NOTE: Due to deteriorating ice conditions, we have changed the location from Hegman Lake to Bass Lake Trail, trailhead.

Join friends, new and old, on an evening snowshoe into the world’s largest Dark Sky Sanctuary-the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness! Enjoy a snowshoe on Bass Lake Trail experiencing the grandeur of the universe above you. Hosted by the Superior National Forest and the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, these events require advance registration.

The Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness will provide warm drinks in the parking lot as well as snowshoes for a limited number of folks who need to borrow them. Registration is required to reserve snowshoes. Stargazing can be done near the parking lot for people who want to enjoy the night sky but are unable to join the snowshoe. Open to folks of all ages, make sure to dress for the weather! Register here.

Duluth: "Exploring Dark Skies" with Jessica Rogers, director of the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium, along with the Arrowhead Astronomical Society and Astro Bob

Friday, February 16th
7 - 9 PM
Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium on the UMD campus

7 - 8 PM Come learn about the adverse adverse effects of light pollution and what you can do to be a steward of the night sky with Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium

7 - 9 PM Join Astro Bob, the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium, and the Arrowhead Astronomical Society to explore the wonders of the night sky. Come see Jupiter and the moon up close (weather permitting)!

Twin Cities: Night Sky Watching Party - Wood Lake Nature Center
Friday, February 16th
6 - 8 PM

Look for constellations, hear stories, and enjoy the night. Learn how our night sky has been lost to light pollution and simple things to do to bring back the night.

Discover the intriguing world of wolf nocturnal behaviors at our upcoming event! Contrary to common belief, wolves aren't a nocturnal species; they are crepuscular creatures, meaning they display heightened activity during dawn and dusk. Yet, wolves showcase fascinating nocturnal tendencies, often adapting their periods of movement and hunting strategies to the rhythms of their prey. Come delve into the realm of wolves, from ambushing foraging beavers to seizing opportunities during the brief spawning periods of white suckers. Join us for an illuminating journey to uncover the mysteries of what wolves do under the cover of night! Register here.

Voyageurs National Park:
Nighttime Hike & Telescope Program

Saturday, February 17th
6-7:30 PM
Tilson Bay Bogwalk, International Falls, MN

Join the Polar Polers, Voyageurs National Park, and Voyageurs Conservancy for a night time hike and telescope observation session at Tilson Bay. Meet at the Tilson Bay Bogwalk parking lot. Bring warm layers and a headlamp!

Note: Due to deteriorating snow conditions, this event has changed to a hike vs. XC ski opportunity. Should conditions change and we get more snow, please feel free to bring your own skis and assess trail conditions before the program begins if you ultimately hope to ski (they are not available at Tilson Bay Bogwalk).

No reservation necessary


Bring your students out of their desk and into the largest International Dark Sky Region in the world - right here in Minnesota! By participating in Boreal Stargazing Week, your classroom will receive FREE live virtual programs on the wonders of dark skies with special speakers from NASA, National Park Service, Expeditions in Education, and more! Students will learn about protected Dark Sky Regions, the natural and cultural importance of the night sky, and how we can protect them.


Who can participate? Boreal Stargazing Week programs are available and free for K-12 classrooms across the country. See specific programs below for grade-level targets.

Sign me up! Register your classroom here. Boreal Stargazing Week programs will be live streamed directly to your classroom! Teachers will also receive the recorded sessions if they cannot attend the live programs.


Winter Night Skies & the Aurora Borealis with Voyageurs Conservancy
Monday, February 12
Live Virtual Program
Grades 4-12

While winter months may bring freezing temperatures, there are advantages to experiencing the night sky during this time of year! Join Voyageurs Conservancy's dark sky enthusiast as we explore the wonders of the winter night sky and learn about why the rare and beautiful phenomenon of the aurora borealis may be best viewed in the year 2024.

Dark Sky Magic at Voyageurs National Park
Tuesday, February 13
12pm CT, Live Virtual Program
Grades K-8

Join Expeditions in Education and the National Park Service LIVE on the ice in Voyageurs National Park! Through this immersion, students will experience the wonder of the night sky and realize the importance of dark skies for both humans and wildlife. Teachers - please have your students begin working on their Activities or Engineering Design Challenges before this LIVE event.

The Long Tour and The Big Plunge: The Lucy and DAVINCI missions at NASA Goddard
Thursday, February 15
Live Virtual Program

This talk will follow the development, testing, and launch of the Lucy mission to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids in 2021. After that we’ll pivot to NASA Goddard’s next exciting planetary mission: dropping a probe into the extreme Venus atmosphere with DAVINCI.


Last year’s Boreal Stargazing Week attracted 9,000+ students from around the country, including classrooms in Maryland, Minnesota, California, Florida, Tennessee, and New Mexico! Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to immerse your classroom in Minnesota’s starbright skies and get your students interested in the fascinating world of astronomy.

A special thanks to Voyageurs Conservancy for helping put on these special events!
A Park Ranger points a laser and visitors gaze up at the star-filled night sky.

Gordy Lindgren


Why are we celebrating?

For generations, humans have looked to the stars for inspiration and connection. Located along the Minnesota-Canadian border is a rare sanctuary for starry skies. Voyageurs National Park and Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northern Minnesota make up one of the largest Dark Sky Regions in the world.

The Boreal Stargazing Week celebrates the importance of dark skies through virtual school programs and community events. Friends of the Boundary Waters, Voyageurs Conservancy, Starry Skies North, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the Bell Museum, are joining together to share boreal dark skies with folks of all ages and backgrounds. Enjoy snowshoe programs, telescope sessions, and live conversations with amateur astronomers. Join us for a free program and discover the wilderness above your head.

Last updated: February 8, 2024

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Contact Info

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Voyageurs National Park Headquarters
360 Hwy 11 East

International Falls, MN 56649



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