Star Parties Are Nothing But Cool.

Stargazing is the perfect activity to share with kids of all ages –  seven to 87. Sharing the heavens with a child makes memories that will last forever. I have my favorite spots and with summer on its way – I am just saying…

Search the heavens from LA.The classic Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory Star Party Night

Free stargazing night at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

has a modest display of astronomy exhibits, an innovative planetarium theater,  and a telescope to view the moon and planets at night. The punch line – they host monthly free star party nights. (Griffith Observatory www.GriffithObs.org)

Plan ahead and visit the big one. From classic and comfy to WOW!, Palomar Observatory near San Diego is the location of the largest telescope in the United States. Because this observatory is a working research center it is tough to get inside however The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center conducts a limited number of night-guided tours appropriate for ages 10 and older. If you love star gazing this is a must but plan ahead – way ahead. (Palomar Observatory www.rhfleet.org/site/astronomy/Palomar.html)

The stars at night are big and bright. McDonald Observatory – I love this place because of the exceptional ways to share science with children. Located atop Mt. Locke in the heart of the Davis Mountains, McDonald Observatory is definitely fun, magical, and inspiring. The Solar Viewing, Star Parties, and Twilight Programs, are all geared to relate to all ages. Make sure to take sweaters and ear muffs because the nights can be chilly. (McDonald Observatory Frank N. Bash Visitors Center http://mcdonaldobservatory.org)

A star party on the rim. This year the annual Grand Canyon Star Party (GCSP) will be held from June 18th through 25th on both the North Rim and the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Bring your own telescope but you don’t have one there will be plenty to share. Organized by the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association and anything they do is terrific not just because of the Arizona skies but because the atmosphere they create is always professional yet fun, friendly, and educational.

Arizona Star Party North Rim Grand Canyon

Summer stargazing with family, friends, and experts.

Our family has logged more than a dozen star parties with this group. www.tucsonastronomy.org/gcsp.html

Kitt Peak is the perfect place to share the stars. In the early 90s we made our first star party on the peak. It was a novelty then and we were new to star parties. I am thrilled to say they have expanded the night viewing program to include viewing everything from planets to distant galaxies

using state-of the-art telescopes (16 & 20 inch) – yes the real thing! They have viewing every night except during monsoon season but this is a popular program so advance reservations are essential. www.noao.edu/outreach/nop/