Spring at Observatory Park

For casual visitors, Observatory Park is open daily 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 10610 Clay Street in Montville Township. For those wanting a more guided experience, however, Naturalist (“Astro-Nat”) Chris Mentrek is eager to show you around this International Dark Sky Park.

Park buildings are open the second and fourth weekends of each month: Friday and Saturday for self-guided night sky viewing with Park District telescopes from 6 to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. with The Sky Tonight Planetarium Show at 2 p.m. to tell you “what’s up” in the night sky. Planetarium shows this month fall on April 12 and 26, May 10 and 24, and June 14 and 28.

More structured programming is also available for visitors of all ages and interests!

Biweekly Friday programs include Navigating By the Stars (where you’ll learn to use a sextant, the sun and stars to find your position on Earth) on April 10 and 24 from 7 to 9 p.m.; The Human Orrery (where you’ll act out the orbits of the sun, planets, constellations and asteroids in our clockwork model) on May 8 and 22 from 7 to 8 p.m.; and The New Horizons Space Probe (where you’ll learn about the outer-solar-system mission of the New Horizons space probe, including never-before-seen close-ups on Pluto) on June 12 and 26 from 7 to 8 p.m.

Special programs to study the season’s full moons are scheduled for Saturday, April 4, from 8 to 9 p.m. (The Frog Moon – with highlights of the eclipse in our planetarium); Sunday, May 3, from 8 to 9 p.m. (The Flower Moon); and Tuesday, June 2, from 9 to 10 p.m. (The Strawberry Moon).

Have you ever wanted to explore an old dump? Visit Observatory Park on Saturday, April 25, from 1 to 3 p.m. for Earth Day Dump Clean-Up to dig through one used by a household 50 to 100 years ago! To take part in the fun, register at http://geaugaparkdistrict.org or 440-286-9516, and bring along gloves, a small hand trowel and sturdy footwear for wet off-trail conditions.

Did you notice a decline in the number of fireflies last year? Scientists have – and they need your help to determine why! Drop in to Firefly Watch – Before It’s Too Late on Saturday, June 13, any time from 8 to 9:30 p.m. to assist with this citizen science project.

On Sunday, June 21, from 6 to 9:30 p.m., our annual Solar Day & Solstice Sunset program includes fun activities like solar cooking, solar-powered toy car racing, light-sensitive bead testing and safe sun viewing before the latest sunset of the year – after 9 p.m.!

And kids can now start reading “The Extraordinary Education Of Nicholas Benedict” by Trenton Lee Stewart and register at http://geaugaparkdistrict.org or 440-286-9516 to take part in our debut Books Alive program on Wednesday, June 24, from 10 a.m. to noon. We can’t wait to live the book by hiking to an old observatory, practicing with Morse code and solving puzzles!

Summer day camps also include stops at Observatory Park, with one $30 X-TREME Day on Monday, June 29, focusing entirely on an Air and Space Challenge for teens entering grades 8 to 10. Learn details and how to register at http://bit.ly/gpdcamps.

Other than the dump clean-up, Books Alive and summer camps, all Observatory Park programs this season are free to attend without registration and wheelchair/stroller accessible. Learn more about the park at http://bit.ly/gpdop, and for details on other park programs this spring, visit http://geaugaparkdistrict.org and click Find a Program/Event.

Geauga News
Author: Geauga News