Summertime at Observatory Park

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 Boomerangs, ladybugs and meteorites – oh my!

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, the astronomy naturalists are glad to help, and will continue their special program throughout the summer at this International Dark Sky Park.

Each Friday and Saturday night, park buildings will be open from 6 to 11 p.m. and staffed with an “astro-nat” for self-guided night sky viewing, as weather permits, and the occasional use of the Oberle reflecting telescope.

Each Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., enjoy building open houses of the Robert McCullough Science Center and the Oberle Observatory to view the meteorite display (featuring a real meteorite you can touch!) and the Oberle telescope, with its 25.5″ mirror. These hours also include The Sky Tonight Planetarium Show Sundays at 2 p.m., offering a naturalist-hosted preview of “what’s up.”

More structured programming is available for visitors of all ages and interest groups, as well.

Sponsored by the Chip Henry Institute for Outdoor Adventure, Geauga Park District debuted its weeklong summer day camps this year, which include Space Camp for ages 10 to 12 the weeks of July 15 and July 29, and for ages 13 to 15 the weeks of July 8, July 22 and August 5. Find details online.

Biweekly Friday programs include Henges: A How-to Guide on July 12 and 26 from 7 to 9 p.m.; Big? Compared to What?: Relative Sizes in the Universe on August 9 and 23 from 7 to 9 p.m.; and Women in Space on September 13 and 27 from 7 to 8 p.m.

Programs to study the full moons are scheduled for Monday, July 22 (the Buck Moon), from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.; Thursday, August 20 (the Green Corn Moon), from 8 to 9:30 p.m.; and Thursday, September 19 (the Harvest Moon), from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

And did you know there is a Cleveland Boomerang School? For just $10, join instructor Dave Boehm to learn to make and fly high-quality boomerangs at the Boomerang Workshop on Saturday, July 27, from 1 to 3 p.m.

The Perseid meteor shower has been observed worldwide for about 2,000 years, and the tradition will continue Sunday, August 11, as Observatory Park stays open all night for a Meteor Shower Event. Best viewing will be from 1 to 3 p.m., so get comfortable, bring a reclining lawn chair and blankets, and just lay back and enjoy the show. Watch, too, for Astro-nat Wayne Kriynovich, who will be strolling around to casually answer questions and point out other interesting objects in the summer sky.

Parents may also register their kiddos ages 3 to 5 for Timbertots: Space Explorers on Sunday, August 11, from 3 to 4 p.m., or Friday, August 16, from 10 to 11 a.m. or 1 to 2 p.m.

EZ Go Cart Tours will be held at Observatory Park for those with limited mobility on Sunday, September 15, from 1 to 4 p.m. Register for your half-hour tour today at 440-286-9516.

Park visitors can take nets to the fields to discover native and non-native species of ladybugs during the Lost Ladybug Search program on Sunday, September 22, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Any species discovered that are new to Observatory Park will be shared with Cornell University’s citizen science program, The Lost Ladybug Project.

Only the boomerang workshop, summer day camps, Timbertots and EZ Go Cart Tours require registration; all others are free to attend without registration. For details on these and other Geauga Park District programs, visit the website and click Find a Program.

Geauga Park District is onlineFacebookTwitter and YouTube.

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