4th Annual Night Sky Festival

NOTE: While we're busy planning, please check out our 2019 details below to get an idea of what to expect in 2020!

August 2020

Activities take place in a variety of locations throughout Shenandoah National Park.

Little Stony Man Night Sky - Shenandoah National Park

Discover the Park after dark during the annual Night Sky Festival! Join us for stargazing, Ranger talks, kids activities, and guest presentations ranging from topics such as space weather, space travel, and our future in space.

Junior Ranger Night Explorer books are available for free throughout the weekend and can be picked up at Park visitor centers.

For full festival details, visit the NPS website.

Stay at Big Meadows Lodge (mile 51) or Skyland (mile 41.7 & 42.5) for convenient, in-park lodging closest to the activities! But, book now, because rooms fill fast.

Book Your Shenandoah Reservation Today Big Meadows Lodge

Book Your Shenandoah Reservation Today Skyland

All events are free with park admission. If you plan on attending one of the outdoor evening activities make sure to be prepared for the weather and bring a flashlight with a red filter. Outdoor activities may be canceled in the case of inclement weather.


Friday, August 9, 2019

Dickey Ridge Visitor Center:

  • The Shenandoah Story Find out how night skies are important to the park’s nocturnal animals and how phases of the moon affect behavior. 11:30 a.m. to noon, Dickey Ridge Visitor Center patio.

Skyland

  • Evening Program: “Shenandoah’s Night Sky” Join a Ranger to see how planets, stars, constellations, galaxies and humans are interconnected. 8:30-9:15 p.m., Skyland amphitheater.

Byrd Visitor Center/Big Meadows:

  • “What Does Space Mean to Us?” Join a Ranger for a discussion on space and our connections to the cosmos. The program will be guided by the audience’s own experience with space, as well as responses left on discussion boards. 3:00-4:00 p.m., Byrd Visitor Center auditorium.
  • Night Sky Stories in the Daytime Learn how different cultures have interpreted celestial patterns through stories, and design your own constellation! Designed for ages 7-14. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 4:30-5:30 p.m., Byrd Visitor Center patio.
  • Moongazing Join amateur astronomers to get a close-up view of the moon and perhaps a few other celestial objects. Sponsored by Delaware North Companies. Bring chairs and blankets and dress for cool mountain nights. 8:00-10:30 p.m., Rapidan Fire Road. In case of inclement weather, check status at (540) 999-2222.
  • Under the Stars Join Rangers for moongazing and perhaps a few constellations despite the moon’s glare. 8:30-10:30 p.m., Rapidan Fire Road.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Dickey Ridge Visitor Center/Mathews Arm Campground:

  • The Shenandoah Story Learn how adaptations allow bats to pursue their secretive lives at night. 11:30 a.m. to noon, Dickey Ridge Visitor Center patio.
  • Junior Ranger Program Discover the amazing world of animals that are active at night. Designed for ages 7-12. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 4:30-5:30 p.m. Meet at parking lot near Mathews Arm Campground entrance kiosk.
  • Evening Program: “Howls & Owls” Join a Ranger to learn how darkness and light pollution affect creatures of the night. 7:30-8:15 p.m., Mathews Arm Campground amphitheater.

Byrd Visitor Center/Big Meadows:

  • “Sky Walking: An Astronaut’s Journey” Join Tom Jones, a veteran of four space shuttle missions, on a virtual spaceflight with a rumbling blast-off, a spacewalk at the International Space Station, and a fiery return to Earth. PowerPoint presentation sponsored by Delaware North Companies. 1:00 to 1:45 p.m., Byrd Visitor Center auditorium. Book signing afterward.
  • Junior Ranger Program Listen to a storyteller spin tales about the night sky and design your own stars and constellations! Designed for ages 7-12. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 2:30-4:00 p.m., Byrd Visitor Center patio.
  • “What Does Space Mean to Us?” Join a Ranger for a discussion on space and our connections to the cosmos. The program will be guided by the audience’s own experience with space, as well as responses left on discussion boards. 3:00-4:00 p.m., Byrd Visitor Center auditorium.
  • “Beyond Earth: Humanity’s Future in Space” Join astronaut and space scientist Tom Jones to learn about breakthroughs that open space to scientific exploration and commercial opportunities. PowerPoint presentation sponsored by Delaware North Companies. 4:30-5:15 p.m., Byrd Visitor Center auditorium.
  • Night Sky Stories in the Daytime Learn how different cultures have interpreted celestial patterns through stories, and design your own constellation! Designed for ages 7-14. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Byrd Visitor Center patio.
  • “This Isn’t Your Grandaddy’s Moon” Join NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador Greg Redfern, to learn about the latest missions to the moon by NASA, China and India. PowerPoint presentation sponsored by Delaware North Companies. 7:00-7:45 p.m. and 8:00-8:45 p.m., Byrd Visitor Center auditorium.
  • Under the Stars Join Rangers for moongazing and perhaps a few constellations despite the moon’s glare. 8:30-10:30 p.m., Rapidan Fire Road.
  • Evening Program: “Shenandoah’s Night Sky” Join a Ranger to see how planets, stars, constellations, galaxies and humans are interconnected. 8:30-9:15 p.m., Big Meadows amphitheater.

Loft Mountain:

  • Evening Program: “Stories in the Stars” Join a Ranger for tales about constellations and the real importance of dark night skies. 8:30-9:15 p.m., Loft Mountain amphitheater.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Dickey Ridge Visitor Center:

  • The Shenandoah Story Learn how adaptations allow bats to pursue their secretive lives at night. 11:30 a.m. to noon, Dickey Ridge Visitor Center patio.
  • “Down the Great Sky Road” Discover the historic, cultural and practical uses of astronomy by early Native Americans. Take a look through the park telescope after the talk. Bring chairs or blankets. 9:00 to 10:00 p.m., Dickey Ridge Visitor Center patio.

Big Meadows:

  • Evening Program: “Stories in the Stars” Join a Ranger for tales about constellations and the real importance of dark night skies. 8:30-9:15 p.m., Big Meadows amphitheater.
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