Programs & Events

The Headlands is open 24 hours a day, every day, at no charge. There is no camping allowed. Programs take place rain or shine! Visitors are welcomed to stay out through the night for dark-sky viewing opportunities (camping units like tents and campers are not permitted; the Headlands is not intended as an overnight sleeping destination but a place to stay awake and view the stars!). You may bring blankets, sleeping bags, chairs, food, beverages, etc. Plan accordingly and dress for temperatures 10 degrees below what you expect.

Please use red-filtered flashlights only during your visit to the Headlands. Learn more here

Of special note for 2016 …

  • Construction on our waterfront program and observatory facility is well underway at the site of the former Beach House. Since Headlands remains open during construction, this portion of the property is closed to public access. Abide by the signage within the park to ensure the safety of all of our guests and to allow us to complete the project in a timely manner. All events listed on this brochure will take place at Headlands shoreline viewing, the Guest House, or at the Heritage Village, which is directly across the street from Headlands entrance. CONSTRUCTION UPDATES
  •  Programs take place rain or shine and no reservations are required unless otherwise noted.
  •  Register for email blasts about programs by contacting  darksky@emmetcounty.org or (231) 348-1713.

 

Dec
29
Thu
Snowshoe Hike Through the 12 Days of Christmas @ Meet at Park Entrance
Dec 29 @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

The last New Moon of 2016 occurs during the sacred season of dark and quiet that bridges the old year to the new, traditionally known as the 12 Days of Christmas, allowing for unique contemplation of where we’ve been, and where we’re going! You’re invited to contemplate this passage of time in the old growth forest of Headlands, and to participate in engaging storytelling of the night sky. The stars of the season have lent themselves to many cultural tales and traditions, some of which will be shared both indoors and out, especially since these 12 days correspond to the 12 months of the year, and these to the 12 constellations of the zodiac. In addition to snowshoe hiking through the woods, guests can participate in making a workbook/journal designed to allow for contemplation of life experience relative to the stars.

“Winter stargazing can be deeply satisfying, because the cool air makes the night crisp and clear,” said Mary Stewart Adams, Program Director for the Headlands International Dark Sky Park.

Program happens rain, snow or shine! If we can’t take to the trails with our snowshoes, then we’ll hike the woods and enjoy the quiet outdoors with tales of the night sky.

Limited number of snowshoes available by reservation, but it is best to bring your own. (231) 348-1713 to reserve a pair.

Jan
7
Sat
Plan Your New Year with the Stars @ Guest House Headlands International Dark Sky Park
Jan 7 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Planning your new year with the stars

In ages gone by, community life was centered around the observance of celestial phenomena, with the consequence that the sites from which this observing took place would naturally be the place for celebrating life’s most significant moments. At Headlands, we’re stepping into the wisdom of this tradition with our first program of the New Year, during which we will highlight all the terrific phenomena coming toward us in 2017, designed to support all of us in our effort to find harmony in the greater rhythm of things! Though not required, we recommend you bring calendars and writing instruments so you can be a scribe of the stars all year long by knowing in advance how to center your year around meteor showers, eclipses, and all the other starry events unfolding overhead. During this program we will provide specific dates and times for the celestial highlights of the year, with viewing tips and the cultural history of the phenomena.

Jan
28
Sat
A Winter Moon makes for the Darkest Night of the Year @ Guest House Headlands International Dark Sky Park
Jan 28 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Big_Dipper_l

The position of the Big Dipper region of Ursa Major can be used like a mighty celestial clock to determine the seasons of the year and the time of night!

January’s New Moon carries the promise of deep darkness for finding the stars and constellations that are used to determine the celestial new year, not only in the Chinese Calendar, but in the Native American and Christian cultures as well. At Headlands we’ll get together just before sunset to prepare for some winter stargazing.
Feb
11
Sat
The Romance of the Stars @ Guest House Headlands International Dark Sky Park
Feb 11 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
In February we peer into the opposite sweep of stars in our Milky Way spiral than is pictured here from late summer 2016, which can make the individual stars appear more brilliant

In February we peer into the opposite sweep of stars in our Milky Way spiral than is pictured here from late summer 2016 at Headlands, which can make the individual stars appear more brilliant. Photo by Joe Garza.

In the heart of winter as we ready to celebrate love at Valentine’s Day, Headlands plans to host special guest Laszlo Slomovitz of the Gemini Twins out of Ann Arbor with his extraordinary project of setting the mystic poems of Rumi and Hafiz to song. Guests  may bring snack and beverage and arrive early to catch sunset at 6 pm, or arrive 6:30-6:45 pm to park, get settled and wait for the show to begin, and stay late, because the Moon will touch the heart star Regulus in the midnight sky! Please check back for program details.

Mar
18
Sat
Catch a falling star…on camera!
Mar 18 @ 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm

 

Learn to photograph the night sky at Headlands! Image from shoreline viewing area by P Hodges Adams

Learn to photograph the night sky at Headlands! Image from shoreline viewing area by P Hodges Adams

Stay tuned for exciting details about our super, hands-on night sky photography lecture and workshop as we round the corner toward Spring Equinox, when even the aurora get more active! PLEASE NOTE: time subject to change, so be sure to check back for updates

Apr
7
Fri
Statewide Astronomy Night
Apr 7 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
The Observatory Tower at Headlands features an Ash Dome and 20" PlaneWave Telescope on sneak preview during Statewide Astronomy Night April 7, 2017

The Observatory Tower at Headlands features an Ash Dome and 20″ PlaneWave Telescope that will be on sneak preview during Statewide Astronomy Night April 7, 2017

Tonight, Headlands partners with Michigan State University and organizations around the Great Lakes State to celebrate Statewide Astronomy Night (SWAN) at our observatory facility, where we will preview our new Roger McCormick 20″ PlaneWave telescope for peering deeply into the sky. Participants are also encouraged to bring their own telescopes, and questions for our experts about how to use them, which to buy, what to see, and more!
May
6
Sat
Photographing the night sky
May 6 @ 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm

It’s the season of our 2011 anniversary as the world’s 9th International Dark Sky Park, and we’re inviting you to join us for an exceptional evening of learning how to photograph the night sky ~ from those in the know! Details on this great event forthcoming, but save the date!

May
20
Sat
Preparing for the Great American Eclipse
May 20 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
The Great American Eclipse, as rendered by Tyler Nordgren, artist astronomer extraordinaire

The Great American Eclipse, as rendered by Tyler Nordgren, artist, author,  and astronomer extraordinaire

stay tuned for details regarding a potential program at Headlands Waterfront Center that includes a virtual interview with Tyler Nordgren, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Redlands, in anticipation of what is already being predicted to be the most-watched celestial phenomena in history ~the Great American Eclipse of August, 2017.

Note: This event is designed to raise awareness about the eclipse, which will bisect the United States from the Pacific northwest to the Atlantic southeast on August 21, 2017. To view the total eclipsing of the Sun, observers must be directly in the path of the of the eclipse shadow. From Headlands, the Moon will appear to only partially eclipse the Sun on August 21, 2017.