Programs & Events

Dark Sky Park Program Director
(231) 427-1001

Welcome to the Headlands International Dark Sky Park! The grounds, trails, and viewing areas at Headlands are open 24 hours a day, every day, at no charge. Visitors are welcomed to stay out through the night for dark-sky viewing opportunities, but camping is not permitted. Units like tents and campers are not allowed in the park. The Headlands is not intended as an overnight sleeping destination but instead is designed as a place to stay awake and view the stars! You may bring blankets, sleeping bags, chairs, food, beverages, etc. When packing, keep in mind that temperatures are typically 10 degrees lower than expected due to our proximity to the lakeshore.

To protect the darkness of the park, please use red-filtered flashlights during your visit to the Headlands. Learn more here.

2018 Emmet Dark Sky Program and Observatory Brochure
Our programs take place rain or shine, and no reservations are required unless otherwise noted.

2018 Headlands Programming & Observatory Fee Schedule 
Parking – When necessary for crowd control/safety (by Event Center Only) $10/spot 
Scheduled Program fees vary based on event as some cover cost of supplies distributed
(*See program schedule for details)
$5-$20*
Unscheduled/private event programming $10/person, $150 minimum
Observatory fee – scheduled days only $3/person (children under 5 are free)
Observatory fee – unscheduled days only (extra fee to open & staff for private tour) $250 base fee plus $3/person
REDUCED FEES FOR SCHOOL PROGRAMMING. APPLIES TO ALL K-12. PLEASE CALL FOR MORE INFORMATION 

Rent Emmet County’s Waterfront Event Center and Observatory at the Headlands. While the grounds, trails, viewing areas and restrooms are Headlands are always open and freely accessible, the Waterfront Event Center and the Observatory are open to the public during scheduled programming only. The Waterfront Event Center is available for private rental. 

To stay up-to-date on news and events at the Headlands International Dark Sky Park, register for email blasts by contacting darksky@emmetcounty.org or 231-427-1001.

Apr
29
Sun
Observatory Open
Apr 29 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Observatory Open

$3/person, at the door. Contact 231-427-1001 if you have questions.

May
5
Sat
Mid-Season Birding Hike
May 5 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

We’re not just a pretty dark sky park, we are a wonderful daytime resource as well, and we host to a beautiful section of the Sunset Coast Birding Trail that wends its way through our area, following black-throated green warblers, the Northern Parula, bald eagles, osprey, and more. Join us for this afternoon walk in the woods, sighting the birds.

Cost:  Free

May
12
Sat
Cosmic Gizmos and Gadgets to Celebrate Our 7th Anniversary as an Award-Winning Dark Sky Park
May 12 @ 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Cosmic Gizmos and Gadgets to Celebrate Our 7th Anniversary as an Award-Winning Dark Sky Park

You’re invited to help us celebrate our 7th anniversary of being named the world’s 9th International Dark Sky Park in 2011. What’s more, in 2017, we were recognized with the Pure Award from the Governor’s Pure Michigan Tourism Campaign, and the International Dark Sky Association bestowed upon us the first-ever-awarded International Dark Sky Place of the Year!

At this event we are gathering our favorite hobbyists, professionals, and enthusiasts to talk about all the latest and greatest in the research and technology of the night. Come learn about which are the best gizmos and gadgets for navigating, learning about, and photographing the night sky.

Cost is $10.00.
Limited preferred parking available: $10

Info at :(231) 427-1001

We’re Having a Party
May 12 @ 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm
We're Having a Party

Come celebrate our 1st Anniversary at the International Dark Sky Park on May 12 from 8:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Come see all the latest Gadgets and Gizmos from our Experts who will share the latest navigating tools for the Night Sky. We will be providing Free Cake, drinks and gizmo gifts to all who attend and celebrate with us!

Observatory Open
May 12 @ 10:00 pm – 12:00 am
Observatory Open

$3/person, at the door. Contact 231-427-1001 if you have questions.

LIMITED PREFERRED PARKING $10

May
26
Sat
Observatory Open
May 26 @ 10:00 pm – 12:00 am
Observatory Open

$3/person, at the door. Contact 231-427-1001 if you have questions.

LIMITED PREFERRED PARKING $10

May
27
Sun
Observatory Open
May 27 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Observatory Open

$3/person, at the door. Contact 231-427-1001 if you have questions.

Jun
18
Mon
Crescent Moon Monday with Norbert Vance, Professor of Astronomy, Eastern Michigan University
Jun 18 @ 9:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Crescent Moon Monday with Norbert Vance, Professor of Astronomy, Eastern Michigan University

Throughout the summer we will gather at sunset with special guests who will inform, inspire, and entertain us with their passion for the stars, while the Crescent Moon sinks with the sunset into the lake. This month, we feature Norbert Vance, Professor of Astronomy at EMU, who will share how the Moon got those big gray splotches, and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission, among other amazing Moon stories!

Cost is $5.00

Info at: (231) 427-1001

Jun
21
Thu
A Celebration of Native American Seasonal Traditions
Jun 21 @ 4:00 pm – 11:00 pm
A Celebration of Native American Seasonal Traditions

COST $5
LIMITED PREFERRED PARKING $10

The Sun reaches its highest hour ~ called its Solstice ~ at dawn on June 21st, and then appears to rest for several days before beginning the long trek back south along the horizon, toward its Winter Solstice moment. These moments when the Sun appears to “stand still” have always been regarded as the most sacred in the cycle of the year, celebrated by indigenous cultures around the world for centuries. In fact, the further back in history we go, the more evident the observance of these kinds of astronomical phenomena are, informing everything from where to build the sacred sites, how to farm the land, even how to organize community. Today we will celebrate the food, ceremony, and tradition of the people native to the region where Headlands is located. Join us!

Observatory Open
Jun 21 @ 11:00 pm – Jun 22 @ 1:00 am

$3/person, at the door. Contact 231-427-1001 if you have questions.

LIMITED PREFERRED PARKING $10