Programs & Events


Welcome to the Headlands International Dark Sky Park! The grounds, trails, and viewing areas at the Headlands are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Visitors are welcome 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 lake shore.

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

Our programs take place rain or shine, and no reservations are required unless otherwise noted.

Please save some time during your visit to stop by our “Out of This World” Gift Shop!

The Observatory is limited to park staff and researchers. Visuals when the Observatory is open are projected onto the big screen monitors on the main level. On clear nights during the summer, the Headlands staff will bring telescopes out onto the viewing platform and professional star-gazers and astronomers are often onsite to enhance your viewing experience. Visitors are welcome to bring their own telescopes and/or binoculars. Park staff maintains the number of people in the park by limiting parking only to the 67 parking spaces near the event center. On clear and warm nights, please expect to wait at the entrance for the next available parking.

While the grounds, trails, viewing areas and restrooms at Headlands are always open and freely accessible, the Waterfront Event Center is only open to the public during scheduled programming and gift shop hours. The Waterfront Event Center at the Headlands 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 [email protected] and be sure to follow our Facebook page for more news and photos.

Dark Sky Park Program Coordinator
Call 231.427.1001

LEONIDS METEOR SHOWER @ Zoom online event
Nov 17 @ 5:30 pm

    NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador Rod Cortright will host a virtual presentation about meteor showers and where they come from in celebration of the Leonids Meteor Shower on Tuesday, Nov. 17, beginning at 5:30 p.m. locally.
    The Leonids Meteor Shower will peak on the night of Nov. 16 and in the early morning hours of Nov. 17, observable looking towards the eastern sky. Join the Zoom event here with a computer or smart phone and learn more!

Great Conjunction of Saturn & Jupiter @ Zoom online event
Dec 14 @ 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm

A great conjunction occurs when planets have the same right ascension or celestial longitude. Great conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn take place regularly, about every 20 years, due to the combined effect of Jupiter’s approximately 12-year orbital period and Saturn’s approximately 30-year orbital period. Join the “Ask an Astronomer Zoom” to watch a live cast of the conjunction and ask all the astronomy questions you have while enjoying this astronomical occurrence. CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE EVENT ON ZOOM (password = 9HwHr0)

Mar 20 @ 11:30 am

Join park staff on Saturday, March 20 for a socially-distanced stroll along Headlands’ trails to celebrate the Spring Equinox and the changing of the season. If you would like to go as a group, we will meet at 11:30 a.m. in the trailhead parking area, located just inside the park entrance. The group will take off for the hike at noon. Hike length will be decided by participants before the group hike sets out. Trail maps are available at the trailhead. Dress for the weather and bring a friend! Children and friendly pets welcome (pets must remain on a leash).

Apr 22 @ 10:00 pm

Join Headlands staff on Thursday, April 22 for a natural eye viewing of the Lyrids Meteor Shower. Dress for the weather (typically 10 degrees cooler than the forecast with the breeze off the water) and note the sky conditions as clouds and the phase of the moon will affect what your naked eye can see. Follow the Headlands on Facebook for updates prior to the event.