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

Leonid Lantern Walk
Nov 17 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Leonid Lantern Walk

The stars keep falling through the different regions of the sky in this season of Meteor Showers. This night features Leo the Lion! Join us for a lantern walk through our trails, followed by a presentation from NOMAC inside the Waterfront Event Center. We will be providing warm cider, hot cocoa, deli sandwiches and cookies!

The telescopes will be out on the viewing platform for stargazing as the meteor shower gets most active!

Admission:  $10/person

Geminid Meteor Shower
Dec 13 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

COST $10
The Rock Comet, 3200 Phaethon stirs up the night with its annual meteor shower and we’ll be there to guide you through catching the falling stars.

Dec 13 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Emmet County Parks & Recreation officials will be taking time during our Geminid Meteor Shower event Thursday, Dec. 13, to recognize our volunteers for their dedication and hard work this past year. Please join us to thank them for all their contributions in the continued success of the Headlands International Dark Sky Park.

The night kicks off with a presentation at 7 p.m. by Rod Cortright from Northern Michigan Astronomy Club (NOMAC) on the 3200 Phaethon “Rock Comet” that is the parent body of the Geminids meteor shower which approaches Earth in mid-December. Weather-permitting, telescopes will be brought out on the viewing platform for stargazing from 8-10 p.m. Astronomers will be on hand to guide visitors as they turn their eyes to the skies.

Admission is $10 per person with free refreshments provided from 7-10 p.m.

Winter Solstice
Dec 21 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

COST $10
Celebrate the Solstice by bringing light and rhythm into the dark stillness of the season. Listen as musicians entertain, learn about the solstice night sky, and craft a hand rolled beeswax candle.

Cosmic Saturday – Astrophotography Workshop
Feb 9 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm