Great Sand Dunes to Host Dark Sky Celebration

Milky Way over Medano Creek (NPS)

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is hosting a dark sky celebration on Saturday, August 27th from 6:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at the outdoor amphitheater. Far from the light pollution of urban areas, Great Sand Dunes protects some of Colorado’s darkest night skies. This free event will celebrate and educate visitors about the benefits to dark sky preservation.

The event begins with a 30-minute “Birds of Prey” presentation at 6:30pm by the Nature and Wildlife Discovery Center of Pueblo, Colorado. Shortly following the presentation, visitors will have the chance to meet owls rehabilitated at the Discovery and Nature Center.

A kids’ activity and information table will be set up at 7:30pm for visitors of all ages to learn about reducing light pollution and appreciating the dark skies. Staffed tables will provide astronomy information, handouts, and the Junior Ranger Night Explorer activity book. Upon completion of this activity book, kids can earn a special night sky patch. A ranger-led program will begin at 8:30pm followed by multiple telescope viewings of planets and deep sky objects. The event concludes at 11pm but stargazers are encouraged to continue enjoying the dark skies after the event.