Night Sky Event: Tips to Make the Most of This Annual Event

Night Sky Event: Tips to Make the Most of This Annual Event

By Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Take in the beauty of the annual Perseid Meteor Shower at on Saturday, August 10th at Hitchcock Nature Center. This spectacular display of lights and falling meteors is an event you don’t want to miss. Join us at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 10th at the park entrance. No pre-registration required.
This annual event has grown in popularity during recent years. With these large crowds have come new challenges for park staff and we have some tips for you to help you make the most of this fantastic astronomical event. 
  1. This event is free with a valid membership to the Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation. Pick up your membership at any of our parks before the event or purchase yours online at www.pottawattamieconservationfoundation.com in advance to make entering the park faster.
  2. Don’t want to become a member? Admission for non-members is just $3.00 per vehicle. Bring exact change for the front gate to make your entrance to the park quick and easy. Please note, NO CREDIT CARDS WILL BE ACCEPTED AT THE FRONT GATE DURING THIS EVENT. Please bring cash or check only.
  3. Space in the park is limited, late comers may be turned away or have to wait for entry. No participants arriving after 10:00 p.m. will be admitted.
  4. Please follow staff directions to the nearest available parking. Due to the popularity of this event this may mean you and your party have to walk from a more removed parking spot to our viewing area. Please be prepared for this and let park staff know if anyone in your party has mobility issues, we will do our best to accommodate.
  5. This event begins at 8:30 p.m. & we plan on closing the gates at 10:30 p.m. Gates may remain open later at the discretion of the park ranger on duty & based on the number of event participants. Vehicles remaining in the park after the gates close will be locked in until 6:00 a.m. so watch that clock as the evening wears on.
  6. Please be familiar with your vehicle’s headlight operations, vehicles will be asked to dim their headlights as they enter the park to avoid excess light pollution that impacts meteor shower viewing. 
  7. Please exercise patience and caution when exiting the park as crowds, narrow park roads, and dark conditions will make safe vehicle travel difficult. Park staff may provide you with directions to facilitate a safe exit, please listen to and follow their directions.
  8. Guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs, blankets, binoculars & telescopes to view nature’s fireworks. Insect repellent is also a very good idea!
  9. Picnic dinners are always welcome & no concessions will be available for sale during the event. No alcohol please. And remember, if you pack it in, please pack it out.
  10. We don’t recommend bringing your pets to this event but well behaved dogs on short leashes are are permitted should you decide to bring them. Please pick up and remove all pet waste so we can avoid any messy situations. Please use your best judgement when deciding to bring your pooch. Disruptive pets will be asked to leave the event.
  11. This is an outdoor event. Should we make any changes to the event due to inclement weather we will post that news to Facebook first. Follow us on Facebook for all event news.
  12. Looking to arrive early and avoid the crowds? We have two terrific programs beginning at 4:00 p.m. Come early & bring your dinner. You can attend the program & then pick your viewing spot early for a picnic dinner in the Loess Hills.
    Nature Club – This fun & informative program is designed for participants age 5 to 14 & will take budding environmental scientists into the Loess Hills for some hands on learning & experimentation with our Environmental Education staff.  This program is open to children of all experience levels, cost is $3.00 per child & pre-registration is requested.  Click Here for More Information & to Pre-Register Online
    2019 Speaker Series – Ages 14 & over are invited to join us for Sacred Seed: An Indigenous Heirloom Seed Journey with Taylor Keen. Taylor is the of Sacred Seed, a project with the goal of preserving Native American heritage & history through collecting, growing, & spreading the seeds of corn & other traditional Native American foods. Taylor will be sharing his personal story of reuniting with his tribal roots & reconnecting with the 4 Sisters (corn, beans, squash, & sunflower). This program is being presented as part of the 2019 Speaker Series & is free with park admission. Pre-registration is requested. Click Here For More Information & to Pre-Register Online.
We can’t wait to see everyone at what is quickly becoming one of our most popular events. If you have any questions or need additional information please call the park at 712-545-3283 to speak with Hitchcock Nature Center staff. See you at the park!
Featured Image: Courtesy of NASA