Kick-off your Memorial Day Weekend on Friday, May 23, 2014 at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. At 7:00 p.m. at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire you can join astronomer, author, artist, and night sky ambassador Tyler Nordgren for an educational and entertaining program on the wonders of dark skies.
Dr. Nordgren is a Full Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Redlands in California and a member of the Board of Directors of the International Dark-Sky Association. Since 2005, he has worked with the National Park Service to promote astronomy education in U.S. national parks where the public still has a chance to see a natural nocturnal landscape. In addition, Dr. Nordgren has also developed a popular poster campaign in conjunction with the National Park Service to “See the Milky Way” in America’s parks where “Half the Park is After Dark.” Immediately following the auditorium presentation, he will be available to sign the Sleeping Bear Dunes night sky posters.
Star Party at the Dune Climb
At 10:00 p.m., visitors are invited to join the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society at the Dune Climb parking lot area for night sky viewing.
As an added bonus, In addition to regular night sky viewing, the evening could hold additional surprises in the form of the Camelopardalid meteor shower (click that link for an article from Michigan in Pictures). The Earth is expected to pass through the heart of the swarm at about 3:10 a.m., with the first meteors beginning to show up about 1:40 a.m.
All programs are free, and participants need only purchase the Park Entrance Pass or have an Annual Pass displayed in their vehicle to join in the fun. NOTE: The Star Party will be cancelled if the sky is not visible due to weather conditions. The decision to cancel is usually made three hours in advance. Please call 231-326-4700, ext. 5005, for a voicemail message with the decision.
Glen Haven Days
On Saturday, it’s the first annual Glen Haven Days from 10 AM – 4 PM. Join park rangers and volunteers in the restored Glen Haven Village and the U.S. Life-saving station for activities designed to bring history during the very early 1900s to life by providing visitors with first-hand experiences relating to Michigan’s maritime heritage. Watch a blacksmith at the forge, discover the unique history of one of the area’s founders, visit a general store, learn how different tools used in logging shaped this area, participate in a shipwreck rescue, and much more. All programs are free. Participants need only purchase the Park Entrance Pass or have an Annual Pass displayed in their vehicle to join in the fun.
Glen Haven is considered one of the best surviving examples of an early Great Lakes steamship village in the region. A large dock, fuel, food, and other services were provided to ships traveling the Great Lakes between Chicago and New York. Today, the National Park Service preserves and interprets the Blacksmith Shop, General Store, Cannery Boat Museum, and the Sleeping Bear Point Life-Saving Station.