Dr. T.K. Lawless International Dark Sky Park | 15122 Monkey Run Street, Vandalia | $2 per car
One of the hottest tourism trends is stargazing. And whether you’re a seasoned astronomer or someone looking for a new date-night idea or a fun, family activity, Southwest Michigan is your destination for some of the best night-sky viewings. We are home to Cass County’s Dr. T.K. Lawless Park, one of only two designated International Dark Sky Parks in Michigan and also an official Michigan Dark Sky Preserve.
The park will be open late on the following dates this year, weather permitting. Meet in the main parking lot and volunteers will guide you to the best viewing site.
- February 12 and 13: open until 10 p.m.
- March 12 and 13: open until midnight
- April 5-10: International Dark Sky Week — open daily until midnight
- May 14 and 15: open until 2 a.m.
- June 11 and 12: open until 2 a.m.
- The month of July, Michigan Dark Sky Awareness Month — open every Friday and Saturday until 2 a.m.
- August 11 and 12: Perseid Meteor Shower — open until midnight
- August 13 and 14: open until 2 a.m.
- September 10 and 11: open until 2 a.m.
- October 8 and 9: open until 2 a.m.
- November 5 and 6: open until 10 p.m.
- December 3 and 4: open until 10 p.m.
- December 14: Geminid Meteor Shower — open until midnight
Here’s what to bring with you.
You donʼt need expensive equipment. Your eyes are sufficient to view the beauty of the night sky. Dress for the night temperatures. Bring a portable chair for your comfort and a red-light flashlight to protect your night vision. It is important Night Sky etiquette to avoid using white light within a Dark Sky Park. It will only take a few minutes for your eyes to adjust to a truly dark sky location. Of course, bringing along binoculars and telescopes, plus some snacks, will add to the fun.