Star Gazing

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Star Gazing

Kissimmee Prairie - Star Gazing

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It is difficult to find a location in Florida that is further removed from urban and suburban light pollution than Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park. In 2016, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve was recognized as Florida's first Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association.

All Florida State Parks close at sunset, however we offer several ways to gain afterhours access to the preserve to enjoy the dark skies:

1). Reserve a campsite in either our family campground or equestrian campground online or by calling Reserve America.  

2). Reserve an astronomy pad site online or by calling Reserve America. There are special restrictions for the astronomy sites, after dark all lights must be red spectrum and no campfires are allowed on these sites. After an astronomy viewing pad is reserved, you would still need to arrive at the preserve prior to sunset and make contact with the ranger on duty to receive additional pertinent information  

3).  If you are a Florida State Parks Family Annual Pass holder interested in gaining access to the preserve after sunset, please come into the office during our regular office hours and sign up for an after-hours permit, which would grant you access to the preserve's common day use areas after hours. 

Star gazers have the chance to see stars, planets, and other celestial bodies in incomprehensible numbers and unforgettable brilliance.  Jupiter and Saturn are both clearly visible in the night sky. You may be able to witness the International Space Station making its orbit around Earth. Rocket launches from the space centers on the east coast are also viewable. Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park offers the best viewing of the night sky in the region and now has the credentials to prove it! *Please note that the entrance is closed daily 15 minutes after sunset, only registered campers or after hours pass holders are allowed entry after dark.

Long Key - Star Gazing

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The park has minimal light pollution and is an excellent place for viewing the night sky. Campers can view the wonders of the universe with the Florida Keys Astronomy Club on Tuesday nights (weather permitting). Ask at the ranger station for more details.

Curry Hammock - Star Gazing

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Campers are invited to join a local astronomy group on Saturday nights when the weather is clear to view the night sky from the parks' day-use area. Current star charts are posted in the kiosk and are available from the Ranger Station. Contact the Ranger Station for more information.

St Joseph - Star Gazing

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St. Joseph Peninsula State Park is an ideal place to stargaze. The Park is located far away from the bright lights of towns or other development. There are several open areas within the park where stargazers could set up a telescope and share knowledge of the stars with others. You will find the quiet, soft white sands of the beach a wonderful place to lay and gaze into the stars with a companion.

Mike Roess - Star Gazing

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Overnight campers can take advantage of the park's distance from the light pollution of major cities. For open views of the sky, check out the old boat ramp at the dead end of the main park drive. It might take your eyes as long as 15 to 20 minutes to adjust to the darkness, but if you wait, you can see the most of the stars. To keep from resetting this process, use a red light from your head lamp, or cover your flashlight with red cellophane. Unfortunately, day visitors must leave the park at sundown. Annual pass holders may apply for an after-hours permit directly from the park office. Visit the annual pass page for more information.

St George Island - Star Gazing

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Come and enjoy the wonderful star gazing opportunities with the darkest skies for miles around.  The Gulf of Mexico provides 180 degrees of no light pollution and the closest metropolitan areas are over 70 miles away.  These conditions allow star gazers to see the Milky Way and some of the fainter constellations.

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