ARIZONA STATE PARKS: For Immediate Release
Managing and conserving Arizona’s natural, cultural and recreational resources for the benefit of the people, both in our Parks and through our Partners. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ellen Bilbrey at (602) 542-1996 or (602) 228-8518 or Monica Enriquez at (602) 542-6997. Contact by Email: pio(at)azstateparks.gov
(Phoenix, Arizona - March 15, 2014) - Lost Dutchman State Park and Tonto Natural Bridge State Park will host separate Star Parties. Lost Dutchman will hold one on Saturday, March 29, and Tonto Natural Bridge will hold one on Saturday, April 5, 2014. Families are welcome to come spend an evening and observe the wonders of the night sky through astronomers' telescopes.
On March 29 at Lost Dutchman State Park, the festivities start at 2 p.m. with an interactive animal show by Wildman Phil Rakoci. There will be dragon-like lizards, huge scorpions that eat lizards and snakes, and other desert critters for this entertaining and informative show for kids of all ages. Meet Phil at the Cholla Ramada and bring a chair.
Then at 7 p.m, the Superstition Astronomical League will host a Star Party at Lost Dutchman State Park. Members of the "League" will provide telescopic views of astronomical objects and will answer questions about astronomy and astronomical equipment. This is an opportunity to see the moon, planets, star clusters, galaxies and other astronomical phenomena using sophisticated telescopes and talk with very knowledgeable and experienced local astronomers. Participants should meet at the Saguaro Day-Use area. The Park Entrance Fee is $7 per vehicle (up to four adults). Primitive to full hookup camping sites are available at a fee of $15 to $25 depending on the type of camping site needed. For more information about Lost Dutchman State Park call (480) 982-4485. Lost Dutchman State Park is located off of Highway 88 (Apache Trail North) just outside of Apache Junction, AZ.
Then on April 5, J.D. Maddy, president of the Astronomers of Verde Valley, will be sponsoring the first annual Star Night event at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. There will be two separate viewings at the park. The first one is a solar viewing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants will be able to view the sun through a telescope with a specialized lens that allows you to look directly into the sun. There will also be crafts available for kids that will help increase their knowledge of the solar system. The Park Entrance Fee applies. The Park Entrance Fee is $5 per person for those aged 14 and older and $2 per person for those aged 7-13.
The second viewing will be the Star Night event. This event will be from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and will begin with a PowerPoint presentation at 7 p.m. Followed shortly after will be the stargazing where astronomers will volunteer their expertise and telescopes for visitors to view an assortment of night sky attractions. For the night event we ask that participants bring a folding chair, a red light (to protect everyone's night vision), a sweater or jacket (the temperatures will drop after the sun sets).
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park typically closes in the evening so reservations are required in advance for the night event. To make reservations please call (928) 476-4202 or email Gavin at gerickson(at)azstateparks.gov. Reservations must be made in advance of the event, no later than 2 p.m. on the day of the event. Charges for the night event will be at a discounted rate of $4 per person for those aged 14 and older and $2 per person for those aged 7-13. For more information about the viewings at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park call (928) 476-4202. Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is located 10 miles north of Payson, Arizona on Highway 87.
Arizona State Parks' astronomy program has been in operation for more than five years. The program continues to grow with 10 parks currently participating. Video is available for viewing on our website at AZStateParks.com/find/starparty and gives a good introduction to Star Night activities. Learn more about what to expect and what to bring on this page.
For information about all 27 Arizona State Parks, the Trails and Off-Highway Vehicle Programs and State Historic Preservation Office call (602) 542-4174 (outside of the Phoenix metro area call toll-free (800) 285-3703). Campsite or cave tour reservations can be made online at AZStateParks.com or by calling the Reservation Call Center at (520) 586-2283. Open 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST. Follow AZStateParks on Twitter and Facebook.