Winter Sky Party
34200 Overseas Highway
Big Pine Key, FL 33043
The Southern Cross Astronomical Society (SCAS) has events on a weekly basis like the star party at Bill Sadowski State Park, but one of its biggest events draws stargazers from all across the world. The Winter Sky Party is held in February every year, usually during the new moon week, when the sky is the darkest and the weather is the coolest. The event is held at the Girl Scout Campground in Big Pine Key and attracts over 650 amateur astronomers each year. Some past incarnations have hosted guest speakers and a swap meet complete with vendors. Participants can visit the SCAS to register and book accommodations, but most participants elect to stay on the campgrounds with their fellow stargazers.
Markum Park Road
Sunrise, FL 33326
The South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association (SFAAA) is a group of star-lovers who gather every Saturday at the Fox Observatory to gaze into the night sky searching for the answers to life or to just follow a lifelong hobby. The Fox Observatory houses a 10-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain at F/10 in the outer dome, a 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain at F/10, a 6-inch Brandon refractor and three Dobsonian reflecting telescopes, which will give you an amazing view of the night skies despite the city lights. There is also space for up to 15 telescopes if you choose to bring your own equipment. All you have to do is give them a call and you could be stargazing from dusk ’til dawn.
Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science
3280 S. Miami Ave.
Miami, FL 33129
If you need a quick glance at the stars just to marvel at the brilliance of creation, then the Weintraub Observatory might be for you. It’s open from 8-10 p.m. and on the first Friday of each month, it opens one hour earlier to dazzle guests with a free planetarium show. The complex itself is spacious and outfitted with two Meade telescopes that will give you a full range of the heavens, regardless of the weather. This is a great option for any starry-eyed gazer, but again, time and attendance will determine how long you can peer at the universe.
Buehler Planetarium and Observatory
3501 Davie Road
Davie, FL 33314
The Buehler Planetarium and Observatory is open three days a week: Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8-10 p.m. That means that astronomy buffs can gaze at the night sky on a regular basis even if they don’t have their own equipment. You can get great pictures of the moon, Jupiter, Saturn and so much more. See website for more details.
Everglades National Park
40001 State Road 9336
Homestead, FL 33034
When going stargazing, you want to be as far away from the city and its light pollution as possible. That’s why Everglades National Park is perfect. It’s located in Homestead, is home to most of South Florida’s indigenous wildlife and houses two large campgrounds complete with running water and restrooms. Here, you can take your own telescope and get a bit of sky watching in, and then go to sleep in your own tent. It’s the perfect weekend getaway and a completely personal experience devoid of crowds.
Niema Hulin was born in Newark, NJ but raised in Lexington, South Carolina for the bulk of her formative years. In 2002, she moved to Miami after graduating from the University of Florida. Since then, Niema has worked in film, television and commercials as a Production Assistant and Production Coordinator. Some of her films have included Bad Boys II and I Am Number IV. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.