Availability for visits during summer of 2021 is full.  Contact info@pari.edu if you would like to be placed on a waiting list.

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Dark Sky Park

Dark Sky Park

Certified by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA)

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PARI is recognized by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), as only one of two Dark Sky Parks in North Carolina. We pride ourselves on maintaining a dark night sky, not only because it allows for ideal astronomical observations, but because preserving the night sky also benefits our health and environment.

See just how dark our skies are!

Effects of Light Pollution

Studies have shown that increased light pollution is linked to disruptions in sleep patterns, obesity, diabetes, mental health disorders and various chronic health conditions.  Many species in the wild have evolved to rely on uninterrupted periods of darkness at night and need darkness to survive. A naturally dark site reduces the effects of electric lighting on the environment, improves the well-being, health, and safety of our human and wildlife population and decreases energy consumption.

Protect Our Night Sky

Protecting darkness is key to ecological integrity and sustaining a healthy population and environment. Visit darksky.org to learn more about this initiative.

Plan your visit to PARI

Perseids Meteor Shower – Evening Viewing ONLY

Have you ever wished upon a shooting star? Now is your chance! Join PARI from 9-11pm on August 12, 2021 for evening viewing of the Perseids Meteor Shower and the night sky at our historic, mountaintop, Internationally certified Dark Sky Park.

Grab a picnic blanket or bring your own lawn chair and sit back and relax while enjoying the show that space provides as meteors rain down throughout the night!  Expected to be the brightest with the most meteors all year, so wrap up your summer with the experience of a lifetime at PARI.  PARI astronomers will also be on hand with telescopes for you to experience the night sky.

REGISTER HERE for AUGUST 12, 2021 9-11pm

Arrival time for this event is 8:30-9pm.  Please make arrangements to arrive during this time.  Late arrivals will not be permitted.

Want more PARI?? Check out our OVERNIGHT CABIN  and OVERNIGHT CAMPING packages for the Perseids Meteor Shower that PARI will host on August 13-14, 2021.

For additional information please contact PARI at 828-862-5554 or programs@pari.edu.

Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower EVENING VIEWING

Have you ever wished upon a star? Now is your chance! Join PARI from 9-11pm on May 6, 2021 for an evening viewing the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower and the night sky at our historic, mountaintop, Internationally certified Dark Sky Park.

Grab a picnic blanket or bring your own lawn chair and sit back and relax while enjoying the show that space provides as meteors rain down throughout the night from Halley’s Comet!  This meteor shower is expected to produce 10 to 30 meteors per hour.  PARI astronomers will also be on hand with telescopes for you to experience the night sky.

REGISTER HERE for May 6, 2021 9-11pm

Want more PARI?? Check out our OVERNIGHT CABIN  and OVERNIGHT CAMPING packages for the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower that PARI will host on May 7-8, 2021.

For additional information please contact PARI at 828-862-5554 or programs@pari.edu.

(*Children under 5 are free)

Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower OVERNIGHT Experience

Have you ever wished upon a star? Now is your chance! Enjoy camping under the stars or relax in the comfort of our cabins and observing the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower at our historic, mountaintop, Internationally certified Dark Sky Park.

Grab a picnic blanket or bring your own lawn chair and sit back and relax while enjoying the show that space provides as meteors rain down throughout the night from Halley’s Comet!  This meteor shower is expected to produce 10 to 30 meteors per hour.  PARI astronomers will also be on hand with telescopes for you to experience the night sky.

PARI is offering two overnight options for your enjoyment.  *** All overnight packages include a prepackaged dinner, a tour, sunset hike, observing the meteors, observing, accommodations and a prepackaged breakfast.

REGISTER:

Overnight Cabin Package

Overnight Camping Package

For additional information please contact PARI at 828-862-5554 or programs@pari.edu.

(*Children under 5 are free)

Yuri’s Night

Join PARI as we celebrate Yuri’s Night.  Yuri’s Night is a commemoration of Yuri Gargarin becoming the first human to venture into space on April 12, 1961, and the inaugural launch of the first Space Shuttle on April 12, 1981.

PARI educators and scientists will lead the evening as we commemorate milestones in space exploration by exploring space through NASA exhibits and evening viewing through PARI telescopes and video.  We will take a look at how spacecraft have changed over time and what’s around the corner for NASA and space exploration.

Don’t want to drive home after the viewing?  Contact PARI today to reserve a cabin room for the night at our Internationally certified Dark Sky Park.

A light snack will be provided.  We will be following NC COVID Guidelines so limited spots are available. Pre-Registration is Required!

REGISTER NOW

Walking PARI

Walking PARI

WALK OUR PROPERTY AND DISCOVER SOMETHING NEW IN NATURE.

Plan your visit to PARI

Wildlife

With the Pisgah National Forest in our backyard, PARI’s guests are often lucky enough to encounter a few of our furry and feathered neighbors while visiting the campus and hiking the surrounding trails. With more than 70 species documented along the Blue Ridge Parkway, it’s likely that you’ll get a glimpse of some of our more noticeable neighbors, like wild turkeys, deer, and barn swallows that keep the campus bug-free. But our luckiest guests may even spot a newly repopulated red wolf or one of our two neighboring black bears!

Flora - 95 species

During the spring and summer months, PARI’s grounds bloom with colorful wildflowers, peculiar plants and fungi that are unique to the region. Climate, unique soil and altitude (2,500-3,000 ft.) combined to cultivate 95 common and uncommon flora species. From bright and beautiful daffodils and dwarf iris to quirky and eccentric yellow fringed orchid and lady slippers, a visit to our campus and surrounding area promises a rainbow of color and delightful disc.


Audubon

PARI’s lush forest, high meadows and dark skies provide an inviting habitat to many species of birds. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Science visited and in one day identified 41 bird species. This high number was contributed to the ‘perfect home’ provided by PARI’s 31 species of trees. The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) and the Audubon Society are in partnership to create dark and inviting bird habitats. PARI is one of only two certified Dark Sky Parks in the Carolinas.


Geology

PARI’s location was chosen in part due to the large amount of mica mineral content in the surrounding mountains, which acts as a radio wave insulator, ideal for the implementation of our radio telescopes. You can also find mica, granite and quartz among the interesting rock formations and gorges in the area.