Star party

@ Gorges state park


Please scroll down for an important message about COVID-19


Please read this important announcement regarding COVID-19


In light of Governor Cooper’s state of emergency declaration and guidance regarding canceling or postponing large gatherings in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Star Party at Gorges State Park have been canceled until further notice.

While we are disappointed not to be able to offer this experience right now, the health and safety of our visitors, volunteers and staff is always our first priority. We will announce a new date as soon as it is safe to do so.

In the meantime


While we can’t get together just yet, we’d like to share the following resources that might help you stay entertained during the coronavirus pandemic and keep you in the spirit for the Star Party! 

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly lived on the International Space Station for nearly a year and has tips on isolation to share.

Spot the Station tells you how and when to see the space station.

How many people are in space right now? Find out here:

International Observe the Moon Night is in six months: Saturday, September 26, 2020.

Tips on using binoculars for observing the sky


What is the Star Party?

The Star Party at Gorges State Park is part of a Statewide Star Party Event. As part of the NC Science Festival, our Star Party will allow future astronomers (kids + adults) and astronomy enthusiasts (amateurs + professionals) a chance to view constellations, the planet Venus and deep sky objects in one of the darkest settings in WNC.

FREE Entry + Activities

The entire Star Party event boasts free parking, entry and activities. Everyone is sure to learn something about telescopes, the night sky or general astronomy!

Kids Activities

Arts + crafts, face-painting, hot chocolate and basic astronomy activities will greet the youngest stargazers! Kids will also love getting to know Kelvin the spokesbot!

Food + Drink

Food from the BBQ Shed Food Truck and hot drinks including hot chocolate will be on site, available for purchase and ready to keep you warm!

PARI Experts on Hand

Professional astronomers from our neighbors at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute will be in attendance to share information and answer questions.

Provided Telescopes

We are providing telescopes so anyone can enjoy this event and stargaze! Please click on the button below or scroll down to register so we know how much equiptment is needed.


Bring your own Telescope

There will be a designated area for astronomy enthusiasts in the parking lot so there will be no need to haul your equipment anywhere. Registration is required if you plan to bring your own telescope so we can save enough space!


Event Schedule + Location

7:00 PM Event Begins

7:15 PM Food trucks start serving

7:15 PM Kids Activities begin

8:06 PM Sunset

8:40 PM Stargazing begins!

10:30 PM Event Ends

Gorges State Park Visitors Center

Our part of the Statewide Star Party will take place at the Gorges State Park Visitors Center in Sapphire, NC on April 24, 2020.

See the map at right for specific directions.

976 Grassy Ridge Road
Sapphire, NC 28774

GPS: 35.0960, -82.9510



Join the stargazing tailgate!

All of our registered guests who are bringing their own equipment will have a designated space in the visitors center parking area. This will allow you to unload your telescope and chair from your car and set up right there. It will also ensure you get to enjoy the event next to other astronomy enthusiasts, amatuer astronomers and professionals. You will be located directly adjacent to the visitors center so will still have easy access to all of the food, drink and activities.

In order to make sure we have the right amount of space available for you, you must fill out the registration form below.


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