Wild Under the Stars - Animal Park at Conservators Center
13–14 December, 2020

Wild Under the Stars

The Geminids Meteor Shower

Wild Under The Stars MapWith some of the darkest skies in the greater Triangle & Triad area, the Animal Park at the Conservators Center offers superb viewing conditions for astronomical events and phenomena. Late on Sunday, 13 December 2020 and into Monday morning, join us in the green space by our Visitors Center and in the event field to view the Geminids Meteor Shower! You’ll have an unobstructed view of the sky with opportunities to view the entire event throughout the late night and early morning. Watch as the Earth passes through the debris trail of 3200 Phaethon, generating up to 50 meteors per hour at the peak—sometimes as many as 150 meteors an hour under optimum viewing conditions. With the Moon near the new phase of the lunar cycle, the skies will be very dark and close to the perfect conditions for viewing the meteor shower! You’ll also have excellent viewing opportunities of the planet Venus just before dawn, nebulæ, galaxies, and other stars and astronomical phenomena in the night sky with your binoculars or telescope.

What makes this viewing party unique, however, is the company you’ll keep. Our park of over 70 animals features a large population of vocal, social carnivores including lions and wolves, as well as other vocal species like jungle cats, a coyote, and New Guinea singing dogs, who will all keep you enthralled with their chorus of howls, roars, and calls. It’s an experience unlike any other!

Join us at 5pm for a unique twilight tour through the park before the viewing party begins at 10:30pm, or skip the tour to set up camp with your tent and telescope at 10pm! Whichever option you choose, you’ll have an excellent viewing opportunity of this event and the other celestial objects available in the night sky. (Please keep in mind that there is no meal provided as part of this event. Guests who come for the Twilight Tour are encouraged to bring a dinner meal or to plan to pick up a dinner meal in Mebane, NC after the tour and return for the Viewing Party.)

Please note: The Wild Under the Stars Twilight Tour is different from our traditional Twilight Tours, this is an abbreviated tour that lasts roughly 45 minutes to an hour and serves to introduce the tour group to the animals in the park and the sounds they make that visitors may hear throughout the night. We do not discuss many science-heavy topics nor animal-stories. For these experiences, we encourage visitors to return to the Park for one of our standard Adventure Tours during daylight hours.

Please note that Wild Under the Stars dates are subject to local weather and viewing conditions. Cancellations due to weather will be made at least 24 hours in advance of viewing events, please keep an eye on our social media accounts and check your email for details before each event.
COVID-19 Precautions: Campers are asked to keep Camp Sites a minimum of 12 feet in distance from each other in the Activity Field, and all participants are asked to observe 6 feet minimum Social Distancing guidelines as directed by the CDC. Masks are REQUIRED.

 
 

Wild Under the Stars offers a discounted (additional purchase) pre-viewing party tour through the Animal Park for visitors who will be purchasing admission to the starlight viewing party and also, for an additional fee, the opportunity to camp out all night and enjoy the entire meteor shower. All participants will have access to the Visitors Center throughout the event for restroom access.

Pre-registration is required, guests will not be admitted without a ticket.

Viewing party event is contingent on weather conditions, cancellation due to weather will be communicated to ticket holders by email 24 hours in advance if necessary. Guests are responsible for bringing their own telescope, binoculars, or other viewing equipment, The Animal Park will not have extras available for use. Please arrive on time to set up your viewing equipment, our exterior lights will go RED at 10pm.

parallax background

Event Viewing Opportunity

Geminids Meteor Shower

The Geminids are a prolific meteor shower caused by the object 3200 Phaethon, which is thought to be a Palladian asteroid with a "rock comet" orbit. This would make the Geminids, together with the Quadrantids, the only major meteor showers not originating from a comet. The meteors from this shower are slow moving, can be seen in December and usually peak around December 6–14, with the date of highest intensity being the morning of December 14. The shower is thought to be intensifying every year and recent showers have seen 120–160 meteors per hour under optimal conditions, generally around 02:00 to 03:00 local time. Geminids were first observed in 1862, much more recently than other showers such as the Perseids (36 AD) and Leonids (902 AD).wikipedia

Other Viewing Opportunities

Venus

Venus is the second planet in our solar system.

Magnitude: -4.1. Rises: 6:19am Sets: 4:34pm

Event Viewing Opportunity

Perseids Meteor Shower

The Geminids are a prolific meteor shower caused by the object 3200 Phaethon, which is thought to be a Palladian asteroid with a "rock comet" orbit. This would make the Geminids, together with the Quadrantids, the only major meteor showers not originating from a comet. The meteors from this shower are slow moving, can be seen in December and usually peak around December 6–14, with the date of highest intensity being the morning of December 14. The shower is thought to be intensifying every year and recent showers have seen 120–160 meteors per hour under optimal conditions, generally around 02:00 to 03:00 local time. Geminids were first observed in 1862, much more recently than other showers such as the Perseids (36 AD) and Leonids (902 AD).wikipedia

Other Viewing Opportunities

Venus

Venus is the second planet in our solar system.

Magnitude: -4.1. Rises: 6:19am Sets: 4:34pm

Admission & Tour

$18

4pm–3:30am

Join us for a pre-viewing party tour through the Animal Park, where you'll learn about our residents. Then, enjoy the viewing party in the Green Space and Activity Field just outside the park next to our Visitors Center.

Camp Out

$23

10pm–8am

Spend the whole night with us by camping over night! You'll be able to enjoy the entire meteor shower from sun down to sun up.

The Full Experience

$30

4pm–8am

Get the whole experience by coming for the pre-viewing party tour and camping out overnight to enjoy the full viewing party and the entire meteor shower.



Please note: The Wild Under the Stars Twilight Tour is different from our traditional Twilight Tours, this is an abbreviated tour that lasts roughly 45 minutes to an hour and serves to introduce the tour group to the animals in the park and the sounds they make that visitors may hear throughout the night. We do not discuss many science-heavy topics nor animal-stories. For these experiences, we encourage visitors to return to the Park for one of our standard Adventure Tours during daylight hours.
COVID-19 Precautions: Campers are asked to keep Camp Sites a minimum of 12 feet in distance from each other in the Activity Field, and all participants are asked to observe 6 feet minimum Social Distancing guidelines as directed by the CDC. Masks are REQUIRED.

Viewing Accessories

This may be your first astronomical viewing party, or you may be a seasoned veteran, but we have a few suggestions to help you enjoy the night under the stars regardless of your experience level. You may want to bring some, if not all, of the following items with you to the star party:

  • A Camera
  • Binoculars
  • A Telescope
  • Folding Chairs
  • Blankets
  • Star Maps
  • A Compass
  • Insect Repellant (seasonally)

Believe it or not, all the photos on this page were taken with simple 30 second exposures at the Animal Park, so a camera is a great, fun way to enjoy a star party. See what you can capture while you watch the sky! Binoculars and telescopes are also a great way to enjoy the evening under the stars for obvious reasons, even if the star party's main event is a meteor shower, it's always fun to get a closer look at planets, nebulae, stars, the Moon, and other objects in the night sky. Chairs, blankets, and towels are an essential part of any star party viewing experience, as well as something to stay hydrated and snack on. And a star map and compass will help keep your oriented and find what you're looking for in the night sky! Dress appropriately for the season and the weather, and come prepared to enjoy the evening.

Please remember the golden rule of any outdoor excursion, "Pack In, Pack Out." Dispose of any trash you generate in the appropriate receptacles at the Visitors Center to help keep our Green Space clean.

Upcoming Wild Under the Stars Dates

Thanks to your amazing feedback, Wild Under the Stars is BACK! Now a quarterly event at The Animal Park, Wild Under the Stars is the newest event series at the Park. Please share your experiences with us, tell your friends and family, and help us make this recurring event a success!

Plan your next Wild Under the Stars experience at the Animal Park at the Conservators Center! This Quarterly Event takes place every few months throughout the year focused around special astronomical events. Upcoming dates are listed below, pay special attention to this page and the Animal Park newsletter for announcements and updates for when reservations open for each event!



2021 Wild Under the Stars Dates:

  • April 22–23 : Lyrids & π-Puppid Meteor Showers
  • July 30–31 : Southern δ-Aquariid & α-Capricornid Meteor Showers
  • August 12–13 : Perseids Meteor Shower
  • November 17–18 : Leonid Meteor Shower

Please note: The Wild Under the Stars Twilight Tour is different from our traditional Twilight Tours, this is an abbreviated tour that lasts roughly 45 minutes to an hour and serves to introduce the tour group to the animals in the park and the sounds they make that visitors may hear throughout the night. We do not discuss many science-heavy topics nor animal-stories. For these experiences, we encourage visitors to return to the Park for one of our standard Adventure Tours during daylight hours.
COVID-19 Precautions: Campers are asked to keep Camp Sites a minimum of 12 feet in distance from each other in the Activity Field, and all participants are asked to observe 6 feet minimum Social Distancing guidelines as directed by the CDC. Masks are REQUIRED.

Admission & Tour

$18

7:45pm–3:30am

Join us for a pre-viewing party tour through the Animal Park, where you'll learn about our residents. Then, enjoy the viewing party in the Green Space and Activity Field just outside the park next to our Visitors Center.

Camp Out

$23

8:30pm–8am

Spend the whole night with us by camping over night! You'll be able to enjoy the entire meteor shower from sun down to sun up.

The Full Experience

$30

7:45pm–8am

Get the whole experience by coming for the pre-viewing party tour and camping out overnight to enjoy the full viewing party and the entire meteor shower.

Viewing Accessories

This may be your first astronomical viewing party, or you may be a seasoned veteran, but we have a few suggestions to help you enjoy the night under the stars regardless of your experience level. You may want to bring some, if not all, of the following items with you to the star party:

  • A Camera
  • Binoculars
  • A Telescope
  • Folding Chairs
  • Blankets
  • Star Maps
  • A Compass
  • Insect Repellant (seasonally)

Believe it or not, all the photos on this page were taken with simple 30 second exposures at the Animal Park, so a camera is a great, fun way to enjoy a star party. See what you can capture while you watch the sky! Binoculars and telescopes are also a great way to enjoy the evening under the stars for obvious reasons, even if the star party's main event is a meteor shower, it's always fun to get a closer look at planets, nebulae, stars, the Moon, and other objects in the night sky. Chairs, blankets, and towels are an essential part of any star party viewing experience, as well as something to stay hydrated and snack on. And a star map and compass will help keep your oriented and find what you're looking for in the night sky! Dress appropriately for the season and the weather, and come prepared to enjoy the evening.

Please remember the golden rule of any outdoor excursion, "Pack In, Pack Out." Dispose of any trash you generate in the appropriate receptacles at the Visitors Center to help keep our Green Space clean.

Upcoming Wild Under the Stars Dates

Thanks to your amazing feedback, Wild Under the Stars is BACK! Now a quarterly event at The Animal Park, Wild Under the Stars is the newest event series at the Park. Please share your experiences with us, tell your friends and family, and help us make this recurring event a success!

Plan your next Wild Under the Stars experience at the Animal Park at the Conservators Center! This Quarterly Event takes place every few months throughout the year focused around special astronomical events. Upcoming dates are listed below, pay special attention to this page and the Animal Park newsletter for announcements and updates for when reservations open for each event!



2020 Wild Under the Stars Dates:

  • April 22–23 : Lyrids Meteor Shower
  • July 5 : Penumbral Lunar Eclipse
  • August 12–13 : Perseids Meteor Shower
  • December 13–14 : Geminids Meteor Shower

 
Important Information

Need to Know Before You Go

Details For Your Visit to the Animal Park at the Conservators Center

Accessibility, Safety, and Pets


The Animal Park is not wheelchair accessible; however, accessibility accommodations are available for visitors with mobility issues. Please note that we do not allow unauthorized vehicles, including scooters or motorized wheelchairs, in the park. You can find more information about disability accommodations and handicapped access in the Tour FAQ on our Plan Your Visit page. Please note that strollers are also not permitted in the park.

If you are planning to visit the Animal Park, please take a moment to review and complete our online tour waiver. If you would like, you can also download and print the waiver and photography release forms to fill out and complete prior to your arrival. Waivers will also be available in the gift shop for visitors to complete during the check-in process.


For safety reasons, the Animal Park does not allow visitors to bring pets on site. Any visitor who brings an animal to the Park will be asked to leave immediately. We do not allow visitors to leave animals unattended in a vehicle at any time of year.

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