Wild Under the Stars - Animal Park at Conservators Center
December 13–14, 2019

Wild Under the Stars

Wild Under the Stars, 13 December 2019: Geminid Meteor Shower has been cancelled due to poor weather conditions forecast for the greater Burlington/Mebane area.

 

Wild Under The Stars Map
With 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. On December 13, 2019, join us in the green space and event field by our Visitors Center to view the Geminid Meteor Shower! You’ll have an unobstructed view of the sky with opportunities to view up to 20–30 meteors per hour given waning gibbous, or just-past-full moon, lighting conditions this year. “It won’t be a total washout, because the Geminids have a lot of fireballs in them,” according to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke, which may be visible despite the moon1. You’ll also have excellent viewing opportunities of the Moon, Betelgeuse, and other stars in the winter 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, 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 7:30pm for a unique, dark-light tour through the park—a rare and unparalleled experience at the Animal Park—before the viewing party begins at 9pm, or skip the tour to set up camp with your tent and telescope at 8pm! Whichever option you choose, you’ll have an excellent viewing opportunity of this fireball-rich event and the other celestial objects available in the night sky.

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.

 
 

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.

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 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 early to set up your viewing equipment, our exterior lights will go RED at 9pm.

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Event Viewing Opportunity

Geminid Meteor Shower

Due to first-quarter moon conditions, spectators can expect to see just 20–30 Geminid Meteors per hour or slightly more on the peak this year, which is the night of 13–14 December 2019, according to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke. Enjoy an unobstructed view of the sky as you train your focus to the East to take in this breathtaking meteor shower.

"It won't be a total washout, because the Geminids have a lot of fireballs in them," Cooke said, which may be visible despite the moon. The best time to watch for the Geminids is about 2 a.m. in your local time zone.

Don't let the moon dissuade you from joining us, the Geminids are a fireball-rich event and you'll still see quite a few meteors throughout the night, especially earlier in the morning.

Other Viewing Opportunities

The Moon

The Moon will be waning gibbous, just-past-full this evening and will present an excellent viewing opportunity.

Betelgeuse

Betelgeuse is generally the ninth-brightest star in the night sky and second-brightest in the constellation of Orion. It is a distinctly reddish, semiregular variable star whose apparent magnitude varies between +0.0 and +1.3, the widest range of any first-magnitude star.2

Event Viewing Opportunity

Geminid Meteor Shower

Due to first-quarter moon conditions, spectators can expect to see just 20–30 Geminid Meteors per hour or slightly more on the peak this year, which is the night of 13–14 December 2019, according to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke. Enjoy an unobstructed view of the sky as you train your focus to the East to take in this breathtaking meteor shower.

"It won't be a total washout, because the Geminids have a lot of fireballs in them," Cooke said, which may be visible despite the moon. The best time to watch for the Geminids is about 2 a.m. in your local time zone.

Don't let the moon dissuade you from joining us, the Geminids are a fireball-rich event and you'll still see quite a few meteors throughout the night, especially earlier in the morning.

Other Viewing Opportunities

The Moon

The Moon will be waning gibbous, just-past-full this evening and will present an excellent viewing opportunity.

Betelgeuse

Betelgeuse is generally the ninth-brightest star in the night sky and second-brightest in the constellation of Orion. It is a distinctly reddish, semiregular variable star whose apparent magnitude varies between +0.0 and +1.3, the widest range of any first-magnitude star.2

Admission & Tour

$18

7:30pm–4am

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

8pm–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

7:30pm–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

Admission & Tour

$18

7:30pm–4am

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

8pm–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

7:30pm–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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