The dog days of summer bring lots of heat and humidity to our great state. They also give us a terrific view of one of the best light shows you’ll ever experience: the Perseid Meteor Shower!
No matter where you live in Pennsylvania, you’ll have a chance to see some of the finest meteor showers during the evening and early morning hours of August 11, 12 and 13. But if you want to have the full experience and the best views, you’ll need to plant your chair (and a telescope for the ultimate effect) in a wide-open space for a clear view of the northeastern sky. You’ll find such a space in PA’s local parks and recreation facilities!
Below are some of the best local parks and places for serious stargazing and meteor shower viewing (clear skies permitting) this August!
Rose Tree Park
Media, PA, the Delaware County seat, is home to Rose Tree Park. Perhaps the county’s most beloved local park, it features lush, rolling hills that are ideal for watching their free summer concerts at the bandshell, sledding in the winter, and year-round stargazing. A great spot for viewing the Perseid meteor showers, Rose Tree Park also hosts a different kind of light show every year. Their “Festival of Light”, held annually during the holiday season, is one of the most popular local attractions in the surrounding area.
Located in Lower Paxton Township, Brightball Park offers 41 acres of gorgeous ground for fantastic views of August’s meteor shower spectacular! During the day, the park provides its community with a playground, an all-purpose field for playing and picnicking, softball fields, baseball fields, and a pavilion for special events and functions. In addition to stargazing at night, residents can enjoy games of pickle and basketball on their lighted courts.
Marshall Square Park
The oldest park in West Chester, PA, Marshall Square Park is known for its popular summer music series and family movie nights in July and August. However, this August the park may be more of a draw due to its great location for meteor shower watching. Also known as one of Chester County’s best spots for geocaching, Marshall Square Park is favored by families with young children thanks to its colorful playground and tot-friendly swing set.
Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania is not only the largest lake located entirely within the state, it’s also one of the best places for sensational star gazing. This 8,000 acre lake is the perfect place for an unobstructed view of the upcoming Perseid meteor showers, it also adds the extra cool element of seeing the stars and meteor showers reflected in the shimmering water. In addition to camping accommodations, Raystown Lake features beaches, boat launches, and picnic areas. Best of all, you may be able to spot some of the eagles that are currently nesting in the community.
Emerald View Park
Officially created on Earth Day 2007, Emerald View Park is not only the best place to experience Pittsburgh’s gorgeous skyline – it’s the area’s best spot to see the Perseid meteor showers in full splendor! Thanks to its wonderful view, the park draws approximately 1 million visitors each year. In addition to its fantastic views, the dog-friendly park is also a popular attraction for bicycle enthusiasts, runners, walkers, hikers, swimmers, bird watchers, and anyone who wants to unwind and experience the beauty around them.
These are just five of the state’s many great parks and recreational settings for stargazing and meteor shower viewing. There are many more – some in your backyard – that are just waiting to welcome you. Although the five parks listed above are typically open to the public after dusk, it’s always a good idea to check with the parks and recreation department or local park managers to ensure that you’ll be able to access these attractions in the evening.