Spend an Evening Under the Stars

Williamson County Astronomy Club Hosts Public Stargazing Nights at Garey Park

As you take in the glittering Christmas decorations and light trails this holiday season, don’t forget to look up and enjoy the lights in the night sky, whether from your backyard or the newest community stargazing hub—Garey Park.

A group that shares the joy of astronomy through education and public outreach, the Williamson County Astronomy Club is the organization behind the park’s Public Stargazing Nights series. Fortunately, the event is making a comeback. 

Many of the club’s past viewing events occurred at Southwestern University’s Fountainwood Observatory and drew hundreds of stargazers at times. When the observatory closed for renovations, club members searched for a new location where the community could continue enjoying the wonders of the night sky. Unfortunately, soon after they found the right spot at Garey Park, the pandemic hit but, after two years of health restrictions, Public Stargazing Nights have returned. 

From amateur astronomers to kids interested in astronomy, all are welcome to explore the universe with the Williamson County Astronomy Club. “Our stargazing nights often serve as a hands-on introduction to astronomy to families with younger kids,” member John Upton says. Club members also travel all over Williamson County to facilitate Science Nights at area schools and scout meetings, and set up telescopes for additional science experiences. He adds, “All of the schools will teach astronomy but most don’t have access to telescopes, so our stargazing nights may serve to strengthen a curiosity about astronomy that folks may have but perhaps they are not sure what it’s all about or how to start.”


From 7pm to 9pm on January 25 and February 22, volunteers from the Williamson County Astronomy Club will be available at Garey Park with telescopes and cameras to help visitors view various celestial objects. To ensure the best stargazing experience, participants are asked to keep lighting to a minimum and aimed downwards. 

Participants are welcome to bring a flashlight covered with red film and all are encouraged to dress warmly and bring chairs or blankets. Families with young children should have a plan about where to meet in case they get separated in the dark.

“While you’re out there, look up and watch for satellites and meteors and anything else unusual in the sky,” John says. “Above all, if you have questions about what you see, be sure to ask all the folks operating the telescopes. We love answering questions.”

Plus, you don’t have to be an avid stargazer to enjoy the event. “One of the nice things about Garey Park is it can be a casual time out in nature,” John says. “People can chat, look at the sky, and listen to the sounds of the night.”

Click here to register early for Public Stargazing Nights early as spaces are limited and fill up quickly. Members also remind interested residents to check the website or Facebook for cancellation notices if the evening weather forecast on those dates calls for cloudy or overcast skies. 


The stars at night are big and bright over many Texas state parks. Get away from the city lights and take in some of the best night sky views around at these parks with very dark skies:

  • Big Bend Ranch State Park
  • Balmorhea State Park
  • Barton Warnock Visitor Center
  • Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway
  • Copper Breaks State Park
  • Davis Mountains and Indian Lodge
  • Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area
  • Devil’s River State Natural Area
  • Kickapoo Cavern State Park
  • Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site
  • Colorado Bend State Park
  • Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
  • Lost Maples State Natural Area
  • South Llano River State Park

Click here to check out Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s ongoing events, from hikes to star parties to daytime astronomy.

1 thought on “Spend an Evening Under the Stars”

  1. Love this, Charlotte! It’s such a fun experience. I enjoyed getting to see the beautiful view of the stars!!

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