Stargazing Week @ Carly’z Corner……Geauga Observatory Park

Zurcher story, See The Stars in Geauga County to be published Saturday, November 24, 2012 Chris Mentrek, Naturalist at the Geauga Parks New Observat.JPG

(Chris Mentrek, naturalist at the Geauga Parks New Observatory Park.)

The Geauga Parks New Observatory Park is an 1,100-acre park that’s tucked away in one of the darkest corners of Northeast Ohio.  

The new park boasts an observatory with a 25-inch telescope and a planetarium for those nights when clouds obscure the telescope’s vision.


Admission to the park and its activities is free. They are also seeking other uses for the parkland.  The park offers some other unusual ways to explore the solar system on foot. They are encouraging hiking on the trails and pointing out that the park includes the Cuyahoga River headwaters and some spectacular rock formations similar to Nelson Ledges.   There is a 1.8 mile trail that takes you through the planets that encircle our earth. The distance from earth to the planets is roughly scaled from millions of miles to a few feet. You can walk the trail to Neptune or Mercury in a matter of minutes instead of light years.

While we were at the park, we witnessed hobbyists firing model rockets that shot hundreds of feet into the sky. The slim rockets returned to earth under small parachutes.  “It’s just one more way that people can use and enjoy all the open land that we have in this park,” said Mentrek.

Chris Mentrek is a naturalist at Observatory Park, the brand-new Geauga Park District’s facility in Montville Township.  Observatory Park is located at 10610 Clay Street in Montville. Call (440) 286-9516 or visit

Mentrek said that on a clear night, you can see the majesty and width of the Milky Way out here. That’s something that you cannot see near downtown Cleveland or in most people’s backyard.”

“Eventually, within a couple of years, we will have two telescopes. The old Case Western Reserve Observatory is on our grounds and it is being rebuilt. When completed, it will have a telescope with three times more power than our present telescope.”

The first thing you see as you leave the parking lot is a 12-foot high sundial that, on sunny days, allows you to see the time.





(my girls playing on the sundial as we attended the park’s grand opening…which has some great kids activities, live music and free food)

At the Observatory, there is a weather station where you can see the speed of wind, the amount of rain and the barometric pressure. Next to that is a working seismograph that measures earthquake activity around the world. In fact, the day I was there, it registered a small earthquake that had just occurred in Alaska.

Unlike many county and Metroparks, Observatory Park is open into the late hours of the day. Hours year-round are 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
“If we are having a program in the late hours, it can even go past midnight,” Mentrek said. “We try to stay open as long as necessary on nights that there are really cool things happening in the sky.”

So while Geauga Observatory Park is about a ~one tank trip~away, it is well worth the trek.  Pack the picnic basket and take the family or your sweetie on an adventure. You can picnic on open land or dine inside where it’s cozy and warm.

Whatever you prefer!

Happy Frrrreeeee Hunting!



Stargazing Week…..Day 1 @ Carly’z Corner

Many questions are asked about the heavenly jewels that glitter in the night sky.  These mysterious companions have fascinated people for thousands of years.  We desire to study them up and close, to learn why they exist and what is their purpose?  Many have yearned to learn their origin and who made them and how they came into existence?

Though many of us are not millionaires who can pay to take a flight to the red planet.   We can certainly take a closer look at  Mars and the constellations by way of our local planetariums.

This week on Carly’z Corner, will we post free or low-cost ways to enjoy stargazing and viewing other celestial displays, such as the ISON Comet. One such place where we are invited to explore stargazing, is the Walter R. Schuele Planetarium. It is located inside the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, at 28728 Wolf Road, Bay Village, Ohio 44140.

Comet ISON on October 8, 2013 as seen through the Schulman 0.8 Telescope atop Mount Lemmon at the University of Arizona SkyCenter. Credit: Adam Block/UA SkyCenter.

“The Comet of the Century”
Date: Saturday November 23 Time/Duration: 7 – 8 p.m.
Telescope viewing 8:15 – 10:30 p.m.
For adults and families Fee: $5/person; $25/family of 5 or more (children under 3 are free) Telescope viewing is free!
Will comet ISON be the brightest comet seen in a long time?  We won’t know until it is near perihelion (its closest approach to the Sun).  One thing is for sure; it will not be as bright as the full moon!!  Join us for an evening of everything comets.  We will find out what a comet is and the history of Comet ISON.  Then we will make our own comets!!  At 8:00 pm, we will move to the field across from the Center to view Comet ISON (hopefully with our naked eyes), and with telescopes and binoculars.  If you have a pair of binoculars, please bring them.

This planetarium offers free telescope viewings ……

Telescope Viewing
Date: 1st and 3rd Saturdays, weather permitting Time/Duration: Immediately following the evening Monthly SkyQuest Program (approximately 8:45 p.m.)
All Ages Welcome Fee: Free
Join us in the field across from the Center for FREE telescope viewing following our evening Monthly SkyQuest program on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month. (Weather permitting.)

So check out their website as they have many more great events throughout the fall and winter!

Oh! and check out the information below as the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is free everyday of the week and they host thousands of events throughout the entire year!

Happy Frrrrreeeeee Hunting!!!!!!

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center provides free admission seven days a week and performs wildlife rehabilitation at no charge to the public. The Center offers quality nature, environmental and science experiences through school field trips, preschool, family, scouting and planetarium programs, nature hikes and a variety of wildlife exhibits, along with domestic and wildlife close encounters.