Hocking Hills to Introduce John Glenn Astronomy Park in June
Hocking Hills continues to be a key destination for visitors with a love for hiking, clear skies, nature, and astronomy, with the latter getting a major boost this summer. Members of the Friends of Hocking Hills State Park (FHHSP) will host the grand opening of the John Glenn Astronomy Park on Thursday, June 21.
Named after famed astronaut and Ohio treasure John Glenn, the park’s opening coincides with summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Plans for the opening include an official ribbon-cutting ceremony and a viewing of the sunset through the summer solstice aperture in the park’s Solar Plaza.
Glenn agreed to be the namesake of the park shortly before passing in December of 2016. With his blessing, the Friends of Hocking Hills State Park led fundraising and development of the park, receiving donations from community members and corporate donors alike.
The park includes a 540-square-foot enclosed observatory with a retractable roof for night sky viewing and an 80-foot in diameter Solar Plaza for viewing the sun and studying the Earth. The park’s gathering areas and open green space will also make it ideal for research, special events, “star parties” and regular visitation.
“Our star-filled skies join miles and miles of trails, dense forests, stunning rock formations and rushing waterfalls to lure visitors from around the globe,” said Hocking Hills Tourism Association Executive Director Karen Raymore. “The Tourism Association is thrilled to offer one more reason for travelers to visit the region, and a new way for them to experience a natural attraction that has long mesmerized all who visit us overnight.”
John Glenn Astronomy Park’s official opening takes place Thursday, June 21 at 6:30 p.m. Friends of Hocking Hills State Park continues to take donations in order to maintain the park’s mission. Contributions can be made at friendsofhockinghills.org.