Make A Night Of It!

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Take advantage of some especially nice summer evenings with a fun family activity under the stars.

Here are some suggestions:

· Observe the moon. Find out when the full moon will be and take some time to moon gaze. Bring a telescope along with you if you have one or view it through a cardboard tube. A spotting scope or binoculars can also prove useful.

· Have a bonfire. Take time to gather up some wood or purchase some from a local store. Find a safe place to start a fire and consider telling stories, roasting marshmallows, hot dogs, or bring a grill that goes over a campfire and cook up something your family will enjoy. Don’t forget a thermos full of hot cocoa! Alternately, some parks offer charcoal grills that can be used by the public. Check your local park for closure times.

· Star gaze. Take advantage of a moonless night. Set up a blanket or some chairs and take time to watch a clear night sky. Bring your telescope, binoculars, spotting scope, or cardboard tube so you can take better look. Print out a SKYMAP and take it with you to help navigate the evening sky.

· Have an evening picnic. Do something different by having a picnic in the early evening instead of the afternoon. It’s a great way to beat the heat of the day! Bring a flashlight along so you can play a game of flashlight tag. Glow sticks/items can be fun to play with too as it gets dark.

· Plan a camping weekend. Plan a camping weekend if possible. This can be at a real campsite, or in your own backyard. Some national parks offer cabins to rent as well. Take time to get away from the rat race and enjoy nature for a while. Being able to listen and watch nature without the traffic and bright lights can give you a new perspective and fresh your senses. Don’t forget to take time to moon and or star gaze while you are there.

· Watch and listen to what’s around you. Sit outside on a pleasant summer evening and take time to watch and listen to what’s going on around you. See how many sounds you can identify: Owls, birds, scurries, leaves rustling in the breeze, ect. How many night creature you can identify such as lightning bugs, mosquitoes, raccoons, opossums, frogs, cats, etc..

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