What to know about the only certified Dark Sky Park in Southern Michigan

You don’t need to go Up North to see the stars

Vandalia, Mich. – Located in Cass County, Michigan, the Dr. T.K. Lawless Dark Sky Park is the only International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) certified Dark Sky Park in southern Michigan.

The International Dark-Sky Association is an organization with a mission to protect the night from light pollution. An IDA-certified International Dark Sky Park is a land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment, according to the IDA website.

The IDA certification was bestowed upon the Dr. T.K. Lawless Dark Sky Park in 2020. It was the second Dark Sky Park in Michigan to receive this recognition.

The park itself is an 820-acre nature park with over seven miles of groomed cross-country ski trails, biking and hiking trails, disc golf, volleyball courts, fishing, picnicking spots, horseshoe pits, inner tube sledding, and more.

If you’re planning a trip to the park and are hoping to partake in stargazing, the park does have limited dates available for their Dark Park. Unlike other IDA-certified parks, this Dark Sky Park is not open to the public 24/7. Below you will find a list of the dates and hours that stargazing will be available. Admission to the park is $2 per car.

  • July - 1st and 2nd - Open until 2 am
  • August 11th and 12th - Perseid Meteor Shower - Open until Midnight
  • August 26th and 27th - Open until 2 am
  • September 23rd and 24th - Open until 2 am
  • October 28th and 29th - Open until 2 am
  • November 18th and 19th - Open until 10 pm
  • December 13th and 14th - Geminids Meteor Shower Open until 10 pm
  • December 16th and 17th - Open until Midnight

For more information about the Dr. Lawless International Dark Sky Park follow this link: Dr. Lawless International Dark Sky Park

More about Michigan’s Dark Parks:

See the stars at this Dark Sky Park on your way to Northern Michigan

Michigan gets 3rd official Dark Sky Park, the first in the Upper Peninsula


About the Author:

Morgan is a senior at Wayne State University studying political science and communications.