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The Best of Stargazing

There are few things better than getting outdoors and breathing in that sweet Arizona air. Don’t get us wrong, we love being out all day on ATV tours with our awesome adventurous customers showing them all the breathtaking beauty that Arizona has to offer, but there is something about Arizona at night that is absolutely unbeatable.

Arizona’s natural landscape is never short on amazing things to experience, and that is especially true when the sun goes down. Night time in Arizona is positively brimming with interesting things to see and do, and right now is the perfect time to get your night time adventuring on.

Here’s a list of some our absolute favorite things to do when it gets dark in Arizona.

Stargazing

You can’t throw a rock without hitting an astronomer or two in Arizona, and that’s for a very good reason. Arizona has one of the best night skies around, which makes it absolutely perfect for stargazing. People come from all around the world to experience the night’s veil in the desert, and in some cities like Tucson, there are serious light pollution laws in effect to preserve that gorgeous night sky.

There are a lot of ways to experience the night’s star show in Arizona (like just looking up on a clear night), but there are two surefire ways to see more of the sky than you ever thought possible. Thanks to our state’s love of everything starry, we have a lot of astronomy research centers, many of which are open to the public. Two of them are not to be missed.

The Mount Lemmon SkyCenter, owned and operated by the University of Arizona, is the largest public telescope in the Southwest. Because of its affiliation with the UofA, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter is a year-round teaching center for science programs, and it sits on Mt. Lemmon’s impressive 9,000 summit. Just getting there is part of the fun!

In addition to the Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, Kitt Peak National Observatory offers some pretty great public programs that allow you to get closer to the stars than you ever thought possible. Kitt Peak’s observatory is open both day and night, and their night time star shows are worth the trip up the mountain to catch them. Watch the sun go down on the peak before the real night show begins, and don’t forget to bring your camera.

Perfect Temperatures

Yes, it’s a dry heat here in Arizona—most of the time. Nighttime breezes provide Arizona with much-needed relief from the 9-month long heat, and once the night sky begins to set in, the temperatures go from hot to divine.

We in Arizona know that nighttime is the right time to do anything and everything outdoors, and many wait until the sun goes down to take advantage of that crisp, breezy night air. There are tons of organized night walking activities, outdoor recreation areas, restaurant and bar patios, and even outdoor movie nights around town that exploit the comfort of Arizona night time temperatures.

Bat Watching

Far from being afraid of bats, here in Arizona, we are darn proud to play host to thriving bat colonies all around the state. It is not everyday that people get to experience the night flight of thousands of bats around Arizona, but it is a thrilling sight to behold.

When the sky turns pink and orange, the bats begin their nightly ritual of leaving their caves and dens (which are often under bridges) to hit the night sky in search of bugs to eat. It is not uncommon to see dozens of bats at once, all of them buzzing around street lights and zipping through the sky in search of food. Though it usually only lasts for less than an hour, the nightly bat flight is a ton of fun to behold, and we definitely recommend catching a “show” the next time you’re in town.

 

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