The Nighttime Visit: Catch a Show and a Shooting Star

Discovery Place Nature

When you wish upon a star it may be for a magical night at the museum… wishes do come true because Discovery Place Nature is open late on Tuesday evenings.

While you don’t have to wait until dark for everything to come alive in this Museum, things certainly are different from the day.

Who is putting on their jammies?

Many animals on exhibit in the Museum are crepuscular or nocturnal which means they become more active at night. Stopping by the Museum in the evening is a great time to visit with some of our furry friends who may be sleeping during the day.

Special evening programming

There’s also something different to explore during the later live programming. With a nighttime visit you may get up-close to a new friend who isn’t exactly a ‘morning person’. There’s a 5:30 p.m. Live Animal Encounter every Tuesday, which is perfect timing to also be able to catch the Seasonal Stargazing planetarium show at 6:00 p.m.

Seasonal Stargazing is a galactic journey where you can get comfy and gaze up at the summer stars and constellations for a guided tour by a naturalist. (Tickets are included with Museum admission and can be reserved at the Admissions desk.)

Also new and noteworthy is the planetarium movie Larry Cat in Space, a playful cartoon story about the adventures of a curious cat who takes a trip to the Moon. This is also a great option for younger visitors to catch during the day if an evening visit to the Museum is past bedtime.

Better than the movie

No movie magic is required for the show-stealing scene of the sun setting on Paw Paw Nature Trail. Almost like it’s scripted, the mood changes as the performance of the evening begins. Right on cue, the bright blood root flowers close, the songbirds begin to quiet down and the resident bees stop flying as darkness approaches.

With daylight saving time, the light lingers a little longer and gives you plenty of time to explore the outdoors. Though the sun is still shinning, the heat of the day has dissipated making it perfect fort-building weather.

Visiting deer step out of the forest and come into view as they leisurely move about Fort Wild in the comfort of the changing light. The barred owls become alert, as bats start to take flight overhead while flying squirrels, raccoons and opossums begin their twilight sequence below.

Stars in our eyes

While you’re outdoors, the deck is a great place to observe what’s transitioning from day-to-night in the 100-year-old forest of the Paw Paw Nature Trail. As the sun sets, even with the light pollution from the city some stars begin to twinkle in the quietness, as the symphony of frogs and toads chirp… it’s a thrill to be a part of nature’s lullaby.

Interested in identifying some of the nighttime nature sounds you can hear? Check out one of the most common in our area – the barred owl and why it sounds like they are saying ‘who cooks for you’. Listen here.

  • Written by
  • Discovery Place Nature