Day-into-night star party set for March 5 at Oracle State Park

Val Bembenek

March activities at Oracle State Park Center for Environmental Education open on Saturday, March 5, with a special-event star party featuring live music, kids’ activities, and night-sky star viewing. This is one more event in celebration of the park being designated an International Dark Sky Park. Like all other events this month, it’s free with park admission.

Star party activities also include an astrophotography workshop from 3:00-5:00 p.m. As a finale, members of the Tucson Amateur Astronomer’s Association will set up telescopes from 7:00-9:00 p.m. and share viewing of night-sky objects for the public. Reservations for the workshop are suggested to assure seating and can be made by calling 520-896-2425.

The park is open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday; visitors can bring their own lunch and beverages to enjoy on the ranch house patios or park picnic areas. Full Oracle State Park event information is always posted on the state parks website: Park admission is $7 per car at the main gate on Mt. Lemmon Rd. in Oracle.

Other March activities include:

Sunday, March 6: The popular “Bighorn Basics” program with AZ State Parks; volunteer Richard Boyer begins at 12:30 p.m. Reservation preferred.

Sunday, March 13: Mineralogy talk with Wolfgang Mueller, mineralogist, begins at noon. He’ll include information on rocks associated with regional mining operations and lapidary uses. Reservation suggested.

Saturday, March 19: Six-mile guided hike begins at 8:00 a.m. with Gaston Meloche. Hike includes the Wildlife Corridor Trail, National Scenic Arizona Trail and Manzanita Trail. Reservation required by contacting Gaston at [email protected] or 520-638-5404 no later than 4:00 p.m. the day before the hike.

Saturday, March 26: “Wildlife in the Santa Catalina Mountains” presentation by the Sky Island Alliance begins 1:00 p.m. in the ranch house. Reservation suggested.

Sunday, March 27: Tohono O’odham basket weaving demonstration begins at 1:00 p.m. on the ranch house patio as part of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Awareness Month. Elizabeth of the Tohono O’odham Nation will do a weaving project to show basket making techniques. This free program is made possible with the support of Friends of Oracle State Park.

For information about all 28 Arizona State Parks, the Trails and Off-Highway Vehicle Programs, and the State Historic Preservation Office, call 800-285-3703. Campsite reservations can be made online at or by calling the reservation call center at 520-586-2283. Follow AZStateParks on Twitter and Facebook.