It could be that I’ve seen far too many movies, but there is something inherently romantic about spending an evening beneath the night sky: The magic of the stars; the peaceful quiet. And, not to mention, it’s a relatively cheap date night.
We’re pretty lucky that no matter where you are in Minnesota you can find a stunning view of the night sky. Whether you take a short drive outside the cities to escape the light pollution or stay in town and visit one of the many observatories and planetariums, there is a perfect spot for you and your sweetheart to drink in the stars.
And, as another bonus, you’ll learn some fun facts about the stars so you’ll have a built in conversation starter without awkwardly resorting to talking about the weather.)
Every Friday night at 8pm during the school session, the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics gives a free 30 minute presentation about the stars and other celestial objects. They’ll teach you to read star maps and encourage any questions ranging from astronomy to the latest scientific theories and discoveries. After the presentation, with the weather permitting, you’ll move to the observatory dome to search the sky looking through a 10.5” refracting telescope. You and your SO will be able to view the Moon, planets, bright stars, star clusters, nebula, and galaxies.
An experienced guide will show you the stars, planets, and other objects in the cosmos through the Lawrence Sauter telescope inside the observatory dome at the Eisenhower Community Center in Hopkins. The observatory is open to the public on scheduled evenings through May and is only $2 per adult. Snuggle up to your paramour as the dome is exposed to the outdoor elements. The whole program lasts about two hours and be sure to reserve your spot for stargazing.
You can take a tour of the cosmos in comfort by reclining in the new plush seats in the Bell Museum’s Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Planetarium. The domed screen in the planetarium surrounds you with it’s new ‘seamless’ technology producing stunning video and animations that take you on a journey through space. The Bell’s Planetarium shows feature productions, live guided presentations on current events such as eclipses and space missions, and lastly, original productions like Minnesota in the Cosmos that explores the Big Bang and formation of the planet.
Open to the public most Tuesdays during the school year, it’s only $5 a person to experience the Como Planetarium’s state-of-the-art video productions. In this more intimate venue, you’ll take a virtual voyage through the galaxy and constellations.
During the summer months you can journey outdoors to stargaze under the open night sky. The Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics hosts the Universe in the Park program which takes place in various parks around the state. Free and open to the public, on scheduled Fridays and Saturdays you and your beau can venture out to one of the parks and listen to a guide speak on a variety of astronomical topics that range from the history of matter to the solar system. Afterwards you’ll have the opportunity to explore the night sky using a telescope with the guides to help you find constellations and observe the galaxy. By escaping the light pollution of the cities you’ll truly have a clear and stunning image of the stars.