observatory with telescope platforms under starry sky

6 far out reasons to visit Killarney Provincial Park

With its pink granite cliffs and shimmering lakes, Killarney Provincial Park is beloved for its awe-inspiring views.

But for some of its most memorable sights, we have to leave the stratosphere behind.

Here are some ways to add a slice of deep space exploration to your next visit to Killarney. 

1. Dark Sky Preserves

There are few places where people can gaze up at the night sky and see it in with the same splendor as our ancestors did.

A dark sky full of stars. There is a small tree line at the bottom of the image.

Killarney Provincial Park, along with Lake Superior Provincial Park and Quetico Provincial Park, is among the few locations designated as Dark Sky Preserves in Ontario. The Dark Sky initiative not only plays an important ecological role, it also allows visitors to see the night sky without interference from light pollution.

2. Astronomy programs

Astronomy programs provided by professional and amateur astronomers often take place in our provincial parks.

people enjoying Killarney's observatory complex at night. Obsevatory w laser pointing out constellations

At Killarney Provincial Park, the Astronomer in Residence program offers hands-on programming and learning about the mysteries of the cosmos with live images from our large telescope in the K’chi Waasa Debaabing Observatory. You can learn more about the visiting astronomers on their blog.

3. Learn how to use an observatory

This fall, the Killarney Provincial Park will offer free use on a limited basis of our public-use observatory, Waasa DeBaabing.

telescope aimed at night sky

Meet up with our Discovery rangers to get a hands-on learning session and become certified as an observatory user. Once you’re equipped with working knowledge of how to use the facility, visitors can sign out the facility for an evening of space exploration.

Booking the observatory does require a $250 damage deposit, which is next-day refundable.

4. Perseid meteor shower

The annual summer favourite meteor shower, the Perseids, peaks on the night of August 12. Alas, the brightness of a full moon on the same night will pretty much obliterate the view of these meteors.

Night sky

However, from our provincial parks including Killarney, visitors can view meteors throughout the year. To go meteor hunting, you just need to find a dark site!

5. Solar system walk

Diagram of the planets

Killarney Provincial Park’s temporary solar system walk (taking visitors on a tour of the planets from the sun through to Saturn) will be available again in the latter part of the summer.

This 5.9 km trek follows a scale model of the solar system with the sun and planets sized to match.

6. Stars over Killarney 2022

Our annual Stars over Killarney program returns this year from September 30 to October 2 with a program titled, “From the Earth to the moon, Mars, and beyond.”

This year’s programming will include exploring the geological beauty of Killarney, including a hike to the Granite Ridge lookout, as well as enthralling presentations from leading space and planet scientists.

group in observatory field at night under starry skies

And, as usual, Stars over Killarney treats visitors to views through our telescopes.

For all of the astronomy events happening at Killarney this summer, visit the events page on the Ontario Parks website, or the Killarney Provincial Parks’ Facebook page.