December Adventure Quencher: Star Party 2017

Guests on the first hayride of the night

This year’s Star Party occurred on December 16, 2017, just past the peak viewing days for the Geminid Meteor Shower. But that didn’t stop some of our guests from seeing a few stray Geminid meteors! After a couple hours of partly cloudy skies, guests were treated to perfect clear skies for good views of the winter constellations. Our hayrides shuttled families to the Bayou Heron boat launch, where our telescopes, binoculars, and stargazing apps were set up by some of our staff and volunteers.

Back at the Coastal Resources Center, we had games, paper crafts, hot chocolate, and soups. We transformed our dormitories into a space just for cookie decorating. One of our very popular activities was the Screech Owl Walk. At one point, they had about 60 people on the walk!



New to Star Party this year was our campground-themed room, where a space story was read to our younger guests. The Ocean Springs library also held a raffle for rain barrels, and winners were excited to take one home. Guests were also able to see our resident Mississippi Diamondback Terrapin, Tobi, in her new and improved home in the interpretive center.

Santa and his elf made an appearance for pictures with guests, which can be found here: Star Party 2017 Photos.




Dennis McGrury sporting our tackiest sweater this year.

Grand Bay NERR staff once again held a tacky sweater contest with the guests voting on the winner. Our Outreach Specialist, Dennis McGrury, who sported a cozy red sweater featuring a fuzzy llama, was the winner!

Star Party is Grand Bay NERR’s largest open house event that occurs around the Geminid Meteor Shower each year. It’s a fun family event for all, and one we hope becomes a family tradition for guests. One of our guests commented on Facebook, “We had a great time!! The staff were wonderful and extremely friendly! I would definitely go back for future events.”

We would like to extend a special thanks to veterans from the VA Hospital in Biloxi, MS for helping us with crafts and decorations (Veterans Photos Here), and thanks to our volunteers, fellow staff, and guests for making Star Party 2017 another great success!


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone,

-Grand Bay NERR Staff

Clear skies at the Grand Bay NERR during Star Party 2017. Photo by C. Huynh




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