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Bare Dark Sky Media Information

Welcome to the Bare Dark Sky Observatory at the Mayland Earth to Sky Park!

We appreciate your interest! Please use the below information as a starting point for your research on the Park.

If you have additional questions or would like a tour please email or call the Visitor Center at 828-470-7584.  

Earth to Sky Park Overview

The Earth to Sky Park (ESP) was founded in 2016 in the space formerly known as the Energy Exchange, located the former Yancey-Mitchell landfill site. The ESP is an International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) certified park and was the 22nd location in the world to receive this designation in 2015 (when it was called the Blue Ridge Star Park). The Park is home to the Bare Dark Sky Observatory (BDSO), the Glenn & Carol Arthur Planetarium, a Visitor’s Center, the Carolyn Munro Wilson Picnic Shelter, numerous gardens, the Paul & Susie O’Connell Conference Center, an Aquaponics Lab, and soon to be Children’s Discovery Centers. The BDSO opened in 2017 and houses the largest public telescope in NC. Community Viewing Nights as well as private rentals are available year-round and guests are led on a tour of the night sky under truly dark skies. The Arthur Planetarium opened in July 2022 and offers astronomy and environmental education during daylight hours, making it the perfect field trip destination for K-12 schools and Mayland classes alike. Laser Light shows are also a popular entertainment attraction for locals and visitors. The O’Connell Conference Center provides a meeting space as well as a classroom space. The Aquaponics Lab, resides inside a greenhouse and serves as a classroom to explore alternative farming methods. The Altec Styslinger Engineering Discovery Center and the Environmental Science Discovery Center are planned to open in 2024 and will consist of hands-on STEM education exhibits. The ESP, like the Blue Ridge Boutique Hotel, is operated by the Mayland Community College Enterprise Corporation.

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