Lower ESP Landscape Plan

Earth to Sky Park

Formerly called the EnergyXchange, the Mayland Earth to Sky Park is home to the Bare Dark Sky Observatory and the future home of the Glen and Carol Arthur Planetarium, the Paul and Susan O’Connell Conference Center, aquaponics & hydroponics facility, visitors’ center, micro-propagation lab, and garden trails.


The Earth to Sky Park will be a destination point for visitors who are interested in learning about the natural world we live in, from the earth to the sky. The centerpiece of the Park is the Bare Dark Sky Observatory, which provides a hands-on learning experience for Mayland students and is also open to the public. The Glenn and Carol Arthur Planetarium will serve as a further educational opportunity for visitors of all ages to learn about the night sky during daylight hours and is set to open in 2021.

A visitors’ center will provide a history of the site and explain how it transitioned from a landfill to its current state. It will also serve as a starting point for planetarium visits and information about the facility.

The Paul and Susan O’Connell Conference Center, set to open in Spring 2020, will provide both a formal meeting space as well as a more casual meeting space, complete with a small kitchen area. Those needing meeting space will be able to reserve the Conference Center and can explore the Earth to Sky Park and wander through the gardens.

Mayland plans to expand the micro-propagation lab, which is currently located on the Main Campus in Spruce Pine and add a hydroponics/aquaponics facility. These will provide classroom space for workforce training and credential programs as well as provide the public with an opportunity to view these facilities and learn about how these processes are helping save rare plant species and creating innovative new farming techniques.

Gardens, including a butterfly garden, a paper making garden, and moon gardens that surround the Observatory will be scattered around the Park and provide visitors with nice walks and a chance to learn about the different types of plants in each garden.

In Spring of 2021, local artist, Matthew Willey will be painting a bee mural on the outside of the Glenn and Carol Arthur Planetarium. As part of “The Good of the Hive” project, the mural will promote awareness of the importance of honeybees. Willey is on a mission to paint 50,000 bees around the world and has already completed murals in locations such as the Smithsonian Zoo, the Burt’s Bees headquarters, and many more. The public will be invited to events surrounding Willey’s time painting and watch him in action. For more information on “The Good of the Hive” visit, thegoodofthehive.com

COMING in 2021!!


Mayland Community College is constructing a 60 seat planetarium with a 36 ft projection dome located at the Earth to Sky Park. This facility will become a multi-use destination for our students, school children, residents, and visitors for many years to come. The Planetarium will be used for viewing the skies from around the world, traveling through the human body as part of STEM education and virtually experiencing wonderful places around the globe. Laser light shows at the Planetarium will allow visitors to listen to some of their favorite artists. It will be an event center with activities under the stars and enable viewers to experience our local night sky even when cloudy. The Glen and Carol Arthur Planetarium will provide education and entertainment for all ages!

planetariumContact Information:

Address: 66 Energy Exchange Drive, Burnsville NC 28714

Phone: 828-766-1277

For information regarding the Earth to Sky Park please email: mccfoundation@mayland.edu

For information regarding the Bare Dark Sky Observatory please email: observatory@mayland.edu


From Marion through Spruce Pine:

Travel to Spruce Pine via Hwy 221 north to Hwy 226 west.
Turn left onto Hwy 19E south toward Burnsville and travel about 8 miles.
Turn right onto Hwy 80 north and travel about 2 miles.
Turn left onto Landfill Road. Follow the signs to Mayland Earth to Sky Park.

From Asheville through Burnsville:

From I-26 West toward Tennessee take exit 9 (Burnsville exit).
On Hwy 19E north travel approximately 21 miles, passing through Burnsville.
Turn left onto Hwy 80 north and travel about 2 miles.
Turn left onto Landfill Road. Follow the signs to Mayland Earth to Sky Park.