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Nature Center & Observatory

Nature Center & Observatory Programs
The Nature Center & Observatory at Rifle Camp Park offers many programs and activities for all ages and interests.

The Nature Center is a small Nature & Science Museum and visitor's center.  It contains displays on a variety of science topics including a working seismograph that records earthquakes from around the world, wildlife exhibits, local rocks & minerals, astronomy and more. The nature center is open  8 AM to 5 PM, Fridays and Saturdays.

The Astronomical Observatory is open for public viewing on selected dates during the year. If you have never looked through a telescope this is a wonderful opportunity to do so.

Astronomy Nights Plus  

Come see the planets, the stars, the beautiful NYC skyline, including the Statue of Liberty, the historic Coney Island Parachute Jump with its 8000 dazzling LEDs and more. All objects are viewed using several telescopes under high power magnification from the Passaic County Nature Center and Astronomical Observatory located in Rifle Camp Park, Woodland Park, NJ.

While here you can view our mineral, shell, and twig displays. You can also see real dinosaur footprints. On most nights watch one of our volunteers hide in the darkest area of the woods while under infrared surveillance. Don’t forget to checkout our “Smart Rooster”. And if you are so inclined “Make Earthquakes” before you leave and learn about a device called a seismograph.

Closed on cloudy and rainy nights. Call 973-523-0024 for the latest information and directions.

Spring / Summer Schedule:
Date                             TIME (PM)             SKY OBJECTS
May26, Friday               8:30 to 11:00     Jupiter, Mars, Saturn? (late)
June 16, Friday             8:30 to 11:00     Saturn, Jupiter
July 7, Friday                8:30 to 11:00     Jupiter, Saturn, Moon
August 18, Friday          8:30 to 11:00     Saturn, Albireo
September 15, Friday    8:30 to 11:00      Saturn, Albireo, Ring Nebula M57

*Fall Schedule to be announced

Wild Card Astronomy Nights+

We can't change the bad weather, but on a day when we have great weather we can change to that date for our Astronomy Nights+. Sign up while at the Nature Center to receive a same-day good weather date notification via text or e-mail.

Other objects and events may also be seen and occur on Astronomy Nights+ that are not listed above. However, some that are listed might not be seen depending on weather, atmospherics and other conditions.