Preserving the dark sky

Terra Nova National Park

Terra Nova National Park was designated as a Dark Sky Preserve in February 2018 by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. As part of the Dark Sky Preserve Program, Terra Nova is committed to protecting the nighttime environment and reducing energy consumption. This includes adjusting, retrofitting, or eliminating light fixtures as well as promoting and delivering new educational and interpretive programs on astronomy and other dark sky themes. The designation is the first in Newfoundland and Labrador and the twentieth in Canada.

a starry sky over a pondside forestPhoto: Dave Newbury

Protecting the night sky is great news for stargazers as well as wildlife. Terra Nova is committed to improving nocturnal ecology by returning the dark night to birds, bats, insects and amphibians.

As a Dark Sky Preserve, Terra Nova allows present and future generations to experience the night sky as Indigenous peoples, European explorers and early settlers did. In the summer, there are public programs and events to celebrate astronomy and the dark sky.


Royal Astronomical Society of Canada - St. John's Centre

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

International Dark-Sky Association

Best viewing locations

  • Sandy Pond: Rated as having the darkest skies in the park, this is the best location for viewing what the night sky has to offer.
  • Ochre Hill: Historically, this location was used as a fire-watch station. Now it’s the perfect location to get a panoramic view of the park under the stars.
  • Blue Hill: As the highest point in the park, Blue Hill will put you among the stars.
  • Visitor Centre: There’s nothing like a starry-sky reflected in the water. At the Visitor Centre, you can get a great view of the night sky over Newman Sound.

Dark sky fun and festivities

  • Night Sky Kits

    Interested in exploring the night sky during your visit to the park? Take advantage of Terra Nova National Park's beautiful dark skies and check out a Night Sky Kit from the Visitor Centre!

    These kits include binoculars and resources that will help you understand the wonders of the sky. Complete the included activities and take home a Star Finder and Moon Gazers Guide to help you continue the fun in your own backyard! Identification will be required for sign out. Kids, make sure a parent or adult comes along to pick up the kit with you.

    Special thanks to our friends at Kejiimkujik National Park who shared this awesome program for your enjoyment

  • Night Watch

    Join us as we watch Terra Nova come alive after dark. This walk will focus on some of our favourite nocturnal animals - bats! Learn about their unique features and adaptations, and discover the challenges bat populations are facing today.

    Check out our Tours and Programs page for more details.

  • Night Sky Celebration

    Join Parks Canada and the St. John's Chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada as we celebrate the sky! Get a crash course on how to use the equipment needed to get a closer look at the night sky and learn the basics of astronomy.

    Check out our Tours and Programs page for more details.

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