Public Observatory

by | Jun 30, 2022 | Parks Department

Update November 23, 2022

Observatory Grand Opening

On October 8, a grand opening was held for the NEW observatory at Hemlock Crossing. The observatory was developed through an ongoing partnership between Ottawa County Parks and the Shoreline Amateur Astronomical Association (SAAA), along with many donations from the community. We want to thank the hundreds of people who came to view this addition to our Parks. We look forward to the ways in which this new development will enrich our community.

Stay tuned to the SAAA’s website for more details about public open hours, live-streaming, and upcoming programs. The SAAA and Ottawa County Parks is currently developing a process for private programs. More information will be coming soon. SAAA members looking to schedule a private visit should contact Frank Roldan. The observatory will only be open during designated times. Viewing requires an individual with knowledge on how to operate the telescope to be present. Once it opens, a public viewing evening will be offered once per week as conditions allow*.

*Please note if there are NOT clear skies, the viewing will be cancelled. If cancelled, it will be noted on the calendar on this page:

Do you want to become a member of the Shoreline Amateur Astronomical Association (SAAA)? 

Apply for a family membership to the SAAA! Some of the member benefits include:
>>Monthly meetings and fellowship
>>Use of the club’s telescopes
>>Public observing sessions
>>Mentoring by experienced club observers
To learn more about the SAAA, attend one of their monthly meetings or public outreach programs!
>>Annual Single/Family Membership ……… $32.00
>>Annual Junior/Senior Membership ……… $22.00

Update June 30, 2022

Check out progress on construction of the Public Observatory at Hemlock Crossing County Park in West Olive, MI. The local club who will be operating the telescope, the Shoreline Amateur Astronomical Association is working hard to install and program the telescope and weather-proof the building. An opening date hasn’t yet been announced, but keep an eye out for it!

Check out this article for more details.

Update June 8, 2022

Construction is underway at Hemlock Crossing! The Shoreline Amateur Astronomy Association (SAAA) is installing West Michigan’s first public observatory. Stay tuned for the date and time of the grand opening! Special thanks to the Friends of Ottawa County Parks and the Ottawa County Parks Foundation for their support of this project.



Update January 14, 2021:

Progress continues on the public observatory slated for Hemlock Crossing County Park. Using current concept drawings, the Shoreline Amateur Astronomical Association (SAAA) created a 3D printed model of the facility – you can check it out below.
🪐 The observatory will have a rotating dome and house a 16-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, providing an opportunity for viewing, studying, and photographing objects in the night sky. The plan also calls for transmitting near real-time images onto a screen inside the Nature Center. Groundbreaking is projected for late spring/summer 2021.
🪐 The total project cost is estimated at $95,000 and the SAAA has secured nearly $75,000. If you would like to support this exciting project, you can do so by visiting and making a pledge or an online donation:
Thank you to the Friends of Ottawa County Parks and the Ottawa County Parks Foundation for their support of this project!

May 28, 2018: The SAAA is raising funds for West Michigan’s first public observatory! The $65,000 observatory is planned for Hemlock Crossing County Park, near the Nature Education Center.

Friends of Ottawa County Parks and the Ottawa County Parks Foundation have each donated $2,500, and Ottawa County Parks donated $5,000 toward the effort, pushing them just over half way to their goal. They have raised approximately $35,000.

If you are interested in supporting this endeavor, please visit the SAAA online.

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