Night Sky Cruises

Experience an unforgettable narrated tour of the Great Lakes night sky aboard a Shepler’s Night Sky cruise!  All aboard as we set sail under the natural beauty of the night sky.  Enjoy a relaxing and educational cruise exploring the wonder and mystery in our galaxy and beyond.  Our 2022 night sky cruise schedule includes ten (10) unique experiences scheduled around various events in the night sky, most timed to depart around sunset/moon rise.


All Night Sky Cruises depart from and return to Mackinaw City


Each cruise features narration provided by night sky expert and star lore historian Mary Stewart Adams.  Host of the weekly public radio segment, The Storyteller’s Night Sky, Mary was founder and program director for many years at the International Dark Sky Park at the Headlands near Mackinaw City, one of the first ten such parks in the world when it was designated in 2011.  Mary has won numerous honors personally for her work, she travels extensively advocating for dark skies, and has helped protect thousands of acres of Michigan state land for its natural darkness.


Click here to download full 2022 cruise Schedule.


2022 Night Sky Cruise Dates


Tuesday, June 14
Strawberry Super Moon – 9:15 p.m. – 10:45 p.m.

After last month’s eclipse, the Moon makes one of its closest approaches of the year tonight, sweeping in like a big strawberry kiss. We’ll be out on the Straits in time to cast our cares into the lap of the setting Sun, then we’ll cruise east into the romance of the rising Strawberry Moon ~ so-named for this month’s fruit harvest.


Tuesday, June 21
Summer Solstice – 9:15 p.m. – 10:45 p.m.

The longest day of the year warrants cruising in the most beautiful of places, and for Michigan that’s on the Straits, out beyond the Mackinac Bridge, to chase the sunset into the lake and cruise home by the light of the evening’s first stars.


Friday, July 1
Summer’s Crescent Moon – 9:15 p.m.  – 10:45 p.m.

The moving Moon goes up the sky, reaching toward the heart star Regulus in the constellation Leo tonight, as we cruise into the waning sunlight at the west end of the Straits. While the Moon reaches for the heart of the lion, the Earth sweeps furthest away from the Sun on its path, all of it a great set up for storytelling under the stars.


Wednesday, July 13
Summer’s Super Moon – 9:15 p.m.  – 10:45 p.m.

Tonight’s Thunder Moon is this year’s official Super Moon, coming closer than any other Full Moon of the year, and what better way to experience it than when it rivals the Sun as dominant celestial body over the Straits of Mackinac, dramatically rising in the East over Lake Huron after Sun has set in the West into Lake Michigan. Bridge lights, moonlight, starlight and song fill up the night.


Saturday, July 23
Summer Stars – 9:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

This week all the planets and even the Moon have fled into the morning sky, leaving the night to the stars. We’ll cruise toward the stars of the lion that are drifting west in the twilight, trailing Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, and the thickest region of Milky Way stars. Any sailor, boater, or captain will tell you that there’s something quite special that belongs to stargazing out on the water, particularly on moonless nights when the mystery is deep. That’s tonight, come join us!


Friday, July 29
Wishing on the Stars – 9:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

The Delta Aquariid Meteor Shower shyly peaks into the Northern sky at the end of July each year, falling through the sky from the region where most of the stars are named for good luck and fortune. As if we aren’t lucky enough to be cruising under the Mackinac Bridge and to the stars tonight, we may even catch the thinnest sliver of Moon dangling over Lake Michigan, accent mark on what promises to be a beautiful summer evening.


Friday, August 5
Milky Way Moon – 9:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Summer’s Moon is 7-days old tonight, which means it’s dressed in its first quarter attire and knocking at the door of the Milky Way, a setup that sparks the most romantic night of the year in Asian tradition. Tonight we’ll cruise beneath the Summer Triangle of stars, hunting the stray meteors that blaze through the summer season, hearing tales of love, star-crossed or otherwise.


Friday, August 12
Full Moon Meteor Blues – 8:45 p.m. – 10:15 p.m.

The August Full Moon washes out the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the beauty of moonlight dancing across Earth’s largest bodies of freshwater. History, science, story and stars will entertain us, so we’re not overcome with the meteor shower blues.


Saturday, August 20
Mysteries of the Milky Way – 8:45 p.m. – 10:15 p.m.

We are at peak Milky Way season now, with the thickest region of our galaxy arcing over the southwest horizon, offering an invitation to the imagination to journey to the center of it all. In medieval tradition, the Milky Way marked the path of souls into the great beyond, which sets us up for a terrific night of storytelling out on the Straits, beneath a sky full of stars.


Friday, September 9
Eve of Harvest Moon –  8:00 p.m. –  9:30 p.m.

Sun and Moon trade places in the celestial hemispheres in a few weeks when, at Equinox, greater darkness overtakes the daylight. But first, our two great celestial lights have a standoff on either ends of the Straits of Mackinac, with the fiery gold of the Summer Sun dominating the sky in the west over Lake Michigan, while the silvery blue of  the Moon rises up in the East. Nature paints this palette of color as an irresistible invitation to enjoy the last views of the summer stars.


Be sure to read important scheduled cruise FAQs on cancellations and refunds, updated concession stand details, parking, boarding, and other important information before purchasing tickets.


Adult: $43.50
Children (ages 5-12): $25.50
Children (under 5):
Free (ticket required; must sit on an adult’s lap)

Please note: Cruise Terms and Conditions have been updated as of November 24, 2021.

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