Big Sky Star Fest

Lodging and Camping Information, Guidelines, and more…




Astronomy Donors


View Facility

First Annual Big Sky Star Festival

A Celebration of the Night Sky at Montana’s Largest Public Use Observatory.
Star Fest is located at Montana Learning Center on Canyon Ferry Lake, where the dark night skies are perfect for viewing the wonder of the cosmos.

July 9 – 11, 2021

Lodging, Camping, and Meals

For the full Festival experience from morning to night consider lodging or camping at the Montana Learning Center. Each of the Montana Learning Center’s six historic Dorm Cottages have three separate sleeping areas. In each Cottage, one bedroom has two single beds, the other bedroom has two bunk beds, and the living room has three bunk beds. Each Cottage has a full bathroom and sleeps up to 12 people. Festival attendees wishing to room together may request assignment to the same Cottage; otherwise, the Center will assign attendees to specific Cottages. Cost per person is $49 per night. Daily housekeeping services are not provided. Bring your own sleeping bag, pillow, and towel.

Limited camping spaces at the Montana Learning Center are available for a two-night (Friday & Saturday) stay. Each site is $30 for both nights.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be available for purchase in the Center’s Dining Hall for all Festival attendees, whether staying at the Montana Learning Center or not. Click here for a sample menu: Meals at Montana Learning Center.

The Montana Learning Center will invoice registrants for any lodging and/or meals at the Montana Learning Center selected during registration for the Festival. Information regarding the payment options and deadline for invoiced items will be provided during the registration process and with the invoice.

Camping sites managed by the federal Bureau of Reclamation are available around the Lake. For more information, click here: Canyon Ferry Lake Campsites. It is strongly recommended that you make reservations for these campsites in advance since the Lake is a popular weekend destination in the summer.

Click here: Visit Helena, Montana for accommodations, dining, and things to do in the Helena area.

Typical bunk style accommodations available on campus

Join us to view the mysteries of the night sky


One adult: $30

Two adults or one adult and one child under age 18: $50

Two adults and one child under age 18 or one adult and two children under age 18: $75

Two adults and up to three children under age 18 or one adult and up to four children under age 18: $100

Children under age 18 are not permitted to attend the Festival unless accompanied by an adult.

Become a Supporter!

For $250, receive admission for two adults or one adult and one child under age 18 and make a $200 tax-deductible contribution to the Montana Learning Center’s astronomy program.


Admission tickets are non-refundable. If you are unable to attend, your ticket price will become a tax-deductible donation to the Montana Learning Center’s astronomy program.

Thanks to our Sponsors:


In a small effort to be green, please bring the following personal items:

  • Refillable water bottle
  • Reusable coffee mug
  • Cloth shopping bag
  • Red flashlight or headlamp
  • Comfortable camp chair for programs and stargazing
  • Warm blanket, hat & gloves for late night comfort



When attending the Festival, there are a few guidelines one should keep in mind out of respect and courtesy for others:

  • Avoid use of white lights and use red lights sparingly. If, for some reason, you must use a white light, give fair warning to those around you.
  • Never touch anyone else’s equipment without permission, but don’t be afraid to ask. Never touch any glass optical surface.
  • Avoid loud and boisterous behavior. Astronomy is a quiet, peaceful activity.
  • Please don’t litter. Keep our campus beautiful and clean.
  • Drive slowly on the dirt roads so as to avoid kicking up dust into the atmosphere.
  • If you bring children, they must always be under your supervision and well behaved.
  • For the consideration of others, if you choose to listen to your own music, please wear a headset.
  • The consumption of alcohol or drugs anywhere on the Montana Learning Center’s grounds is strictly prohibited and may lead to your expulsion from the Festival.

Above all, be kind and considerate of others. We’re all here because of stardust.