Ottawa County offices will be closed on Monday, May 27, 2024 in observance of Memorial Day.

Ottawa County Parks & Recreation

Public Observatory at Hemlock Crossing


The telescope in the Public Observatory at Hemlock Crossing is undergoing repairs and will be closed for the next 10 - 12 weeks.

Friday Public Observing nights and astronomy programs will continue as scheduled, thanks to our dedicated SAAA members who will showcase their smaller telescopes for everyone to enjoy the night sky.

Stay Updated

The Hemlock Crossing Public Observatory is the first public observatory in West Michigan. Hours of operation are weather dependent.

Please check the calendar below for the observatory hours.

The Hemlock Crossing Public Observatory is located at 8115 West Olive Rd West Olive, MI 49460. The facility, which houses a 16-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope was constructed and opened in 2022. It is operated by members of the Shoreline Amateur Astronomical Association (SAAA).

The completion of this project was made possible with the support from the SAAA, Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission, Friends of Ottawa County Parks, the Ottawa County Parks Foundation, as well as many members of our community who made financial contributions, large and small, to support this project.

The observatory would not have been built without generosity of the community! Thank you to all who donated to support it.

Public Viewing

The observatory is open to the public on Friday evenings throughout the year whenever viewing conditions allow. A member from the Shoreline Amateur Astronomical Association (SAAA) will be present to operate the telescope (required for viewing). Click the entries in the calendar below for public viewing dates and details, as well as any weather cancellations.

* Please note if the forecast is overcast, the viewing will be cancelled. If cancelled, it will be noted on calendar entry.

Public Programs

In addition to weekly public viewing evenings, the SAAA will continue to offer a free public program each month at Hemlock Crossing, year-round. Find the schedule and register*:

  • During cooler months, the indoor program will be offered regardless of the weather. If conditions allow, stargazing will follow.
  • During the warmer months, programs will be offered outdoors and may be cancelled due to inclement weather.

*Though registration is not required, we highly recommend registering so you receive cancellations/changes via email for that date.

View All Ottawa County Parks Programs

Private Viewing

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.