Sometimes it's easy to forget that life doesn't stop when the sun goes down. Just because we go to sleep, doesn't mean the world does! For some animals, nighttime is a signal to wake up and become active. The next time you head out on a camping adventure, why not plan a nighttime activity, so you can see what's awake after sundown?
Many animals, from owls and insects to flying squirrels and night jars, are primarily nocturnal, meaning that they're most active at night. In addition to the members of the animal world that are out at this time, the wind and weather takes on a special quality in the darkness. It's an exciting time to be outside, no matter what you're doing.
A number of fun nighttime activities are available to you. From owl walks to star gazing, here are a few fun things to try on your next camping trip.
Grab your flashlight and go! A nighttime walk can be a fun adventure. Carry a flashlight in case of trouble, but if you can (if there's any moonlight), try turning your flashlight off and standing still for a while. Once your eyes are adjusted, see if you can walk a little in the true darkness. You'll be far more observant without your light.
Are you ready to see some owls? You'll need to get up early in the morning, but if you visit the right spots, you just might see one. In the Spring and Fall, you'll need to get up and out at about four in the morning. In the summer, head out even earlier. The sun rises earlier in the summer, so the owls are active earlier, too. Take your flashlight with you and head to a spot that's well forested and possibly near another attractive feature like a pond, lake, or meadow. Keep your ears open for the hoots of owls and your eyes alert for movement in the forest branches. if you have the chance to join in an organized owl walk with a trained guide, you'll have an even better chance of spotting owls.
As soon as the sun goes down, you can start watching for stars. Kids and adults alike love hunting for constellations in the night sky. Get a group together and your pooled knowledge of constellations will help you find more than you would on your own. Be sure to spot the big and little dippers, the north star (the one point in the night sky that never moves), Orion, and Cassiopeia. Read more about star gazing at Camping.com.
In certain special places, you just might spot a moon bow -- a rainbow that's made by the moon rather than the sun. Moon bows can be hard to see (they're far less colorful than rainbows), but that only makes them all the more special. The two most famous viewing spots in the U.S. are at Cumberland Falls, near Williamsburg, Kentucky and Waimea, Hawaii. In both places, sign up for a guided hike to see the moon bow. You're going to be amazed!