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John Glenn Astronomy Park to open in Hocking Hills

An astronomy park honoring astronaut John Glenn will open in the late fall at Hocking Hills.

Construction was recently started on the John Glenn Astronomy Park about 40 miles southeast of Columbus in secluded, tranquil woods. Hocking Hills is known for its lack of light pollution, making it a favorite viewing spot for astronomy fanatics.

“The Friends of Hocking Hills State Park is privileged to help honor John Glenn’s legacy by developing a facility that has such tremendous potential to offer visitors from around the globe an unforgettable experience.” said Julieann Burroughs, president of the Friends of Hocking Hills State Park board of directors. “The park will spark an interest in science, exploration and astronomy among visitors of all ages and is expected to become a meaningful scientific research facility.”

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The park, designed by Ohio-based M&A Architects, will include an 80-foot Solar Plaza that is encircled by a law wall with notches that offer framed views of the sun on certain days. An enclosed 540-square-foot observatory also features a retractable roof to permit night sky viewing. The park will also feature gathering areas, open green space and parking.

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Before John Glenn died in December, he agreed to lend his name to the park. Raymore added that increased tourism benefits the area through much-needed economic development, as visitors generate more than $134 million annually in the region.

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“In addition to miles and miles of trails through dense forests, stunning rock formations and rushing waterfalls, our star-filled skies get high marks from visitors,” said Karen Raymore, Hocking Hills Tourism Association executive director. “The Tourism Association is thrilled at the opportunity to offer one more reason for travelers to visit the region and a new way for them to experience another natural attraction, which has been here since the dawn of time.”

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