(Sponsored Content) — We’re heading up not just up into the gorgeous mountains of western North Carolina… but lightyears beyond our own solar system.  If you’re a fan of the mystery of space, the pursuit of knowledge, or just really great views… then it’s time to point your compass to Earth to Sky Park.

Located in Burnsville, North Carolina, this amazing new campus is part of Mayland Community College.  Their mission is to encourage visitors to explore the natural world from the earth to the sky.  And they have some amazing facilities to let you do just that.

This place is designated as an International Dark Sky Park – and is one of only 2 in the world that operates both an observatory and a planetarium.  Both the Bare Dark Sky Observatory and the Arthur Planetarium are open to the public.  And they’re awesome.

The telescope here is the largest in all of the Southeast that is dedicated to public use.  You can get up close and personal with the moon, planets, and stars by gazing through this custom beauty.  Over the course of 2 hours the pros here will take you on a tour of the night sky like you’ve never received before.

And that’s just one of the amazing scientific attractions on offer.  Up next, we’re checking out the Arthur Planetarium.

This is a brand new 36-foot projection dome.  With 60 seats and amazing projectors, it’s ready to wow you with shows about astronomy and a variety of other scientific genres.  And this winter they’re also going to start with laser light shows.

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When you’re ready to shift your focus from the skies overhead to the ground beneath your feet, the scientific journey continues in the Aquaponics and Hydroponics labs. 

Here you can learn how water-based farming practices are put to use.  Some of the herbs that you buy right there in the Ingles produce section are grown using methods just like this.  And you can meet some of the fish that keep the tanks clean and the ecosystem thriving.

When you visit the Earth to Sky Park make sure and hit up the Ingles in Burnsville for some great picnic items to enjoy these long-range mountain views. 

For more information visit the Earth to Sky Park website.