As the sun goes down, the New Canaan Nature Center will be abuzz with the shouting and laughing of happy kids -- and parents, too.
It's all part of the organization's Friday Family Fun Night: Games and Star Gazing on Friday, Aug. 8.
Kicking off hours before sunset, the event will feature a slate of classic field games including parachute and tag, as well as nature identification. When the sun dips down below the horizon, there will be star gazing through a telescope, with emphasis on such famous constellations as Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, Sagittarius and Hercules.
"We're educating them about something that's right there all the time, that we don't really seem to focus on that much," Michelle Piazza, visitor experience manager at the nature center, said. "It's something that's always visible, but we hardly ever stop and take the time to look up."
Piazza said that it's also an opportunity for kids and parents to enjoy the summer together outdoors. Sometimes, the default plan on a lazy summer day is to "plop kids in front of TV," Piazza said, while this event "gives parents the opportunity to focus on their children."
"Summer is a great time to make those family bonds because everyone is more relaxed, and the atmosphere is more laid-back," she said.
Friday Family Fun Night was launched two years ago in response to the exploding popularity of the organization's night hikes.
"They were maxing out, so we thought we'd give people another opportunity to connect to nature at night," Piazza said.
However, the event isn't the only chance to embrace the nocturnal environment at the nature center. On Saturday, Aug. 23, the organization will host the Creatures of the Night Hike. Kids can find out how their "nighttime senses compare to those of the nocturnal animals that call NCNC home," according to a statement on the organization's website.
Piazza urged area residents to "embrace the warm weather," and make it out to one of the center's two summer events.
"It's not going to last forever," she said. "Eventually, the cold weather is going to come."
Scott.firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @scottgarg
New Canaan Nature Center, 144 Oenoke Ridge. Friday, Aug. 8, 7:30-9 p.m. $15 per family, $10 per member family. 203-966-9577, newcanaannature.org.