One of the last hidden gems in Rhode Island deserves far more attention than it receives. The Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center is a truly wonderful public service located in Charlestown, RI.
Before you visit yourself, here’s what we have to say about the Frosty Drew Observatory!
Getting to the Park
The observatory is easily found on most GPS systems at Ninigret Park, 62 Park Ln, Charlestown, RI 02813.
From Providence, you will have to drive about an hour south on I-95 to RI Route 1S and follow the signs for North Kingstown.
After 13 miles on Rt 1S, keep left at the fork to RI-4S and follow for 10 miles. Then, you will make a U-turn and the parking lot will be on your right.
From Connecticut, make your way to New London, CT, and take exit 92 to CT 2E until you reach 78E. Follow 78E (CT and RI) for 6 miles until you reach 1N (Post Rd). From there, follow RI-1N until you reach the observatory parking lot on your right!
When you arrive, you should find a pitch-black to avoid light pollution, so use your headlights until you find a parking space. Immediately turn them off once safely parked.
Parking & Fees
Parking and visiting the observatory are free.
However, it is recommended that you give a $5 donation in the donation box at the observatory. Frosty Drew is a nonprofit that relies on public funding.
The observatory is right in the center of the park, so just follow the marked pathways surrounded by red lighting and enter the small, dome-shaped observatory.
When to Go
The observatory is only open on Friday nights from 7 pm to 10 pm, and when the weather permits.
Unlike any other park that we’ll review, we suggest going here at night on a clear day. Always check the weather in advance, especially if you’ll have to drive far to visit.
Also, this isn’t only a summertime visit like most park amenities. The observatory does run in the winter, as long as the sky is clear.
Things to Do in Ninigret Park
While this park is primarily known for its observatory, you may consider visiting Ninigret Park during the day and staying until after sunset.
If you do, you can enjoy a large playground, multiple ball fields/courts, a bicycle trail, and a swimming pond during the warmer months.
The park offers 227 acres with plenty of picnic areas, natural scenery, and paved walking spaces. It’s not a bad place to spend a day!
Review of Frosty Drew Observatory & Science Center
We visited on Valentine’s Day in 2020, just before the Covid-19 pandemic, and it was not only the clearest night of the week, but it was the coldest of the month!
Bundled up like nobody’s business, we were very lucky to see what we got to see with limited crowds. The parking is plentiful, but remember that they are trying to reduce light pollution at all costs, so be careful where you’re walking and try to avoid shining lights if possible.
Once we were in the observatory, a very knowledgeable guide offered great insight into each of the stars we were viewing. He was very patient and made sure that everybody had a turn looking through the telescope.
All in all, for such a densely-populated state, the existence of this hidden gem is quite remarkable. It’s a great place to take your science-loving children, friends, or a romantic date!
If you’re in Rhode Island or Eastern Connecticut/Massachusetts, we recommend finding a clear Friday to see for yourself!
See the Stars for Yourself
Now that you know about the Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center, make a trip yourself. If you’re in southern New England, it’s worth visiting at least once, especially if you have a friend or family member with a passion for science.
You’ll have a hard time believing that it’s free to the public, but please consider donating to this remarkable public service!
Also, remember to plan ahead, as there’s only a narrow time slot each week where you can visit. Check the weather and call ahead to ensure it’s operating.
As always, feel free to share your experiences with the Frosty Drew Observatory in the comments below, and keep reading our blog for our latest reviews of your favorite New England destinations!
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