Area51 is one of the closest truly dark sites (Bortle Scale "Green" or better) to Fox Observatory (and by association, most of Broward County). For those new to Area 51, it is located just off mile marker 51 on the world famous Alligator Alley. Area51 is about 1/3 of the way across heading towards Naples. From Fox Observatory it is about a 20-25 minute drive (aproximately 29 miles).
If you're coming from the east, your "last chance" stop before reaching Area51 is at mile marker 49 (Snake Road exit). There are rest rooms, a store, and a gas station here.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE ARE NO FACILITIES OF ANY KIND AT AREA51!
As you pass the Snake Road exit at mile marker 49 and go under the overpass there you will see a large radio tower ahead on the south side of I75. As you approach the tower you will note a rise in the road ahead of you. This rise is the bridge (overpass) over the canal where the observing site is. There is a gate opening on the east side of the canal overpass. Pay close attention for the start of the guard rail leading to this overpass as soon as you pass mile marker 51. When you see it, carefully slow down, exit onto the highway apron, and start looking for the opening in the guard rail where the gate is located. It is easy to miss if you aren't paying attention or driving too quickly!
After exiting the highway, an approximately three mile long dirt road heads south to the site on the east side of the canal. Be prepared to wash your vehicle after visiting Area51!
Even if you're the first to arrive for an observing session at Area51, you'll know for sure that you have arrived when you see a heavy-duty yellow barricade blocking the road in front of you. We set up on the side of the barrier that you're on.
Since the road can be very dusty, please remember to be considerate of your fellow astronomers and slow to an absolute dead crawl well before you reach the site!
So why do we drive a third of the way across the state, get our cars all dusty and dirty, brave the mosquitos and share our evenings with the gators? Area51's sky is the answer to that question! Click on the Bortle Scale Map to launch the Clear Sky Clock for Area51.