The Perseid meteor shower typically peaks around Aug 12th or 13th and can display anywhere from 60 to 100 meteors per hour. Of course, the darker the skies, the more meteors you’ll be able to spot.
When my kids were teenagers, we would typically go to Hogback Covered Bridge in rural Madison County to watch the Perseid meteor shower. This isn’t the darkest skies in Iowa, but we love the location because of the appeal that the location and bridge add.
Address: 1879 Hogback Bridge Rd, Winterset, IA 50273 (exact Google map location)
On most occassions, I would encourage my kids to bring a friend or cousin along for the trip. They would often bring blankets, chairs, and speakers to play their favorite music while they talked under the star-filled sky.
Although it’s not the darkest skies in Iowa – there are no street lights near the bridge, so it’s relatively dark. There are security cameras near the bridge so it’s important to note that they are recording what you do at the bridge – but honestly, that’s actually more comforting to us than concerning. In fact, we rarely had any visitors in all the years that we’ve done this, as we don’t usually show up till 12 midnight and stay for 2 to 3 hours.
If the kids get bored, that’s when you give them flashlights and let them wander around the bridge and the creek on their own in the dark – that’s part of exploring and growing up. They may even come back with wet shoes. Oh well.
If the clouds roll in and there are no meteors to see, we then get out flashlights and try out light painting, which is using flashlights to “paint” long exposure photos or create eerie-looking scenes like the one above.