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Hoping to see a magical firefly spectacle of light? You'll have to join a lottery just to attend

The display, which occurs each spring in Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains National Park, draws visitors from all over the world.
Firefly Spectacle of Light in The Great Smoky Mountains
Posted at 4:06 PM, Apr 26, 2024

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee is about to glisten and gleam in one of nature's most enchanting phenomena: a synchronous firefly spectacle.

For just a short time each spring, thousands of fireflies put on a dazzling display of synchronized flashing, creating a breathtaking light show that's a magical experience for onlookers. While it's unclear exactly why these little insects put on such a vibrant display, it's believed prospective male mates do this to impress their female counterparts.

The display, which occurs each year in late May and early June, draws visitors from all over the world. However, it's not as simple as packing the family car with lawn chairs and heading to the camp grounds to watch.

To manage the influx of visitors, the National Park Service has implemented a lottery system for accessing the viewing area. And just 1,120 reservations — 140 per day — will be randomly awarded

Elkmont Campground in The Great Smoky Mountains.
Campers in The Great Smoky Mountains.

The lottery registration period opened Friday morning and is set to close Monday, April 29 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The eight-day viewing event begins on June 3 and park officials said lottery winners will be notified in mid-May.

However, if you are chosen, you won't have to witness the event alone. Reservations are good for one vehicle per winner and can include up to seven passengers inside.

A periodical cicada.

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Those hoping to experience this breathtaking spectacle can register for the lottery here. But make sure you have a debit or credit card handy because you'll have to pay a $1 application fee and then another $24 for the reservation if you win.

For those lucky enough to secure a spot at this year's event, it's sure to be an unforgettable experience. You can find more information about the synchronous fireflies and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park here.