While there are no excuses needed to pay a visit to one of our country's great national parks, this is one opportunity you won't want to miss.
This May, thousands of fireflies will deliver a mesmerizing display in the Great Smoky Mountains. Descending on the park for their mating season, the bugs will shine from late May to early June, according to Travel + Leisure. Visitors can get a front row seat to the most dazzling synchronized light show ever at the Elkmont Campground from May 30 to June 6.
This annual event showcases the synchronous fireflies (photinus carolinus), one of the few species in the world who coordinate their flash patterns, according to the National Park Service. The insects' affectionate display usually occurs for two weeks every year throughout the mountain range and around the park's Elkmont area. Check out the video below to see the special light show for yourself — and imagine how much more magnificent this would look in person.
There's one catch though: you have to win a lottery to get access to this phenomenon. Since the viewing gathering is so popular, the park will offer 1,800 parking passes through a free online lottery starting April 28. The winners will be charged a $2.75 reservation fee and will have to travel to the viewing area via Firefly Shuttle. (Since 2006, the park provides the limited shuttle service to reduce traffic congestion and disturbance for the fireflies.)
The lottery opens on Friday, April 28 at 12 p.m. ET and runs through Monday, May 1 at 8 p.m. ET. Learn more details on how to enter at the lottery event page.
[h/t Travel + Leisure