HOPKINS, S.C. (WCBD)- A rare, breathtaking firefly display returns to South Carolina in May and a nearby national park is once again giving the public a chance to see it.

Of the more than 2,000 firefly species found worldwide, only three species of synchronous fireflies are found in North America, according to the National Park Service. And each year, the insects light up the night sky at Congaree National Park for approximately two weeks between mid-May and mid-June as they search for a mate.

The phenomenon has become one of the park’s most anticipated and popular attractions, drawing thousands of visitors.

“The viewing of the synchronized fireflies has become the signature event of Congaree National
Park,” Superintendent Greg Hauburger said. “We are continuing to look for ways to increase
opportunities for people to experience this amazing phenomenon while also doing all we can to
protect these amazing insects and ensure that we have fireflies for the future.”

This year the events will be held from May 13 through May 16 and May 19 through May 20.

Tickets will be required to enter the park on event days and will be distributed through a lottery system. The lottery will open at 10:00 a.m. on April 6 and close on April 12 at 10:00 a.m.

In addition to limiting the number of vehicles passes to 130 each night, guests will also be required to enter the park between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

These measures, including providing each vehicle with a low-lumen red light flashlight, were put in place to “protect critical firefly habitat and provide optimum visitor experience,” according to park officials.

For more information on how to enter the lottery, click here.

The best time to view the fireflies is just after dark, usually between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.