This is one of the largest planetariums in the country. The immense domed Star Theater houses a completely automated Zeiss ... More
This is one of the largest planetariums in the country. The immense domed Star Theater houses a completely automated Zeiss Model VI Star Projector, one of the very few in the world. Shows include "Solar System Adventure," for older students and adults, "Sol & Company" for the youngsters and "Larry, Cat in Space" for the preschool set. Tickets go on sale one half-hour before show time.
I was impressed by how inexpensive the planetarium shows were, although the parking was pricey ($5.00 for only about 3 hours). I like that you receive a discount for attending a second show (as we did).
The first show we saw, "Destination: Space," was very interesting and gave an overview of the manned space exploration program hosted by veteran news anchorman Walter Cronkite (quite the space buff he is). The second show, "Carolina Skies," was impressive with the visual effects, but the live narrator was apparently nervous or maybe confused, because the narration didn't go so well, plus she could barely be heard. Also, things should improve in the future when the planetarium is due to receive an upgrade in technology, as now they are using decades-old equipment.
Planetarium is a must-see for adults and children alike. We have attended approx. 5 shows over the last couple of years, and all have been wonderful. Price is VERY cheap and if you would like to attend two shows in one day, you also get a discount to attend more than one show. All proceeds go to benefit the science program at UNC. There is also a small museum and gift shop on the site, and a beautiful garden with an enormous sundial outdoors. Parking is very convienent and easy to find a parking space.
The planetarium itself is huge - one of the largest in the country. The show we saw was "Magic Tree House: Space Mission" which is fantastic for kids - educational and entertaining. Adults will learn something to (how many stars are in the sky?)
The gift shop has an eclectic selection of cool stuff. Definitately worth a 10 minute browsing.
The exhibit halls are old and not very entertaining. They take about 15 minutes to go through. But, they're free.