Kirkpatrick Planetarium

A New Way to Experience the Stars

On Aug. 6th, 2018, renovations will begin on the museum’s Kirkpatrick Planetarium.
Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, when the planetarium reopens in late September it will be outfitted with state-of-the-art technology, giving you a planetarium experience unlike any you’ve seen before.
If you love the Kirkpatrick Planetarium now, just wait – you haven’t seen anything yet!

Questions? We have answers!

When will the project be completed?
We hope to have the Kirkpatrick Planetarium reopened by the end of September, just in time for Tinkerfest on Sept. 29. The official opening date is not finalized, and while we don’t expect any delays, we encourage you to check back here for the most up to date information.

I loved the planetarium just like it was – why the change?
We loved it too, and the current technology served us and our guests well for many years! The museum’s current star projector, a Kinoca Minolta, was first installed in 1978. Replacement parts for the star projector, as well as the slide projectors that accompany it, are becoming increasingly hard – and in some cases completely impossible – to find. As a result, we’ve have numerous unplanned closures of the planetarium over the last several years. We want to give you a consistently high-quality experience that you can count on. In order to do that, the space has to be renovated and the equipment must be upgraded.

What will be different about the new system?
More than you can imagine! Our planetarium educators will continue offering their incredible live shows, but those shows will include high-resolution images and animation. With real-time access to various astronomical educational databases, they’ll be able to bring you the latest discoveries as they happen and take you forward and backward in time.

Ever wondered what the view is like from Mars? We’ll be able to go there! Curious about what the sky looked like 2,000 years ago? Let’s see! Shows will be more customizable than ever before — in fact, to get an experience like what SMO will offer, you’d have to travel to planetariums in Denver or Chicago. There is truly nothing else like what we will have in the state or even the region.

Will there be more showtimes?
Yes! We currently offer 3-4 shows per day. While a new show schedule hasn’t been finalized, we expect to offer as many as 6-7 shows per day.

Will there be an extra charge for shows?
No. Shows in the Kirkpatrick Planetarium will continue to be included with your general admission.

How can I learn more about supporting the Kirkpatrick Planetarium project?
We'd love your support! Learn more about supporting the museum, or email to learn about how you or your business can support renovation of the planetarium.