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10+ Planetariums With Public Programs for Star-Gazing

Do you have a budding astronomer in your family? Does celestial navigation and gazing at the night sky sound like something your children would love? With an abundance of local options for planetarium visits and program offerings, studying the stars, planets, and the sky has never been more exciting! Check out the following list of planetariums and other opportunities to entice, engage, and encourage the future astronomer in your family!

Observatory Park at The Turner Farm
925 Springvale Rd., Great Falls, VA 22066
Connect: Online | Facebook | (571) 214-7891

Permanently mounted telescopes allow for excellent sky gazing at the new Observatory Park at The Turner Farm! This roll-top observatory includes an Observation Room complete with three telescopes, a retractable roof, and an Orientation Room for educational programs. Observatory Park is open most Friday nights for public viewing and programs will officially begin in Spring 2017. For more information on future programs, visit Turner Farm or the Analemma Society.

The Observatory at George Mason University
10401 York River Rd., Fairfax, VA 22030
Connect: Online

Astronomy enthusiasts will love when the Observatory presents Evenings Under the Stars, a free event series open to the community. Each evening features a 30-minute presentation by a prominent local scientist, who wants to share their current research in an accessible way. After a brief opportunity for questions, and if the weather allows, guests will be escorted up to the roof for a look through the Observatory’s primary telescope.

Albert Einstein Planetarium at the National Air and Space Museum
600 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20560
Connect: Online | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | (202) 633-2214
See a photo review here.

Families can enjoy both pre-recorded and live presentations at the Albert Einstein Planetarium in DC! Shows are regularly scheduled throughout the day and week. Tickets are required for children ages 2 and up, however, please visit their website for additional information regarding pricing and free ticket availability for select shows.

David M. Brown Planetarium
1426 North Quincy St., Arlington, VA 22207
Connect: Online | (703) 228-6070

Run via Arlington Public Schools, The David M. Brown Planetarium provides a multitude of programs for public and school group viewing. During the school year, the planetarium shows programs for public viewing on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. For additional information, please visit the Friends of Arlington’s Planetarium.

Irene V. Hylton Planetarium
14051 Spriggs Rd., Woodbridge, VA 22193
Connect: Online | (703) 580-4000

The planetarium at CD Hylton Senior High School, also known as the Skydome Planetarium, contains a star projector capable of projecting 1,354 stars, the five visible eye planets, moon phasing, daily and yearly motion, the celestial coordinates, and other reference lines on a thirty-foot curved dome. Special effect projectors create solar and lunar eclipses, aurora display, meteor and meteor showers. Check back often for updated events, as the shows are breathtaking, hypnotic, and worth the drive.

Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory at the National Air and Space Museum
600 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20560
Connect: Online | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | (202) 633-2214
See a photo review here.

Take the kiddos to the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory to do some daytime gazing! Open from 12-3 pm Wednesday through Sunday, visitors can enjoy telescopic viewing alongside knowledgeable observatory staff. This public observatory also offers nighttime viewing a few times each month, weather permitting.

Closed in 2017 for renovations
Rock Creek Park Nature Center & Planetarium
5200 Glover Rd. NW, Washington, DC 20015
Connect: Online | (202) 895-6070

There are plenty of free programs for children and adults at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium, operated by the National Park Service. The Planetarium boasts weekly educational shows and opportunities for audiences of all ages, including Seasonal Night Sky, Exploring the Universe, and more. They use high-tech Spitz software to project the image of the night sky onto a large, dome-shaped ceiling and experienced rangers lead you on a journey of exploration into our solar system, galaxy, and beyond!

William M. Brish Planetarium
820 Commonwealth Ave., Hagerstown, MD 21740
Connect: Online | (301) 766-2898

Operated by the Washington County Public Schools System, the William M. Brish Planetarium shows programs for public viewing twice each month. The earlier shows are geared towards younger elementary-aged audiences, but please visit their website to check out all of the programs offered.

Allan C. Davis Planetarium at the Maryland Science Center
601 Light St., Baltimore, MD 21230
Connect: Online | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | (410) 685-2370

Enjoy a look at the stars and sky beneath the 50-foot dome of the Allan C. Davis Planetarium! Planetarium show pricing is included with the base admission to the center. Most Fridays, the public can enjoy free admission to The Observatory for evening stargazing through an Alvan Clark & Sons 8″ refracting telescope!

Arthur Storer Planetarium
600 Dares Beach Rd., Prince Frederick, MD 20678
Connect: Online | (410) 535-7339

Visitors of all ages can visit this Planetarium located on Calvert High School’s grounds. During the school year, learn about the night sky during free informational and educational sessions.

Banneker Planetarium
800 South Rolling Rd., Catonsville, MD 21228
Connect: Online | (443) 840-5939

Although its usage has been primarily for college courses, the Banneker Planetarium also offers shows to the public and school groups throughout the year! The planetarium’s Saturday Shows and Star Parties are free and open to the public.

Howard B. Owens Science Center
9601 Greenbelt Rd., Lanham, MD 20706
Connect: Online | (301) 918-8750

Operated by the Prince George’s County Public School System, the largest planetarium in Maryland offers a variety of shows for public viewing throughout the year. Families will enjoy these Friday evening shows focused on a range of topics.

Ausherman Planetarium
10 Madison St., Frederick, MD 21701
Connect: Online | (240) 236-2694

Located at the Earth and Space Science Laboratory, the Ausherman Planetarium has a 35-foot dome built to amaze and educate stargazers young and old! Not only does this Chronos Hybrid planetarium system model the night sky, but it also displays 360-degree movies.

Disclaimer/Terms: These opportunities are subject to last minute cancellations and changes that might not be reflected in this post. Please, always confirm by calling/clicking.

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