Visit the planets, travel to a black hole, observe spinning galaxies or study the Earth from space in the Virginia Living Museum’s 71-seat Abbitt Planetarium Theater. Using our state-of-the-art digital full-screen projection system, we can recreate the many wonders of the universe, including the stars and constellations of the sky for any season of the year – all from the comfort of an armchair.
All daytime programs cost $4 plus Museum admission. VLM members are admitted free to day-time programs.
The Abbitt Planetarium is open:
Memorial Day through Labor Day: Daily
October through May: Wednesdays through Sundays and holiday Mondays
Planetarium is closed for annual maintenance in September
List of Shows
The Friendly Stars
January 2-May 14, Saturday and Sunday, 12:30pm
Recommended: ages 6 and under, accompanied by an adult
Introduce your little astronomer to the wonders of the sky with this gentle and interactive program for preschoolers. One of our staff astronomers, with some help from our friendly Sun character Sol and the chatty stars of the night sky, will guide you and your little ones on a journey from day to night and show you some of the exciting things you can find just by looking up. An excellent “first experience” program for children before coming on their first field trip with their kindergarten class.
January 4 through May 14: days and times vary. Check the calendar.
Explore the evening skies above Virginia in this classic planetarium presentation. A staff astronomer will discuss seasonal constellations as well as any planets visible. Additional topics may be explored depending on celestial happenings around the time of your visit.
The Future is Wild
January 14-May 14, Wednesday – Sunday, 1:30pm. Check calendar for additional showings.
Tyrannosaurus Rex…Velociraptors…Megalodon…the Earth’s past is filled with deadly predators on a fantastic scale. But what does the future hold? What hunters will stalk the planet in 5 million years? Or 100 million? Or even 200 million years in the future?
Based on a wildly successful international television series that has been broadcast in over 60 countries around the world, The Future is Wild will give you a glimpse at what might be the future of the animal kingdom on planet Earth. An international team of researchers has been looking into how animals and plants will change and evolve over the next 5 to 200 million years. And a team of over 100 animators and scholars has transformed their ideas into creatures that fly, walk and swim on the earth of the future. You’ve seen the past…now imagine the future! Produced in association with Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet and Evans and Sutherland Digital Theater.
Recommended: ages 8 and above.
Made possible by E&S Spitz
Follow the Drinking Gourd
“Follow the Drinking Gourd” takes us back to the days when freedom was nothing more than a dream for those held in slavery. Some looked for hope to a certain constellation with its bright shining star. The story is a poignant and inspiring tale of one African-American family’s desperate flight to freedom and how they used constellations to guide the way. The program is based on a children’s book, “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter. This production incorporates historical images from the local region, Winter’s original artwork and music by Lovey Williams into a timeless experience that can be enjoyed by all ages.
“Follow the Drinking Gourd” is shown on Saturdays in February free for the general public. No museum admission required. It is also available as a private show all year long. Great for family reunion groups.
Recommended: all ages
Special Thanks to the British Fulldome Institute for the use of planetarium shows and clips.