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Planetarium Shows

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 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. Tickets are available at the front desk.

The Abbitt Planetarium is open daily (except Sept. 3-27, 2019 when it is closed for annual maintenance). 


List of Shows

A Giant Leap: Exploration Beyond the Moon

September 28 – November 26: days and times vary. Check the calendar.

Cost: VLM members free, non-members $4 plus Museum admission.

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of humanity’s landing on the Moon in this multimedia planetarium presentation. This fulldome program, narrated by Tim Allen, looks back at the history of lunar exploration and then at some of the teams racing to land a robotic spacecraft on the moon and win the Google Lunar XPRIZE. See a successful launch, landing and tour of the lunar surface, and a visualization of a future settlement on the moon.

The show opens with the first era of space exploration in the late 1960s and early 1970s. See what that era of landers and orbiters taught us about our nearest neighbor including the discovery of the Moon’s origin, composition, structure and the accessibility of raw materials on its surface.

The Google Lunar XPRIZE is designed to democratize space and create new opportunities for eventual human and robotic presence on the Moon. See the engineering and innovation steps taken by the internationally distributed teams competing to land a spacecraft on the Moon and vie for additional prizes. The show highlights the human spirit of competition and collaboration as teams take on this audacious challenge. Who will win the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE? The audience is taken through a successful launch, landing and lunar surface travel. The show ends with a stunning glimpse of a plausible scenario for our future on the Moon.

Recommended: ages 10 and above.
Made possible by the X Prize Foundation

Preschool Pals

Date: Mornings, September 30 – November 16, November 18-26, December 1-20  Check the calendar.

Time: Monday 11:30 am, Tuesday – Thursday 9:45 am

 

September 30 – October 3: Larry Cat in Space 
Take off on a lunar adventure with a curious stowaway cat! A delightful cartoon feature for children of all ages!

October 7-10: Legends of the Night Sky:and Andromeda

The sky at night holds fascination for people of all ages. Join us in the Abbitt Planetarium for a look into the night sky and a fascinating retelling one of the classic Greek legends surrounding the constellations that can be found there. Perseus, one of the greatest heroes of Greek mythology, rescued the Ethiopian princess Andromeda from the sea monster. Children and adults alike will enjoy this delightful program.

October 14-17: Lars the Little Polar Bear
What happens when a frisky little polar bear named Lars ventures out on the first day of spring? He explores his Arctic home, meets new friends, and saves some endangered whales. Lars the Little Polar Bear is the beloved star of a children’s book “Little Polar Bear and the Whales” authored by Hans de Beer in 2008. It’s the perfect basis for a fulldome show to teach young children about nature, climate change — and a little astronomy.

October 21-24: Solar System Odyssey

“Solar System Odyssey” is a character-driven adventure set in the future, in a time when humans have depleted the resources of their home planet. A business tycoon recruits our hero, Jack Larson, on a mission to discover a new home for humans to colonize. The journey takes Jack, an important stowaway, and you on an exciting exploration of our cosmic neighborhood, including the icy rings of Saturn, Jupiter’s volcano-ridden moon Io and the sub-zero methane lakes of Saturn’s moon Titan. Can humans find another place to settle before the Earth becomes unlivable? And what will happen to our home planet?  Find out in this wild solar system adventure!

October 28-31: The Great Planet Adventures

With muscles and bones made on Earth, you’ll be a super star on the solar system’s low-gravity worlds. Explore our vision of space colonies on planets, moons, and asteroids — where and how we would live and how we would have fun!

November 4-7: The Friendly Stars
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.

November 11-14: CocomongCocomong: A Space Adventure planetarium show
Cocomong is very curious about space. But reading about space in books makes it seem so far away. That’s when Halley, a friendly alien, drops in! Halley has come to Earth all the way from Titan in order to protect the last remaining Star Gem from the evil Virus King. If Halley wants to find the other Star Gems and rescue his parents, then he needs the help of Cocomong and his friends! However, Halley’s home Titan is by Saturn which is really far away, even farther than Mars or Jupiter. Will they be able to make it all the way safe and sound? “I guess we won t know until we go. So, let s get on the spaceship and blast off!

November 18-21: Kaluoka’hina: The Enchanted Reef
Kaluoka-hinaThe vastness of our planet’s oceans guards unimaginable secrets. One of its most precious is “Kaluoka’hina”, the enchanted reef whose magic protects it against humans finding it. Kaluoka’hina’s colorful inhabitants have thus always lived in peace…until the volcano erupts, and the spell is broken.

Now it’s up to the young sawfish Jake and his paranoid pal Shorty to restore the magic of Kaluoka’hina. Their only lead: the ancient legend that tells of touching the moon. But how is a fish supposed to touch the moon? This is just one of the intriguing puzzles that Jake and Shorty have to solve on their most exciting adventure ever: the quest to save their beloved reef.

December 2-5: Larry Cat in Space
Take off on a lunar adventure with a curious stowaway cat! A delightful cartoon feature for children of all ages!

December 9-12: The Zula Patrol: Under the Weather
The stalwart heroes of The Zula Patrol are on an expedition collecting samples of weather for Multo’s research – using their loyal pet Gorga’s ability to collect and bottle all kinds of weather. When one member of The Zula Patrol inadvertently hurts Gorga’s feelings, he decides to leave Zula and find a planet in the Solar System on which to live. Interplanetary villain Dark Truder, along with his talking toupee, Traxie, takes advantage of the situation to trick Gorga into helping him take the weather from the Solar System planets – part of this latest nefarious scheme to rule the Universe (and find the legendary Kaboobie Ruby). The Zula Patrol discovers Dark Truder’s plan and goes after him – discovering all about weather in the process, both terrestrial and interplanetary.

December 16-19: Lars the Little Polar Bear
What happens when a frisky little polar bear named Lars ventures out on the first day of spring? He explores his Arctic home, meets new friends, and saves some endangered whales. Lars the Little Polar Bear is the beloved star of a children’s book “Little Polar Bear and the Whales” authored by Hans de Beer in 2008. It’s the perfect basis for a fulldome show to teach young children about nature, climate change — and a little astronomy.

Virginia Skies

Ongoing: days and times vary. Check the calendar.

Cost: VLM members free, non-members $4 plus Museum admission.

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.

Legends of the Night Sky: Orion

LOTNS: Orion logoDates: September 28 – November 16, November 18-26.

Times: Saturday and Sunday 1:30 pm

Check the calendar.

Cost: VLM members free, non-members $4 plus Museum admission.

Explore the evening sky and meet a friendly owl who spins a tale of the winter constellation Orion. Presented in dazzling laser lights, this is an exciting and often humorous version of the classic Greek legend of Orion.

Star of Wonder

Dates: November 27 – December 31 (Museum closed November 28, December 24 and 25)

Time: Days and times vary. Check the calendar.

Since 1965, we have journeyed in the footsteps of the Magi, seeking the identity of a mysterious star which foretold the coming of a king. Over the years, the scientific thinking has changed, archaeology has revealed new clues about the lands in which these events took place, and our understanding of who the Magi might have actually been has grown. The show was completely revised in 2008 to offer a truly immersive look at the journey of the Magi while examining the latest clues and seeking once more to understand the appearance of the Star of Bethlehem.

Our presentation of Star of Wonder: Mystery of the Christmas Star is made possible by E&S Spitz.

Recommended for ages 8 and up

Holiday Magic

Dates: November 27 – December 31 (Museum closed November 28, December 24 and 25)

Time: Days and times vary. Check the calendar.

Holiday Magic is a delightful celebration of the holiday season that the whole family will enjoy!  Featuring timeless classics and songs from the holiday specials we loved as kids, as well as modern holiday music, this show has something for everyone.  Ring in the holiday season with the most amazing light show in town!

Show Playlist

  • Joy to the World
  • The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
  • Jingle Bell Rock
  • The March of the Toy Soldiers
  • Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
  • We Three Kings of Orient Are
  • Snow Miser
  • Linus and Lucy
  • Up on the Housetop
  • White Christmas
  • The Russian Dance
  • Let it Snow
  • Winter Wonderland
  • Sleigh Ride
  • Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24
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Special Thanks to the British Fulldome Institute for the use of planetarium shows and clips.