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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. 


List of Shows

Kaluoka'hina

Dates: May 11 – September 2

Times: Check the calendar.

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

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.

Summer Fulldome Series

Dates: June 18 – September 1. Check the calendar.

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

Every week during the summer a different full-dome planetarium program will be featured. This program will run Tuesday – Sunday at 3:30pm. Mondays the 3:30pm show will be Virginia Skies.

June 18- 23: Habitat Earth
Discover what it means to live in today’s connected world. Through stunning visualizations of the natural world, dive below the ocean’s surface to explore the dynamic relationships found in kelp forest ecosystems, travel beneath the forest floor to see how Earth’s tallest trees rely on tiny fungi to survive, and journey to new heights to witness the intricate intersection between human and ecological networks.

June 25- 30: 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 to teach young children about nature, climate change — and a little astronomy.

July 2-7: Spirit of America (laser show)
Spirit of America mixes great patriotic music with America-inspired rock & roll and songs that have defined American music. Rock on to great artists like John Fogerty, Garth Brooks, Lee Greenwood and so many, many more.

July 9-14: Expedition Reef
Embark on a journey into the hidden world of coral reefs in this all-digital planetarium show exploring some of our planet’s most biodiverse—and critically threatened—ecosystems.

July 16- 21: We Choose Space!
Astronauts Scott Parazinsky, Tom Jones, Gene Cernan, and veteran space reporter Walter Cronkite are your tour guides on this adventure to the International Space Station and to the past and future moon.

July 23- 28: Life: A Cosmic Story (narrated by Jodie Foster)
Take a high-speed ride through the 14-billion-year saga of how we came to be. It’s a journey from the microscopic view inside a plant cell to the vastness of our universe populated by billions of galaxies swirling in space.

July 30- August 4: 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. Imagine zip lining on the scorched Mercury or snowmobiling when it really snows on Pluto. Bungee jumping into outer space from an asteroid is like low-g diving from the tallest cliff or rappelling into deepest canyon in the solar system. Without gravity’s strong pull, you can glide over the hydrocarbon lakes of Titan, jet-pack in a geyser’s spray on Triton, or even drive a monster truck along a steep lunar crater wall.

August 6- 11: Incoming! (narrated by George Takei)
Explore the past, present, and future of our Solar System and the landmark discoveries scientists have made sending spacecraft to visit tiny worlds.

August 13- 18: Planet Nine
Follow Mike Brown and his team at CalTech as they discover evidence of a Juiper Belt object 10 times more massive than Earth, and embark on the search for a new ninth planet far beyond the orbit of Neptune.

August 20- 25: Fragile Planet (narrated by Sigourney Weaver)
Leave Planet Earth behind as you fly to the farthest reaches of the Universe. Float up through Earth’s atmosphere, and gain an astronaut’s view of your home — the only planet currently known to support life. Then travel to the Moon, Mars, and even beyond the Milky Way to search for habitats that might support extraterrestrial life.

August 27-September 1: Larry Cat in Space
Take off on a lunar adventure with a curious stowaway cat! A delightful cartoon feature for children of all ages!

Astronaut

Dates: May 1-10, May 25 – September 2 (not showing August 10). Check the calendar.

Times: 12:30pm

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

The exploration of space is the greatest endeavor that humankind has ever undertaken. What does it take to be part of this incredible journey? What does it take to become an astronaut?

Astronaut, the latest immersive planetarium show to be created by the National Space Center, takes you from Earth into space… and beyond.

Experience a rocket launch from inside the body of an astronaut. Explore the amazing worlds of inner and outer space, from floating around the International Space Station to maneuvering through microscopic regions of the human body. Discover the perils that lurk in space as we subject ‘Chad’, our test astronaut, to everything that space has to throw at him.

Presented in stunning high definition 360 degree Full dome video and explosive surround sound, Astronaut is an experience like nothing on Earth.

A Giant Leap: Exploration Beyond the Moon

March 2 – September 2: 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

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.

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Special Thanks to the British Fulldome Institute for the use of planetarium shows and clips.