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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

From Earth to the Universe

January 2 – February 28: Saturday and Sunday at 1:30pm, some days and times vary. Check at the Admissions Desk.

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

The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe for as long as there have been people. A desire to comprehend the Universe may well be humanity’s oldest shared intellectual experience. Yet only recently have we truly begun to grasp our place in the vast cosmos. To learn about this journey of celestial discovery, from the theories of the ancient Greek astronomers to today’s grandest telescopes, we invite you to experience From Earth to the Universe.

This stunning, 30-minute voyage through space and time conveys, through sparkling sights and sounds, the Universe revealed to us by science. Viewers can revel in the splendour of the worlds in the Solar System and our scorching Sun. From Earth to the Universe takes the audience out to the colourful birthplaces and burial grounds of stars, and still further out beyond the Milky Way to the unimaginable immensity of a myriad galaxies. Along the way, the audience will learn about the history of astronomy, the invention of the telescope, and today’s giant telescopes that allow us to probe ever deeper into the Universe.

Recommended: ages 10 and above.

The Zula Patrol: Down to Earth

January 18 – April 30, daily at 12:30pm
Feb. 29 – April 30, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm
April 4-7, daily at 2:30pm
Some days and times vary. Check at the Admissions Desk.

While on a routine fossil-hunting expedition, The Zula Patrol turns up evidence that the villainous Deliria Delight has been travelling back in time to Earth’s prehistoric past to illegally dump her company’s toxic trash. The Zula Patrollers must find and catch her, before her actions cause catastrophic consequences. In the process, our heroes learn all about the formation and development of Earth, and the life forms who call it home. There’s even a cameo by everyone’s favorite dinosaur, T. rex!

Follow the Drinking Gourd

Saturdays in February at 4:30pm

Cost: Admission free, does not include admission to the Museum.

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.

Preschool Pals

Date: Mornings, January 20 – March 31  Check at the Admissions Desk.

Time: Monday 11:30am, Tuesday – Thursday 10:30am

LOTNS: Orion logoJanuary 20-23: Legends of the Night Sky: Orion
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.

January 27-30: 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!

February 3-6: Legends of the Night Sky: Perseus 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.

February 10-13: Larry Cat in Space 
Take off on a lunar adventure with a curious stowaway cat! A delightful cartoon feature for children of all ages!

February 17-20: 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.

February 24-27: 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.

March 2-5: 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.

March 9-12: 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!

March 16-19: Legends of the Night Sky: Orion
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.

March 23-26: Larry Cat in Space
Take off on a lunar adventure with a curious stowaway cat! A delightful cartoon feature for children of all ages!

March 30 – April 2: Legends of the Night Sky: Perseus 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.

April 20-23: 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!

April 27-30: 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.

Virginia Skies

Ongoing: days and times vary. Check at the Admissions Desk.

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.