Note: each of the regular, adult full-dome movies described below is always preceded by a live presentation of the current night sky using the SciDome digital video projection system, with special focus on items pertaining to the movie that follows. A live presentation is generally not included in the family shows.
NEW: FAMILY SHOWS! Oftentimes, our regular public shows are not well-suited for familes with young children, since the movies are aimed basically at adults (see Planetarium Policy 3 at the bottom of this column). So we are bringing back a popular format from several years ago, the family show. Families with children 5-10 years of age will probably find these more suitable. They're listed below. These are shorter, about half an hour in length, and do not include a live presentation.
One final inducement for choosing the family shows: they're cheaper! Admission fees are only $2 for all attendees.
Passport to the Universe
Sundays, 3 p.m.
Jan. 18–March 15
Narrated by two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks, this full-dome movie treats the audience to realistic close-up views of star fields and planets, taking them on an exhilarating flight through a virtual re-creation of our universe, into the Orion Nebula, out of our galaxy, and deep into intergalactic space. After reaching the edges of our known universe, the tour takes a “virtual shortcut” back to Earth - in a free fall, headlong through a black hole. A production of the American Museum of Natural History.
FAMILY SHOW: The Zula Patrol: Under the Weather
Sunday, March 1, 2 p.m.
The stalwart heroes of the Zula Patrol are on an expedition collecting samples of weather for scientist Multo's research -- using their loyal pet Gorga's ability to collect and bottle all kinds of weather. But when the Zula gang inadvertently hurts Gorga's feelings, he decides to leave Zula and find another planet to live on. Interplanetary villain Dark Truder then tricks Gorga into stealing the weather from other planets - part of his latest nefarious scheme to rule the Universe. The ZPers find out and go after him - in the process learning all about weather, both terrestrial and interplanetary.
Characters in the Zula Patrol are from the PBS TV show. "Under the Weather is watchable by children 5 years old and older.
Sundays, 3 p.m.
March 22-May 17
This is a different kind of planetarium show! Natural Selection celebrates the 150th anniversary of the publication of “On the Origin of Species” and the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth.
We will join Darwin on his voyage with the HMS Beagle to the Galapagos Islands where he was inspired to develop his later theory of transmutation by natural selection.
From the comfort of Down House in Kent, Darwin himself will explain the mechanism of natural selection to the audience, and support it by showing many beautiful examples in nature.
The thrill of a scientific discovery, the adventure of science and the beauty of nature are central in this show.
FAMILY SHOW: One World, One Sky
Sunday, April 12, 2 p.m.
Young audience members will be thrilled when they find themselves on Sesame Street with their famous friends, Big Bird and Elmo. The fun begins when Elmo's friend, Hu Hu Zhu, visits from China and the three of them take the audience on an exciting journey of discovery to learn about the Sun, stars, and Big Dipper. Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu blast off on an imaginary trip to the Moon and when they return home to Earth everyone discovers that, no matter where we live, we all share the same sky.
FAMILY SHOW: The Little Star That Could
Sunday, May 3, 2 p.m.
An average star is born from a great cloud of gas and dust. We follow his journey through space, searching for planets and a name for himself. He encounters stars of all sizes and temperatures, including a hot blue star and the double stars Goldie and Sapphire, but none of them can give him any planets. Finally, the Milky Way speaks to him, and reveals where his planets have been hiding. His planets tell him all about themselves, and give him his special name (no, I'm not going to reveal it here: you'll have to come see the show!).
Admission fees for regular public shows:
$3 Rowan students with ID
$3 Seniors over 60
Admission fees for family shows:
$2 for everyone
Note: we do not accept credit cards, Rowan cards, or BoroBucks!
Tickets for all shows go on sale half an hour before the show. We do not sell advance tickets before that time, nor do we take reservations. We will sell up to six tickets to one person if others in her party are not present.
1. There is no late seating! After the show has started, we do not allow people to come in, for several reasons. (a) It's not safe: in the very dark environment, it's easy to stumble into equipment or chairs, possibly doing injury to you (and to the equipment!). (b) It's disruptive to those who are already seated, if latecomers speak to one another, make other noises, or stand up in the way of seated people. Often latecomers don't even realize the theater is already filled with people, and don't realize how disruptive they are being. (c) If a latecomer leaves the outer doors open, or turns on a flashlight or cell phone to light his way, it destroys the dark adaptation the seated audience has been going through for several minutes.
2. For the same reasons, the doors lock on the way out. If you must leave the theater for any reason, you won't be able to re-enter. Hey, the shows aren't THAT long! And the rest rooms are available before the show!
3. We strongly discourage attendance by children under five or six years of age. Such youngsters often do not react well to the dark planetarium environment and the theatrical nature of most shows. For many shows we don't recommend bringing children less than 8 or even 10 years old, though we will allow slightly younger visitors. We do a variety of shows for children on school field trips during the week: once a week we like to give adults a chance to see a show peacefullly!
We strongly suggest that, if your child is likely not to enjoy one of the adult shows, you consider bringing him or her to one of our new family shows instead.
4. We suggest you do not get up and walk around during a show, for the same reasons mentioned in number 1.
5. Please don't open any food or drink, including water. Our theater is one of the nicest-looking on the East Coast, and we want to keep it that way.
6. Like most theaters, we ask that you shut down your cell phone. In most theaters, the main problem is noise during the performance. In the planetarium, however, the problem is LIGHT! Cell phones cast light up onto the dome, destroying the illusion of the night sky we're trying to create. YOU won't notice it, because you're looking downwards; but your neighbors will get annoyed, probably at the planetarium presenter, when they see a moving blob of light on the dome.
7. The most important rule: you're not allowed to go to sleep during a show...
Science Hall is centrally located on the Rowan main campus, on the
north side of Rt. 322 between Savitz Hall and Westby Hall, across Meditation Walk from Robinson Hall. For a campus map,
Weekend parking is available in the large Lot A at the northwest end of the campus, along Route 322 (Muliica Hill Road). Coming from the east on 322, you can turn into Lot A, then get out and walk back to the southeast past Westby Hall to Science Hall. The planetarium entrance is on the "inside" wall, away from Route 322.
Coming from the west on Route 322, technically you cannot legally turn into Lot A (though there's usually little traffic on Sunday afternoons...). If you absolutely want to follow the rules, you should turn left at Bowe Blvd.; turn right into campus at the next turn, on North Campus Drive, before you pass the football field; then immediately turn right onto Chestnut Branch Road, following the sign for "Lot A," which will bring you into the north end of the large Parking Lot A. Go to the other end of the lot and park, then walk past Westby Hall to Science Hall.
Alternatively, you can park on the south side of Route 322 in the visitors' lot by Memorial Hall, then walk across the road to Science Hall.
There are now signs and maps on campus that can help you find the Science Hall and planetarium. But if you've not been here before, we suggest arriving fairly early to make sure you can find us!