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! Adults are charged $2 and children $1.
Back to the Moon—
Sundays, 3 p.m.
Sept. 28-Nov. 16
We’re finally going back to the Moon!
This is not science fiction: it’s happening now. Teams from around the world (including one from Penn State) are competing for the multi-million-dollar Google Lunar X Prize, to be awarded in 2015 to the first non-governmental organization to land on the Moon, travel 500 meters, and send back high-resolution visual proof of the accomplishment.
The dome-show, narrated by actor Tim Allen, introduces us to the hundreds of men and women who are involved in this exciting contest. The benefits of exploring and utilizing this new world, the valuable resources waiting to be tapped, and the unsolved mysteries still to be solved will all be portrayed in the powerful immersive visual environment of the SciDome theater. We’ll also venture forward in time to view the future history of humans on the Moon.
Come join us on a voyage to our sister world!
Back to the Moon is watchable by children six years of age and older (see item 3 below).
FAMILY SHOW: Earth, Moon, and Sun
Sunday, Oct. 5, 2 p.m.
(See the "Family Shows" notice at the top of the page). This show explains these three bodies, their interrelationships, and what it all looks like from Earth and also from space. Day and night, seasons, eclipses, sundials... all are shown in easy-to-understand and entertaining animations. Good ole' Coyote does his best to teach us (wait until you see him make the Earth spin faster!), but fortunately our friendly narrator is able to correct all his misconceptions. Legends from Native Americans offer a view from the past and from a different viewpoint. The show concludes with a brief view of the Apollo program, and what it might be like living on the Moon in the future. This is our current offering for third- and fourth-grade field trips (but your children will enjoy seeing it twice if they do pay us another visit!).
FAMILY SHOW: Perfect Little Planet
Sunday, Nov. 2, 2 p.m.
Imagine the ultimate space vacation! What if you could travel the galaxy to find that ideal place? Discover our solar system through a new set of eyes – a family from another star system seeking the perfect vacation spot. Fly over the surface of Pluto, our best known Dwarf Planet. Dive over the ice cliffs of Miranda. Sail through the rings of Saturn. Feel the lightning storms at Jupiter. And walk on the surface of Mars. Which destination would you choose? This is the solar system journey for space travelers of all ages.
Season of Light
Saturdays, 7 p.m.
Sundays, 3 p.m.
Nov. 30-Dec. 14
Our traditional winter holiday show portrays how humans deal with and even celebrate the frigid nights of this dark season by illuminating them in creative ways. Noah Adams (of NPR fame) will explain the origins of the familiar holiday customs, why the winter night are so long and dark, and what the mysterious “Star of Bethlehem” might have been.
“Season” utilizes all the capabilities of our SciDome digital projection system to advantage. It’s visually rich and musically entertaining. “Season” is a great way to warm up those cold weekend nights!
Due to the show’s popularity, extra performances have been added. “Season of Light” will play Saturday nights at 7 p.m., and Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m., through December 14. Tickets go on sale half an hour before showtime
This show is watchable by children six years of age and older (see item 3 below).
FAMILY SHOW: The Alien
Who Stole Christmas
Sunday, Dec. 7, 2:00 p.m.
Earth children are not the only ones who might enjoy Christmas! In this show, an alien named Mr. Freep kidnaps Santa Claus, and takes him on a tour of our solar system in his flying saucer to show him how alien children would like to enjoy a visit from the Jolly Old Elf as well! "AWSC" adds new verses -- and new worlds! -- to Clement Moore's familiar classic "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (aka "The Night Before Christmas"). Never fear: Santa returns in plenty of time to complete his round-the-world trip, but he's also making plans to add some new planets to his itinerary!
Admission fees for regular public shows:
$3 Rowan students with ID
$3 Seniors over 60
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.
Coming from the east on Route 322 is easier: you're allowed to turn directly into Lot A, at the far end of the campus when traveling in this direction.
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!