New Planetarium to Open at Discovery Place Nature on Saturday, January 14, 2017

Discovery Place Nature

Discovery Place is over the moon to announce a new digital planetarium will open at Discovery Place Nature on Saturday, January 14, 2017, offering shows every hour on the hour from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. for the grand opening.

The new digital planetarium is housed in the Museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium. The dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium® Zeta Portable planetarium system which projects images of stars, planets, and constellations to simulate the night sky.

The Museum will offer two types of planetarium experiences: multimedia video presentations and seasonal star shows. Multimedia shows are full-dome video adventures that explore astronomy topics such as moon landings, space travel, solar phenomena and the inner workings of the telescope through narrated CGI and animated stories. Seasonal star shows will take you on a narrated tour of the Queen City sky in winter, spring summer or fall. Learn to identify stars, planets, and constellations visible to the naked eye and how to orient yourself using celestial guideposts.

Groups and classes can also book live star show experiences that are presented by a Discovery Place Nature educator to explore the stars, planets and other celestial bodies in the night sky. For example, the class Charlotte Stars and Stories allows students to experience traditional stargazing, learn how to find constellations and hear ancient stories about the sky.

"Gone are the days of analog star projectors with accompanying slide shows," said Kaylan Petrie, Director of STEM experiences for Discovery Place. "With digital domes, you can expect a visually stimulating star experience with simulations of flying to the moon, experiencing constellations from various cultures and observing our galaxy from the outside in."

The new digital planetarium is Discovery Place Nature's second planetarium experience. The original planetarium was built in 1964 to house a small star ball planetarium projector that was donated to the Museum. It was decommissioned in the 1980s and later transformed into the Nature Dome to accommodate Grandpa Tree, an animatronic talking tree that shared stories with children about local wildlife.

Starting Saturday, January 14, 2017, guests can enjoy daily planetarium shows at Discovery Place Nature. During the grand opening celebration, Discovery Place Nature will show Winter Sky and the multimedia film Back to the Moon for Good at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., noon, 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Each show runs approximately 15-25 minutes for up to 45 guests per viewing. Planetarium shows are included with Museum admission and are ideal for families with children Grades K – 5. Bench and floor seating are available around the dome. All planetarium shows are first come, first serve. For a full planetarium show schedule, see below:

Normal Operating Show Schedule (January – May 2017)

Mondays: Closed

Tuesdays – Fridays: 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m

Saturdays: 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 3:30 p.m.

Sundays: 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. 

Admission to Discovery Place Nature is $8 per person and free for Members and children younger than 2, plus any sales and use tax. Guests may purchase tickets online at, via phone at 704.372.6261 x300 or in person at the Museum.

About Discovery Place Nature
Founded in 1946 as the Children's Nature Museum, Discovery Place Nature has been a staple in Charlotte's education and cultural community for 70 years. The Museum conjures curiosity and activates the imagination through educational experiences that help us connect to the natural world. Guests can walk among free-flying butterflies in Butterfly Pavilion, encourage imaginative play in Fort Wild – an outdoor in a creative environment, take a family trek through the 100-year-old trees on the Paw Paw Nature Trail and explore the stars in the new digital planetarium. For more information, visit or call 704.372.6261 x300.

About Discovery Place
Discovery Place provides ever-changing, entertaining facilities that engage people in the active exploration of science, technology, and nature. Through four distinct museum experiences at Discovery Place Science, Discovery Place Nature and Discovery Place Kids, interactive educational programming, professional development training, and community outreach initiatives, Discovery Place has been able to provide the Carolinas with top ranking STEM education for 70 years.

For more information about Discovery Place, call 704.372.6261 x300, visit or connect with Discovery Place on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Discovery Place is supported, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council.


  • Discovery Place Nature
  • 1658 Sterling Road
  • Charlotte, NC 28209


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