Support Your Local Planetarium

If you have attended one or more planetarium shows in our Koch Immersive Theater & Planetarium in the past five years, you know how great it is to have a planetarium in our community. It seems hard to believe that our super-cool planetarium had its fifth anniversary in February. But what’s not often remembered is that a planetarium has been part of our community for over sixty years.

 Prior to 1950 there were few planetaria (the plural form for planetarium) in the United States. You would find them in big cities, like Boston, New York, Chicago and Denver. It wasn’t until 1953 that then Museum Director Siegfried Weng saw to it that Evansville would receive its first planetarium. Primarily through the support and efforts of the West Side Nut Club, Indiana’s first planetarium was permanently installed at the Museum’s previous location at the old YWCA building on Second Street. 

 When the Museum built and opened at its present location here in Sunset Park in 1959, the planetarium made the move with the rest of our collections. The Koch Planetarium was upgraded with new projection equipment in 1974 and it remained a staple for educational programs through the early 2000s. By that decade, planetarium technology had dramatically advanced, leaving our presentation capability lacking.

 After a Capital Campaign in which many citizens, businesses and foundations contributed, the Museum opened its new front door in 2014, which included our Digistar ® powered domed theater featuring the world’s most advanced planetarium software. Up until that time there hadn’t been an innovation like it in the Tri-State since the opening of a commercial Imax® Theater at Showplace Cinemas. Today, our Koch Immersive Theater & Planetarium remains a relevant regional attraction, boasting the largest projection screen in the area. 

 As the Museum’s Director of Science Experiences, I’ve presented thousands of programs to over 100,000 visitors. When I turn on the stars, the reaction is always the same. Wow! While our previous planetaria might have been limited to viewing the sky only from the Earth at night, our Immersive Theater allows audiences to be surrounded by images of what it would be like to walk on the surface of Mars, fly past the moons of Jupiter, or view our galaxy from deep in space. Every single day we take our audiences to places no one has ever been before and through our planetarium shows and full-dome films, we tell a great story and our audience learn about space.

 We invite you to visit the Museum and the Koch Immersive Theater & Planetarium. Here’s a rundown of the seasonal astronomy programs and planetarium shows being presented this spring. Our current programs include two traditional planetarium shows and six immersive, giant screen movies. We present shows on the hour, every hour, and every day that we are open. Admission to the planetarium is included with entrance to the Museum, or tickets may be purchased separately. Come out and support your local planetarium.

For a list of current programs, please visit NOW PLAYING.