(Colorado Springs, CO) A hidden gem on the United States Air Force Academy campus is the Planetarium and STEM Center. This facility is open to the public and offers free, full-length movies and live shows that are fun for all ages and interests.
The planetarium, constructed in 1959, was used to teach celestial navigation classes to the cadets. With technological advances, the cadets no longer needed these courses, and the planetarium was closed in 2004.
For fifteen years, the building was vacant, but with support from Academy leaders and the help of generous donors, the planetarium reopened to the public on March 4, 2019. Read more about the history here.
Although the planetarium had to close again during the COVID pandemic, it is open now and welcoming guests. The facility is part of the United States Air Force Academy's Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) outreach program and is free for all.
The 100-seat planetarium has theater-style reclining chairs that offer a full-dome viewing experience. The movies and live shows run most weeks on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (excluding holidays and graduation). The movies are shown at noon and 4:00 p.m. with a live presentation at 1:30 p.m.
The current movies are:
- Apollo 11
- Superpower Dogs
- Great Bear Rain Forest
- Volcanoes: The Fire of Creation
- Humpback Whales
- Eclipses and the Phases of the Moon
- Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag
- Experience the Aurora
- Flight Adventures
- Dream Big: Engineering Our World
- Two Small Pieces of Glass
- Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity
Go here for more information including movie summaries, running times, and show dates.
Seats are limited, and it is best to arrive early to secure your spot. There is no food or drink allowed in the planetarium.
Don't miss this one-of-a-kind experience in a historic building on the beautiful Air Force Academy campus. It is worth the drive.
Location: 2120 Cadet Drive, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs (use this map instead of entering the address into a GPS. The GPS directions will take you to the wrong location.) Allow 10-15 minutes to drive to the facility after entering through the Academy's North Gate.
To enter the United States Air Force Academy, visitors need a driver's license or military I.D. and proof of vehicle insurance.
Please follow me for local, low-cost activities the entire family can enjoy.