(Colorado Springs, CO) A wonderful gem on the United States Air Force Academy campus is the Planetarium and STEM Center which offers free movies and live shows to the public.
The planetarium was built in 1959 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 in March 2019.
It was open for a year and closed again in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. Thankfully, the 100-seat planetarium with theater-style reclining chairs opened again to the public this spring.
The venue recently published new hours for September 2022, and the facility now requires reservations for Saturday shows. There are four daily shows on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 12:30, 1:30, 3:00, and 4:00 p.m.
The facility is closed on Saturdays with an Air Force Academy home football game (September 3 and 10), and the remaining Saturdays (September 17 and 24) require advanced registration for each show. You can find the schedule and make your free Saturday reservation here.
September films include:
- 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
- Dream Big: Engineering Our World
- Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity
- Forward to the Moon
- Oasis in Space
September live shows with the planetarium's astronomer are:
- Night Sky and Universe Tour
- Night Sky and Solar System Tour
Planetarium 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 the Academy's north gate.
Visitors need a driver's license or military I.D. and proof of vehicle insurance to enter the United States Air Force Academy.
After the planetarium, visit the nearby Barry Goldwater Visitor Center (2346 Academy Drive). The venue has free admission and offers an insightful look into the life of an Air Force Academy cadet. There is a mock dorm room, uniforms, memorabilia, and information placards explaining cadet responsibilities and expectations each year of their training.
The center also has an interesting 21-minute film about cadet life that plays every thirty minutes.
I'll see you there!
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