Best Planetariums in Southeast Michigan | Family Fun
Discover the best out-of-this-world family entertainment at a bevy of local star gazing spots in metro Detroit, Ann Arbor and beyond
Recently, I asked my 6-year-old if she could pick any family activity what would it be? Without thinking, she answered, "Look at the stars." Even though I'd be hard-pressed to pick out Cassiopeia, Taurus or any other constellation that wasn't spoon-shaped, my daughter still wanted to gaze at the stars with me. Maybe that's because looking up at the sparkling lights of stars and galaxies millions and millions of miles away just feels magical. And while we recommend stargazing outside on a regular basis, sometimes it's nice to go to a local planetarium, which offers an out-of-this-world glimpse and bird's eye view of the stars, planets and wondrous solar system.
Planetariums offer visitors a chance to step inside a domed room that mimics the night sky. They should not to be confused with observatories, which are large, high-powered telescopes that give viewers an up-close look at the cosmos. These planetariums offer public shows.
Detroit Science Center
5020 John R St.
A popular planetarium in downtown Detroit, Dassault boasts a 50-foot wide, three-story dome to feature shows like "What's Up?," a guide to the night sky and "Secret of the Cardboard Rocket," a kid-friendly "trip" through our galaxy and beyond. Planetarium shows, plus one IMAX feature, are included with the general museum admission prices, which are $13.95 for adults and $11.95 for children. Check their website for show schedules
39221 Woodward Ave.
Look for shows that cater to young audiences like the "Young Stargazers Sky Journal," "One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure," and "Michigan Sky Tonight," which, just as the title suggests, gives you a great view of our own sky that evening. Through Sept. 5, the planetarium programs run daily, every hour from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. On Fridays, they offer additional showtimes every hour from 7 to 9 p.m. Check their website for the specific show schedule. Tickets cost $4 on top of the admission price to the museum, which is $9 for adults and $7 for children ages 2-17.
Morris Adler Elementary School
19100 Filmore St.
734-968-3496 (Mike Best)
Public shows are offered seasonally, including the month of October. Shows begin at 7 p.m. and go for an hour and a half on the 2nd, 9th, 16th and 30th. Prices are $7 for Southfield residents and $7.50 for nonresidents. The planetarium is also available any time for private parties (even birthdays), $5 per person with a $90 minimum.
0209 Old Main Building
Wayne State University, 4841 Cass Ave., Detroit
313-577-7816 (Jeff Conn)
The planetarium, which is used primarily for astrology students at the university, also offers public shows Friday nights. The shows are free until Sept. 1, so hurry over and check out their recently upgraded projector.
1310 E Kearsley St., Flint
You'll find traditional stargazing presentations at this extensive planetarium – along with Friday night laser and rock shows. You can also contact the planetarium about stargazing parties where amateur and wannabe astronomers set up telescopes just before sunset. Check their website for more information and show times. Tickets are $5 for adults, $4 for children ages 3-11. Rock shows are $5 per show or $8 if you'd like to watch two shows back-to-back.