Join us on FacebookAboutDirectionsTeachers
Galaxy Club


Parkland Staerkel Planetarium photo
We offer various educational programs for school field trips, Scout troops, day care groups, park recreation, civic groups, and others.

Our World of Science lectures provides a monthly forum in which a local scientist discusses his or her specialties.

Enjoy weekend public Planetarium shows for residents of all ages. Explore this website for descriptions of our current shows. Contact us at See our calendar for what's playing.  The 2016-2017 "World of Science" lecture has been finalized. See the line-up of speakers here.



See our calendar for a full schedule. You don't need a reservation - all tickets are sold at the door!  Our summer matinees are now over and we return to Friday/Saturday night programming.   Be sure to check our calendar for a line-up of public programs!  Visit us at Parkland College, celebrating its 50th anniversary year!     

Traditional "Live" planetarium at its best! "Prairie Skies" Friday nights at 7pm

Take a live tour of the current night sky (and not have to swat mosquitoes)! Learn how to find the current constellations and planets, plus hear a few of the legendary stories featuring the imaginary figures above us!  The autumn version of the show begins September 23.   




Opens September 9 . . . ."Solar Superstorms!" 

A fury is building on the surface of the Sun - high velocity jets, fiery tsunami waves reaching 100,000 km high, and rising loops of electrified gas. What is driving these strange phenomena and will they affect Earth? Find out in this new production, featuring scientific visualizations from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) on the UIUC campus. Peer into the Sun using the latest scientific data.  Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch.   This show is sponsored by SuperValu.   We'll show the program as part of the Pygmalion Festival on September 20 at 7pm. 







For the kids . . . . . ."Solar System Safari," Saturdays at 7pm


A jungle adventurer uses a magical camera to take visitors on an exciting safari through the Solar System. The Sun, Moon, planets, and dwarf planets come to life, taking on unique personalities and describing their own characteristics and eccentricities. Learn about the planets, dwarf planets, asteroids and more! Tickets are $6 adults, $5 students/seniors/kids, sold at the door.





Coming this fall . . . . . .the return of music in the dome! 

Laser shows will return to the planetarium dome for the weekends just before and just after Halloween.   Look at the calendar section for a full schedule (but you can bet Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wall" will be in the line-up!).  We will also offer two "Fright Night" laser shows at 7pm and 8pm on Halloween night, plus two family-friendly educational laser programs about legends of the night sky on October 29 and November 5 at 7pm.     Listen to win laser tickets on Rewind 92.5


We have also acquired two Pink Floyd fulldome shows (which is not a laser show) from Starlight Productions that we'll run one weekend a month.   Again, check the calendar section.  










Dr. Peter Abbamonte (UIUC Physics) will be our first "World of Science" speaker, October 7 

Even if you like sausage, do you want to know what’s really in it? Same with science! You may not want to know how it really works. But UIUC physicist Peter Abbamonte will take us through the process and how his team took the fastest movies ever made!  Hear "How Laws, Sausages and Science Are Made: An Inside View of How Science Really Works" on October 7 at 7pm.  Admission is $2 at the door. 









See the Goose Kaler Meteorite Collection now on display in our lobby

On loan from the Kaler family, the meteorite collection contains samples from Canyon Diablo, Esquel (Argentina), Gibeon (Namibia), and Sikhote-Alin (Siberia). The "monster" of the collection is a 16 kilogram iron meteorite that you can touch. A brochure containing background information on the samples can be picked up in our lobby or you can download one here.


The Artemis Bridge Simulator returns to the dome on November 12!


Ever wanted to command your own starship?   Thanks to Deane Geiken (WPCD radio), the Starship Artemis returns!   Teams of six can register to perform tasks on the bridge, such as Weapons control, Science, Helm, Engineering, Communications, and of course Captain.  Teams work together to defeat the game.  The cost is $10 per person or $50 for a team of six to play in a two-hour time slot.  Two slots are filled already - we have 11-1pm and 1-3pm available.   Instruction on how to play the game will be provided.   Team members ages 13 and over please.  Advanced registration is required!   To register, call 351-2568 between 8am and 5pm. You can also watch for $2 a person. 





Interested in sponsoring one of our new seats? 


The planetarium is beginning a program where individuals or companies may sponsor one of our new seats for that special someone.   The one-time, tax deductible $400 sponsorship will result in a plaque permanently affixed to the seat of your choice, plus we'll recognize donors online. Funds will be deposited in the planetarium's unrestricted foundation account and will go to support future planetarium programming.  For information, call or email Dave Leake at 217/351-2567.