The Arlington Planetarium is a free-standing planetarium providing educational programing, much of which is for children. Public shows range from movies about black holes to a monthly program on “The Stars Tonight,” which includes a look at what the sky will look like throughout the month and a trip outside to look through a telescope weather permitting. The complete schedule, which rotates, can be found on the planetarium’s website.
We recently went to see the very popular Magic Treehouse: Space Mission, which runs about 35 minutes. The show follows Magic Treehouse stars Jack and Annie as they answer questions left in a note for them signed by “M.” Their journey takes them to meet an astronomer, an astronaut, and into space. Fans of the Magic Treehouse book series should know that the planetarium show does not follow the plot of the Magic Treehouse space book and, aside from a couple of pictures at the beginning, viewers do not see Jack and Annie but only hear their voices.
Nevertheless, the Magic Treehouse show makes questions about space very accessible to even very young viewers and my little Magic Treehouse fans were excited to join in on a mission. My three and six year olds both enjoyed the movie and the surprise ending in which it is revealed that “M” is the author of the Magic Treehouse books, Mary Pope Osborne who makes a special appearance. A staff member was on hand after the show to answer the many questions children had about space and stars after the show.
The planetarium is small and is only open when shows are scheduled. Doors open 15 minutes before show time. Because the planetarium is small with 58 seats, we recommend getting there about 10 to 15 minutes before your show is scheduled to begin to ensure getting a seat. There is plenty of free parking outside of the planetarium. There is not much room for strollers so we recommend leaving them behind if possible, although if you absolutely must take yours inside you can find a place for it. There are bathrooms inside the planetarium but no changing tables. The price is $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for children 12 and under. Cash only is accepted.
Photo courtesy of the Friends of Arlington’s Planetarium website.