Public Sky Shows

  • Inside the Planetarium

    The U-46 Planetarium is a classroom that students visit daily for an astronomy lesson at their grade level. The building is utilized full time during the (typical) school year for scheduled U-46 classes. There are no weekend or evening public hours. 

    We occasionally open the doors of the ENWC Observatory and Elgin School District U-46 Planetarium on select evenings for the general public. The shows last about one hour and include time looking at the current sky and history of the entire building. An astronomical topic is also explored through lectures, imagery and/or a full dome video presentation.  The public is welcome at all shows, but the theme for each show may dictate an age range that is the most appropriate. The theme for each show is included on the flier for that particular show.

    An optional self-guided tour of the building is available for anyone interested before the start of the public shows. The observatory dome housing the transit telescope has stairs (no elevator) to access it. It is not necessary to visit the upstairs observatory to enjoy the planetarium show in the chamber that is wheelchair accessible.

    Two identical shows are presented at 4:30 p.m. and the other at 6:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted on the flyer.

    • Admission* is $2 per person  or $10 maximum for a family. Cash or check only, no credit cards please. The Eclipse 2024 shows will be *free of charge! Safe Sun viewing glasses will be available for purchase all year. 
    • Visitors are welcome to park in the free public lot  at the corner of National and Raymond Streets on the other side of the block from the Observatory/Planetarium. There is an accessible ramp to the building. Please call with questions about accessible parking. There is no parking on Watch Street. The Aperion Care Center is not a public lot or owned by U-46. 
    • Seating for the shows is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. No reservations. Come early and walk through the building on a self-guided tour!

    2023-24 School Year Shows are completed for this school year. Have a great summer

    Check back here in September 2024 for updated show dates

    Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023 - 60th Anniversary of the Planetarium and Spooky Space

    Monday, Jan. 22, 2023 - Constellations, Connections to Earth and Sky

    Thursday, March 7, 2023 - Eclipse 2024!

    Tuesday, March 12, 2023 - Eclipse 2024!

    Thursday, March 21, 2023 - Eclipse 2024!

    Tuesday, April 2, 2023 - Eclipse 2024!

    Friday, May 10, 2023 *Note date changed from 5/3 - History of ENWC Observatory and Planetarium

    Open Elgin Date - TBA