Public Sky Shows

  • 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 Elgin National Watch Company and Elgin School District U-46 Planetarium on select evenings for the general public. The shows last about one hour and includes time looking at the the current sky and a history of the entire building. An astronomical topic is also explored through lecture, 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 be most appropriate. The theme for each show is included on the flier for that particular show.

    Public events are temporarily halted. Check back for updated information.

    An optional self-guided tour of the building is available to 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 6:30 p.m. unless oterhwise noted on the flyer.

    • Cost of admission for the public shows is $3 or $10 maximum for a family of four or more. Cash or check only, no credit cards please.
    • Visitors are welcome to park in the free public lot one block away from the Observatory/Planetarium at the corner of National and Raymond Streets. There is an accessible ramp to the building. Please call with questions about handicapped parking. There is no parking on Watch St. 
    • Seating for the shows is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. We do not take reservations for the public shows.

    Recent/Upcoming Shows

    Public programming is temporarily halted due to Covid restrictions. Check back here for updates on re-opening. 

    Last updated 8/25/21