Spend an afternoon under the stars at University of Michigan’s planetarium in Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History. (U-M Museum of Natural History)

ANN ARBOR – Did you know that the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History is home to a state-of-the-art planetarium?

Visitors can enjoy being transported into outer space, jungles in Central America and underwater worlds at its Dome Theater Friday through Saturday.

Tickets are $8 and can be purchased same day at the Museum Store.

The planetarium is currently operating at 50% capacity to ensure proper distancing between guests.

Here are the three shows now on view at the planetarium, with descriptions from the museum’s website:

Expedition Reef

Learn the secrets of the “rainforests of the sea” as you embark on an oceanic safari of the world’s most vibrant—and endangered—marine ecosystems. Expedition Reef immerses you in an undersea adventure. Along the way, discover how corals grow, feed, reproduce, and support over 25% of all marine life on Earth.

Sky Tonight

A live presentation on what to find in the sky tonight and for the coming few weeks. This presentation includes how to find the cardinal directions on your own by finding the North Star, current and upcoming constellations, visible planets, a few deep sky objects depending on the season, and other interesting astronomical visualizations. If you want to be able to look up from your own backyard and know what to look for, this is the show for you.

Tales of the Maya Skies

Tales of the Maya Skies immerses viewers in the wonders of Maya science, cosmology and myth. This beautifully illustrated story takes us back in time to the jungles of Mexico to discover how Mayan scholars developed a sophisticated understanding of astronomy, architecture, and mathematics that enabled them to predict solstices, solar eclipses, weather patterns and planetary movements.

August showtimes (daily)

  • 12:30 p.m. Expedition Reef
  • 1:30 p.m. Sky Tonight
  • 2:30 p.m. Tales of the Maya Skies
  • 3:30 p.m. Sky Tonight

September showtimes (Friday-Sunday)

  • 11:30 a.m. Expedition Reef
  • 12:30 p.m. Sky Tonight
  • 1:30 p.m. Tales of the Maya Skies
  • 2:30 p.m. Sky Tonight

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the planetarium will be screening three shows in Spanish on Sept. 17.

These include:

  • 10:30 a.m. Tales of the Maya Skies – Spanish
  • 1:30 p.m. Tales of the Maya Skies – Spanish
  • 2:30 p.m. Sky Tonight – Spanish

The U-M Museum of Natural History is located at 1105 N. University Ave.

For more information, visit www.lsa.umich.edu/ummnh.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.