Shows Available for Field Trips

  • We have shows appropriate for ages 4 and up.  In 2015, we added a full-dome projection system and now offer new shows in full-dome format.  The fill-dome shows are indicated by the designation "FD" in their titles.  The traditional shows are indicated the designation "TS" in their titles.  All of our programs last approximately 1 hour and include a tour of the current night sky. 

    Special shows can be arranged to meet the specific needs of your class or group.  Call 773-3183 and leave a message and the planetarium director will get back to you to discuss your special show request.

    Full-Length Features with Descriptions:

    Pre-school - Grade 2+

    "One World, One Sky" -  Pre-school and 1st Grade.  Join Big Bird and Elmo as they explore the night sky with Hu Hu Zhu, a Muppet from "Zhima Jie," the Chinese co-production of Sesame Street. Together they take an imaginary trip from Sesame Street to the moon, where they discover how different it is from Earth. They also journey to Zhima Jie to learn about the similarities in our view of the sky.  Learn some basic constellations and see that the night sky belongs to everyone.

    "Our Place in Space" - late 1st grade and throughout 2nd grade.  Take a tour of the solar system, then travel into space beyond, learning about space while completing a crossword puzzle.  Concepts taught include day and night, the Sun as a star, the planets, and the Milky Way.  Electronic versions of the crossword puzzle are available as a pre- or post-field trip activity.

    "Rusty Rocket's Last Blast" - Grades 2 through 4.  All rocket rookies report to class! Lift off with Rusty Rocket and learn rocket basics, relive great moments in space exploration, and discover how far it really is to the moon and planets. After decades of teaching rocket rookies the basics of rocket physics, Rusty Rocket has announced that this will be his last blast, and he already has plans for how he will spend his free time. Meanwhile, Rusty has one final mission to command: an introductory tour of the solar system for a class of rocket rookies that focuses on the wide variety of planetary environments. Rusty really emphasizes the immense distances between the planets.

    "The Moon"  Grades 2 - 4. This program is a 3-part program about the Moon.  The first segement is about the Moon's appearance, and lasts about 3 minutes.  The second segment is about the daily motion of the Moon, and lasts about 4 minutes and 30 seconds, and the last segment is about the phases of the Moon, and lasts about 12 minutes and 30 seconds.  I can present any combination of the segments, or all 3, it is your choice.  When you register, please indicate which segment(s) you would like your class to see in the comments section of the reservation form.

    "Constellations" - Grades 2 - Adult. Connect to the sky above in this great new Planetarium program. Explore star, nebula, and moon constellations! Travel the world to discover dazzling stories from the stars of the Big Dipper, including Native American stories from North America. Learn about Algol, Medusa’s evil eye.  Find out why Orion and Scorpius are never seen in the night sky at the same time. Travel far into the future to a time when the constellations will no longer appear as they do today.

    Grade 3 +

    "Did an Asteroid REALLY Kill the Dinosaurs?" - Grades 3 - Adult.  Did a space rock six miles wide slam into the Earth 66 million years ago and wipe out 75 percent of all living species at that time, including the dinosaurs? Cosmic collisions are abundant in our solar system. See the numerous craters on worlds like the moon, Mars, distant Pluto, and of course some on Earth, even including one in Wisconsin!  Explore the dinosaur disaster up close, including the evidence that has led to our current scientific consensus as to what killed the dinosaurs

    "Secret of the Cardboard Rocket" - Grades 3 through 4.  Join two children on an adventure that begins with them sleeping outside on their cardboard rocket, and becomes a magical journey through the solar system.  Aided by a talking astronomy book and a vivid imagination, learn about each of the planets.  During this show, audiences will visit all of the planets, land on Venus and Mars, fly into Jupiter's Great Red Spot, through the rings of Saturn, discovering secrets of the solar system along the way.

    "Stargazers of Africa" - Grades 3 through Adult.  From the dawn of time, Africans look to the skies above for inspiration and guidance. Join us for a journey to Africa and connect the stars, constellations, moon, and planets to the people across this great continent. Learn about Nabta Playa, the “African Stonehenge”, temples of Egypt, creation stories, and more!

    Grade 4 +

    "Eight Planets and Counting" - Grades 4 through Adult.  Take a tour through the solar system, learning about the terrestrial planets, the Jovian planets, and then to the outer reaches of the solar system to learn about Pluto and other dwarf planets.  See how the number of planets in the solar system has changed through time.

    "The Cowboy Astronomer" - Grades 4 - Adult.  Join us in the Western outdoors, listening to star legends and cowboy tales around the campfire. Our cowboy astronomer gives us his perspective of the night sky, and the things he's found out over a lifetime of stargazing. Learn about star colors and temperatures, find the Andromeda Galaxy, young stars and supernovae, and what various cultures called the Pleiades.  Hear two Native American star tales: the Fisher story of the cruel chieftain holding the birds of summer captive, and the Devil's Tower tale of the Seven Indian Maidens and the Bear. We see the Anasazi pictographs of the 1054 supernova, and Sirius rising over Wyoming's Medicine Wheel. We end in a thoughtful, philosophical manner, as our cowboy muses about the constellation where he wants to head when he departs this Earth.

    "Totality" - grades 4 through adult.  This program is all about eclipses – from lunar to total solar. We cover how they occur and what happens when they do. We look back to the proof of general relativity and look forward to upcoming eclipses and where to witness them. A very special part of the show relates, in a very human way, what happens when you are caught in the shadow of the Moon and the Sun is plunged into a total solar eclipse.  Also learn about the next total lunar eclipse we will see in Wisconsin, and the next total solar eclipse to be seen in the United States.

    Grade 5 - Adult 

    "Cosmic Colors"  Cosmic Colors will take you on a wondrous journey across the entire electromagnetic spectrum.  Discover the many reasons for color—like why the sky is blue and why Mars is red.  Take a tour of a plant leaf and journey inside the human eye.  Investigate x-rays by voyaging to a monstrous black hole and then back at your doctor’s office.  You will even see the actual color of a dinosaur--based on recent evidence.  Get ready for an amazing adventure under a rainbow of cosmic light!

    "Journey to the Center of the Milky Way"  The short, 6-minute program takes you on a tour of our solar system to the center of the Milky Way.  Learn about the black hole lurking there, and watch the objects orbiting under its powerful gravitational influence.  This can be added on to any feature program, just request it in the comments section of the reservation request form.

    "The Sun:  Our Living Star"  The Sun has shone on our world for 4.5 billion years.  Its light and heat have been felt by every person who has ever lived.  It is our nearest star and our planet's powerhouse, the source of the energy that drives our winds, our weather, and all life.  The passage of the Sun's fiery disc across the sky - day by day, month by month - was the only way to keep track of time for countless past civilizations.  Discover the secrets of our star in the show, and experience never-before-seen images of the Suns violent surface in immersive fulldome format.

    "Sunstruck"  Travel back to the beginning of time and experience the birth of the sun. Discover how it came to support life, how it threatens life as we know it, and how its energy will one day fade away.  It includes information on the sun, parts/layers, space weather and its impact on Earth.  Several NASA heliophysics missions are featured to provide an enhanced understanding of the Sun and how it impacts our world.

    "Dark Matter Mystery"  What keeps Galaxies together? What are the building blocks of the Universe? What makes the Universe look the way it looks today? Researchers all around the world try to answer these questions. We know today that approximately a quarter of the Universe is filled with a mysterious glue: Dark Matter. We know that it is out there. But we have no idea what it is made out of.  This planetarium show takes you on the biggest quest of contemporary astrophysics. You will see why we know that Dark Matter exists, and how this search is one of the most challenging and exciting searches science has to offer. Join the scientists on their hunt for Dark Matter with experiments in space and deep underground. Will they be able to solve the Dark Matter Mystery?

    "Galileo - the Power of the Telescope"  Two eyes and two pieces of glass revolutionized human understanding 400 years ago. The eyes belonged to Galileo Galilei, and the curved pieces of glass were the lenses of his telescope.  Experience Galileo’s personal and powerful story, and explores how his discoveries displaced long-held views about the universe.  Travel back in time to Pisa, Italy, to experience Galileo’s early experiments with gravity and the laws of motion, his advocacy of the idea that the Earth revolves around the sun, and his work with early telescopes. You see how his keen observations culminated in The Starry Messenger, an early masterpiece in which Galileo described all his dazzling discoveries in a straightforward, easy to understand way.

    "Defying Gravity - It IS Rocket Science"  Join host Apollo Aurora and her science reporters as they explore the brains behind rocket power, gravity on other planets, and even monstrous black holes!  Robot experts Apple 1-6-8-6 and EGR-1 will also lend a few circuits to explain the force that keeps us humans all grounded, well, most of the time!

    " 'Tis the Season"  This show recounts the historical religious and cultural rituals practiced during the time of winter solstice - from Christian, Jewish, Celtic, Nordic, Roman, Irish, and Mexican cultures.  It also takes a look at some of our more light-hearted seasonal traditions: from gift-giving to songs about lords a-leaping and ladies dancing, the custom of decking the halls with greenery and candles to Santa Claus.  The show also considers possible astronomical explanations for the star of Bethlehem

    "Two Small Pieces of Glass" - Grades 5 - Adult.  Follow two students as they interact with a female astronomer at a local star party. Along the way, the students learn the history of the telescope from Galileo’s modifications to a child’s spyglass — using two small pieces of glass — to the launch of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the future of astronomy. Aiming to engage and appeal to audiences of all ages, the show explores the wonder and discovery made by astronomers throughout the last 400 years

    Grade 6 - Adult

    "Exoplanets"  How were exoplanets first discovered?  What methods are used to discover exoplanets today? What are the characteristics of exoplanets discovered so far?  What is a hot-Jupiter, a super-Earth?  Recently discovered exoplanets are compared and contrasted with our solar system. Could any of them support life, and if so, what might that life be like?

    "First and Farthest"  From the first rockets to the first man on the moon, First and Farthest celebrate humanity's great accomplishments in the Space Race.  STEM topics include solid and liquid-fueled rocket propulsion, parabolic flight, orbital flight and the history of space exploration.  This show will bring back memories for those who experienced the Space Race and inspire new generations to keep exploring our universe.

    "The First Stargazers"  Journey back in time to explore how the first stargazers experienced the sky above. Your guide is Nashira, a friendly time traveler who has visited Earth many times before. Witness the very first stargazer making a Moon calendar out of animal bone 30,000 years ago. Discover the ancient pyramids of Giza and their alignment to the skies. See stunning digital re-creations of the Parthenon, Alexandria Library, Stonehenge and Abu Simbel Temple and be inspired by the first stargazers who laid down the foundations of modern-day astronomy.

    "From the Earth to the Universe"  The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe for as long as there have been people. A desire to comprehend the Universe may well be humanity’s oldest shared intellectual experience. Yet only recently have we truly begun to grasp our place in the vast cosmos. To learn about this journey of celestial discovery, from the theories of the ancient Greek astronomers to today’s grandest telescopes, we invite you to experience From Earth to the Universe.

    "It's About Time"  Time impacts us every day - but what is it exactly?  Where does time come from:  Explore these mysteries and more in this show from the Daniel M. Soref Planetarium at the Milwaukee Public Museum.  Join friendly robots Tortoise and Hare in their voyage around the Earth and beyond to discover the wild origins of time!

    "SkyWars"  Follow the struggles throughout history as new discoveries altered our view of Earth and its place in the universe.  Witness the connections and conflicts between astronomy and astrology.  See how the Earth went from being thought to be flat place to a round world, from a static, motionless home to a spinning, orbiting planet!  Finally, voyage into the galaxy to glimpse how future discoveries might start new battles abut the sky above.

    "Cosmology"  The study of our universe is as old as time, yet our understanding of the nature of the universe and its evolution is less than 100 years old.  This porgram is an overview of the science of cosmoloty - the study of the evolution of the universe.  From the earliest hypotheses about the size of the universe to the Big Bang Theory, this show details how the universe and our understanding of it has evolved over time.

    Grade 7 - Adult

    "Space Aliens"  Join our alien “experts”–Hopeful and Skeptical–as they try to convince each other whether or not life exists beyond the Earth.  Follow their astrobiology arguments from the ocean floor to a journey across the galaxy!  Learn about exoplanets, the evolution of life on Earth, follow a cosmic calendar of the history of the universe.

    "Cosmic Recipe"  The famous astronomer Carl Sagan once said:  "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe."  Join us for this program that explores where the elements that make up you and me, an apple pie, and entire univese came from.  Learn about the lives of stars, how they produce energy, and how they create new elements in the final stages of their lives.  See how each of us was created from stars!

    "Hubble Vision II"  View spectacular images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and learn the astronomy behind the images.

    "Cosmic Castaways"  What holds galaxies such as the Milky Way together?  Start on an imaginary planet orbiting a star that is alone in space, not part of any galaxy, where there are no other stars, no constellations.  How do stars end up alone in the space between galaxies?  See galaxies as you have never seen them before, and discover how some stars become cosmic castaways.

    "Dark Matter"  How do astronomers know that dark matter exists?  What is the structure of the Milky Way?  What tools do astronomers use to detect dark matter?  Look at how radio telescopes are used to probe areas of the Milky Way and universe that would otherwise be invisible. Computer models are used to demonstrate the evolution of the large-scale structure of the universe, and to reveal the location of dark matter.

    "Phantom of the Universe"  From the journey of protons racing through the world’s largest particle collider in Europe to up-close views of the Big Bang and the emergent universe, and the nearly mile-deep descent to an underground experiment in South Dakota, this show is designed to immerse audiences in the search for dark matter.

    "The Stargazer"  Join noted star expert, Dr. James Kaler, as he guides us through the life cycles of stars. Learn the history of how astronomers have come to know so much about objects so far away..

    "Seeing"  Follow a photon’s creation and journey across the galaxy to a young stargazer’s eye. The viewer follows the photon into the girl’s eye, and along the way is provided with a detailed explanation of the structures of the eye and their functions, prior to taking a ride on the optic nerve.  This program is particularly appropriate for classes that wish to study the anatomy and physiology of the human eye.

    Grade 9 - Adult

    "The Hot and Energetic Universe"  Using immerive visualizations and real images, this program presents the achievements of modern astronomy.  See the most advanced ground-based and orbital observatories, and learn basic principles of electromagnetic radiation and natural phenomena related to high-energy astrophysics.  High-energy radiation provides important information about our home galaxy, neutron stars, supernova remmants, and stars like our Sun, as well as supermassive black holes and clusters of galaxies.  Get ready and join us for some real Astrophysics!


    Mini-Shows with Descriptions:  These shows can be added on to any of the full-length features.

    Grade 5 - Adult 

    "Asteroid Discovery" 3 min 45 sec:   This is a video short that illustrates the discovery of asteroids form 1980 - 2015.

    "CubeSats" 6 min 45 sec:   

    "Dawn of Orion" 5 min 30 sec:   Learn about NASA's newest spacecraft that will take astronauts back to the Moon and perhaps to Mars.

    "Journey to the Center of the Milky Way" 6 min 30 sec:  This program takes you on a tour of our solar system to the center of the Milky Way.  Learn about the black hole lurking there, and watch the objects orbiting under its powerful gravitational influence.

    "Legacy of Apollo" 8 min 15 sec:  The rocks brought back from the Moon by the Apollo program tell the story of the formation of the Moon.

    "Losing the Dark" 6 min 30 sec:   Light pollution is causing the dark night sky to disappear for most of us.  What is the problem and what are the solutions?

    "Parker Solar Probe" 7 min:   Learn about the Parker Solar Probe and what it will be investigating as it orbits the Sun.

    "TESS" 6 min 30 sec:   Learn about the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and its mission to discover thousands of exoplanets revolving around nearby stars.