The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Mallory Kountze Planetarium has indoor events for students, faculty and families on cold winter days, and don’t worry- a Ph.D. in astronomy isn’t required.
The planetarium sees about 10,000 paid visitors a year, and it’s not always the public shows that draw people in.
“I would say that almost 90 percent of my programming is from private show requests,” said Krista Testin, the planetarium’s operator and instructor.
The planetarium also offers the chance for Boy and Girl scouts to participate in and view shows, while also earning corresponding badges. Alisa Venteicher, a parent of a Girl Scout who completed one of her badges at the planetarium, thinks the program is a great asset for youth.
“I think it’s important to engage minds in the young stages of life so that their love of learning about the sciences starts at an early age,” Venteicher said.
February’s weekend events are just around the corner. Starting the first weekend of February, the planetarium is offering their public show entitled “What’s UP?” which discusses the seasonal constellations, mythology, and star patterns. The show is open to the public and runs Friday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 2. Both days offer a 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. showing.
The second weekend of the month features two different shows. On Friday, Feb. 8 and Saturday, Feb. 9, visitors can enjoy a public showing of “From Earth to the Universe” and learn about our universe’s deepest secrets. Shows run at 5:30 p.m. both nights and 4 p.m. on Saturday. On Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., travel to the unknown aboard the Antares to investigate an alien wormhole as participants experience our amazing galaxy during “Orion Rendezvous: Voyage of Discovery.”
The middle of February offers a new family weekend series called “Lars the Little Polar Bear.” Join Lars and his friends as they discover their real-life habitat of the Arctic. After the show, follow along as the story turns to documentary and learn about real polar bears and how they live as well as the constellations common in the Arctic skies. This family fun show runs all weekend Feb. 15 and 16.
On Feb. 22, come enjoy a rooftop observatory and get a closer look at the skies above us. Weather permitting, the event begins at 7:30 p.m. Check out UNO’s website and the Mallory Kountze Planetarium page for more information.
If you can’t make a show but happen to be passing by, come in and check out the different interactive displays in the Durham Science Center’s lobby. Stop in the Mallory Kountze Planetarium store on the second floor, which is run by Aim for the Stars, a summer camp put on by the planetarium each year. No matter what fun event you choose to participate in, you’ll be engaged and educated… AND WARM!