Stargazers and science buffs will have all their questions answered in this landmark 1960s-designed planetarium.
The Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center has the honor of being the world’s first full-dome movie theater, capable of horizon-to-horizon images in a 360-degree hemisphere. Built in the mid-1960s, this iconic design has landed it on the National Register of Historic Buildings.
A good way to get the most out of your visit is to head to the science center before enjoying shows in the planetarium which are mostly shown in the afternoons and evenings. There are numerous exhibits that focus on aspects of space, including meteorites, our solar system and black holes. Check out the half-ton (450-kilogram) meteorite found in Nevada in 1908. There is also a Foucault Pendulum that demonstrates the rotation of the earth. Some of the exhibits change on a regular basis so return visits usually offer something fresh. Entrance to the science center is free; come back as many times as you like.
Once you’ve explored the wonders of the science center, venture into the planetarium for an immersive and spectacular display of photography, videography, lighting and sound. Shows rotate periodically and vary in subject, from the solar system to Mayan astronomy, climate change and even educational cartoons designed for a younger audience. There are numerous screenings of each film daily, so it’s a good idea to check out show times and get tickets online before you go.
Look out for the Live SkyTonight Star Talk, a show with guest astronomers showing visitors “what's happening in the sky tonight.” These lectures are held on the first Friday of each month. Afterwards, you can gaze through powerful telescopes and venture to the universe’s most distant stars.
The Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center is open every day. It’s located on the University of Nevada Reno campus, about five minutes' drive north of downtown. There’s free parking nearby, or catch the Sierra Spirit bus from downtown.