McDonnell Planetarium

About

Get inspired to look up.

For nearly 60 years, the iconic James S. McDonnell Planetarium has been the place in St. Louis for all things space.

Connected via the Skybridge over Interstate-64, the Planetarium Campus in Forest Park contains three floors of attractions dedicated to the wonders of space, aviation, and spaceflight.

Relax under the largest artificial sky in the Western Hemisphere, see space history first-hand with our genuine space capsules, and have your every question about the universe answered by one of our Planetarium Educators.

Planetarium Shows

Welcome back to your science center. To our guests, members and donors, learn about how you can Explore Safe here.</a

The Planetarium will be closed May 10-13, 2021 for building maintenance.

Free

Attractions

Star Shows in the Orthwein Starbay Theater

Star Shows are your gateway to the stars and beyond. Let the beauty of a clear, dark sky be your window into the universe as you relax under the largest artificial sky in the Western Hemisphere.

Star Shows are a live experience lead by one of our skilled Planetarium Presenters and powered by our world-class ZEISS Universarium Mark IX star projector – one of only three in the United States and thirteen in the world!

The Orthwein Starbay is located on the 2nd floor of the Planetarium.

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Buy Tickets Now

Members can get their free tickets to the Planetarium by logging in online.

Members Online Ticket Login

Liftoff Gallery

The McDonnell Planetarium is home to two genuine space capsules from the 1960’s. See Mercury 19 and Gemini 3A up close!

All Mercury and Gemini space capsules were built in St. Louis by McDonnell Aircraft Corporation. Learn how St. Louis became humanity’s gateway to the Moon!

The Liftoff Gallery is located on the 1st floor of the Planetarium.

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Mission: Mars Base

One of two galleries dedicated to our neighbor Red Planet, visit Mars Base to discover what life would be like for future astronauts living on Mars.

Mars Base is home to a REAL Martian meteorite – an actual piece of Mars!

Mission: Mars Base is located on the 1st floor of the Planetarium.

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Boeing Space Station and Starbridge

Star Show audiences have the remaining time after their program to explore the Boeing Space Station and Starbridge exhibits surrounding the Orthwein Starbay.

The Space Station exhibits immerse visitors in what it would be like to live and work in space. Additional exhibits feature our meteorite collection and imagery from the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Boeing Space Station exhibits are located on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Planetarium. A Star Show ticket is required for access.

Note: The Starbridge (3rd floor) is currently closed due to COVID-19 precautions.

Experience Flight

St. Louis is steeped in the history of flight. Our four simulators allow you to experience flight for yourself!

Experience Flight is located in the Planetarium Tunnel. The Virtual Reality Simulator is located on the 1st floor of the Planetarium.

Experience Flight

Virtual Reality

Note: Take the Controls! is currently closed due to COVID-19 precautions.

Planetarium Grounds

The grounds surrounding the iconic McDonnell Planetarium are beautiful to explore all year long. Take a stroll around the distinctive hyperbolic paraboloid and you will encounter everything from a real F/A-18B fighter jet to dinosaurs!

Note: Public Telescope Viewing is currently postponed due to COVID-19 precautions.

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What’s Up?
News from around the Universe.

Astronomy Fact of the Day

Posted daily at 9:00am
Learn something new about space and astronomy every day! Moons, stars, planets and the history of how we’ve learned about our universe.

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Night Sky Update

Posted weekly on Friday
Discover what’s up in the Saint Louis sky every Friday from our James S. McDonnell Planetarium astronomers!

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Happy 58th Birthday, McDonnell Planetarium!

The James S. McDonnell Planetarium marked its 58th birthday on April 16! Check out the video to learn more about the incredible design and construction process of the hyperbolic paraboloid Planetarium building!

Watch Now

Visitors line up to visit the James S. McDonnell Planetarium on its opening day, April 16, 1963.
Visitors line up to visit the James S. McDonnell Planetarium on its opening day, April 16, 1963.

Contact Us

Have a space question?

Reach out to our educators to connect your curiosity with space!

Illumination Requests

The exterior of the McDonnell Planetarium is illuminated nightly for all to enjoy. This illumination has helped raise awareness for charities and causes through special illumination requests.

Make a Request

Membership

Members stargaze for free.

Love the Planetarium? Become a Science Center member and watch star shows for free with every visit, as well as get a full year of additional members-only benefits.

Plus, members help support the Science Center and our mission to make science learning open to everyone.

Become a Member

Accessibility

Elevators and ramps serve all public areas of the McDonnell Planetarium.

We also offer hearing assist devices for Planetarium star shows. When ordering tickets, please let your reservationist know you’re interested in a hearing assist device, or see a Planetarium team member before your program begins.

The Liftoff gallery offers tactile models of the Mercury and Gemini spacecraft, as well as models of the Planetarium’s StarBay and building exterior. The models of the Mercury and Gemini spacecraft and StarBay feature large print and braille materials for visitors thanks to a generous grant from Lighthouse for the Blind Saint Louis.

More About Accessibility