The Saint Louis Science Center’s James S. McDonnell Planetarium is one of the nation’s leading space education facilities.

Since its opening in 1963, the structure stands out as an icon in St. Louis, igniting and sustaining lifelong science and technology learning.

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

The LED system was made possible by the Electrical Connection, a partnership of the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local One.

In addition to illuminations for annual holidays, signature dates and other significant occasions, the Saint Louis Science Center accepts requests from nondenominational, non-political registered or not-for-profit charities.

Policies and Guidelines

  • Requests must be submitted through our online form, and must be completed by a management representative of the requesting organization.
  • Requests must be submitted to the Science Center at least 30 days in advance of the illumination date requested.
  • Illumination requests cannot be considered for commercial requests, personal occasions, religious or political events or observations.
  • Illumination requests are limited to one night between the hours of dusk and dawn subject to seasonal times.
  • If your request is granted, all media advisories and press releases must be submitted to the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for approval prior to distribution.
  • If the organization plans to appoint commercial photographers, invite media or organize an event within the Planetarium, additional rules and permits may apply.

Criteria for Selection

A special illumination is at the sole discretion of the President and CEO and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, and is not subject to appeals or negotiation. All requests will be evaluated based on meeting the above-mentioned guidelines as well as:

  • How the request fits within our mission of igniting and sustaining lifelong science and technology learning
  • The nature of the cause
  • History and background of the organization, cause or event
  • How the lighting will be used to benefit the cause or event
  • How the McDonnell Planetarium’s iconic image will be related to the event


Applicants will receive a written response stating whether or not the request has been approved. Due to the high volume of applications, all requests may not be accommodated. The Saint Louis Science Center reserves the right to acknowledge two requests during the same time period if two illumination requests are received for the same color on the same night. The Saint Louis Science Center wishes to stress that if an application is declined, it is not a reflection of the merits or importance of any requests.