Be among the stars without actually traveling to space... or flying to Los Angeles.
Located in the heart of the city, the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium (5200 Glover Road NW) allows you to explore the universe for free.
While high-tech software projects the image of the night sky onto a large, dome-shaped ceiling, rangers guide you through the constellations and galaxies. The planetarium, built in 1960, remains the only one in the entire National Parks system.
Tickets can be picked up at the Nature Center's front desk up to 30 minutes before the show. There is no admittance once the planetarium doors close.
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Held Wednesdays at 4 p.m., Young Planetarium is a family-friendly program that helps educate kids about the solar system. It's suitable for kids ages 4-10 and their families.
On weekdays at 1 p.m., you can check out a Seasonal Night Sky showing, which is appropriate for age five to adult. It features an in-depth look at that evening's constellations and is storytelling-focused.
On weekdays at 4 p.m., the show Exploring the Universe changes its topic every month and focuses on the science of astronomy. The showing is appropriate for age seven to adult.
In August, Fire and Ice: Moons of the Solar System takes the viewer through the moons in our sky. In September, the planetarium will be celebrating Rock Creek Park's 125th anniversary by presenting a history of advances in astronomy.
Star-gazing sessions also occur once a month from April to November, when telescopes are set up on Military Field, off of Military Road NW. The event is run in conjunction with the National Capital Astronomers Association.