Halifax Planetarium, Dalhousie University
“That was the best day ever!”
“I’m so glad I am here!”
The words of excitement from the kids at the Halifax Planetarium didn’t stop all night long!
The boys in my family are fascinated by space. So, it all started when I booked us a family trip to the Deep Sky Eye Observatory near Yarmouth.
After making this post, my cousin said to me, “You know there’s a planetarium at Dalhousie, right?”
I had to investigate! I found the Halifax Planetarium located on the Dalhousie Campus!
The heart of the Planetarium, a Spitz Model A-1 projector dating from the 1950s on indefinite loan from the NS Museum of Natural History, has been in its current location for well over 30 years.
Although the Halifax Planetarium is not as big as others in Canada, its size is ideal for small groups (up to 30) and allows for a close interaction between the operator and the audience.
The planetarium is housed at the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science in the Sir James Dunn Building at Dalhousie University.
You would never know that tucked away inside an office building on campus, you would find this amazing planetarium!
We all sat around the dome. As the guide said, no seat is a bad seat, and it’s true!
The guide gradually dimmed the lights, as it takes about 15 minutes for our eyes to adjust to the darkness. Then, he got us to close our eyes, and imagine we were out in the dark skies of Keji. When we opened our eyes, there was a gasp from the crowd!
The image before our eyes was incredible! It was just like being outside amongst the stars.
For the next hour, the guide walked us through “Signposts in the Sky” pointing out how to find different constellations based on the Big Dipper. He was able to adjust the projection for different times of the night and times of the year.
The guide welcomed questions at any point from the audience, and the kids certainly took advantage of it. Because it was completely dark in the dome, the kids felt like they were having their own personal guided tour of the heavens!
It was an amazing experience for everyone there!
In the summer, it gets warm in the planetarium because of the enclosed space. Dress is layers.
Consider bringing a travel neck pillow or a sweatshirt you can roll up under your neck to make viewing the dome a bit more comfortable.
Observe the ages. This show is definitely meant for older children who can sit still for the hour-long presentation and can understand and follow the discussion.
Going to a Show
Shows currently run about every two weeks on Thursday evenings. Public shows will be posted as events on the home page of Astronomy Nova Scotia as they are announced.
Please note that shows are most suitable for ages 8 and up.
Shows run year round.
Private and Group Shows
The planetarium offers group shows to school classes and organized groups.
When I contacted the planetarium to book tickets for our large family group, organizers instead suggested that we book a private group show!
The planetarium holds about 35 people, so I put the call out to friends and family and we were able to fill the planetarium! This was definitely the best way to go about seeing a show! Because there were so many kids (8+) in the audience, they were able to gear the show towards them.
Tickets are only $5 each for adults, and $3 or less for children (subject to change), with different pay scales depending on the number in your family. This makes and extremely affordable evening for the family!
To book your seat at a regular show or to inquire about a private group tour, contact the planetarium at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Get There
The Halifax Planetarium is located in Rm. 120 at the south end of the Sir James Dunn Building.
Head to 6310 Coburg Road in Halifax and turn onto Lord Dalhousie Drive, which will take you onto campus.
The Sir James Dunn building is immediately on your left.
Free parking is available behind this building, starting at 4:30pm.
If you are looking for a unique and exciting experience with your family, definitely check out the Halifax Planetarium! You will have a STELAR time!