School Shows

Fabian Lewkowicz Photography (santamonicacloseup.com)

We are now taking school show reservations.

Please note: With ongoing construction on campus, parking can be challenging to find.  Please carpool to minimize the number of vehicles, or better yet, take advantage of public transit options if possible.  Please also note the minimum and maximum group sizes and fees

The planetarium is a unique tool for stimulating students and conveying the excitement of discovery. Santa Monica College's Planetarium has been serving Southern California for thirty years. We have experience with all age levels, from pre-school to senior citizens. Since our shows are presented live, we can tailor show content to fit any teacher's particular needs and specifications.

Our school show begins by introducing children to the planetarium theater to help them feel at home. Our Digistar-2 projector, the first completely computerized planetarium in the L.A. area, recreates the starry sky as you would see it on a clear dark night.

We discuss our place on the Earth, then show the sky as your class will see it that night so they learn how to find the constellations and planets from their own backyard. Motions of the sky are discussed, the North star is located, and bright visible planets will be pointed out. We look at constellation patterns on the dome, and discuss some of the stories told by these ancient connect-the-dots pictures. The Milky Way is located in the sky, and we relate the "neighborhood" we live in to the rest of our galaxy or "city of stars", the Milky Way, a vast spinning pinwheel of hundreds of billions of stars, as seen from well outside our galaxy.  We then tour the Solar System, viewing the planets and other bodies in motion around our Sun. We may travel deep into space to simulate a trip into a black hole, or experience the disorientation of a twisting ride on a mobius strip magically placed far out in deep space. 

 Finally we return to Earth at the end of our tour.

The length and content of each show is scaled to the age/grade level of your group. Pre-school and kindergarten groups will have a show about 30 - 45  minutes long, and we ask that group size be limited to a maximum of 25 students at these early grade levels. Grades three and above will have a show about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes long. We always allow 10-15 minutes (at  the teacher's discretion) after the show for the children to ask any questions they would like about astronomy or space exploration - so third grade and above should plan for roughly 90 minutes in the planetarium if arriving on time.

Charges for School Shows (Tuesday through Thursday):
 

Groups of 20 or fewer (including adults): $100.00  NOTE: This is our minimum fee


Groups of 20 plus (including adults): $5.00/person


The maximum capacity of our planetarium theater is 50. Please limit your group size to this number - we cannot allow more than 50 inside the planetarium!  We will be happy to arrange multiple shows if needed for larger groups.


Payment checks should be made payable to "Santa Monica College Events" and presented to your lecturer in the planetarium - please do not mail checks. Cash is also fine, but we cannot accept credit cards.

PLEASE NOTE: Any school which cancels less than 24 hours before their scheduled show time is expected to pay a $60 late cancellation fee.

For further information or reservations, call the Planetarium at: (310) 434-4767 or email: trager_phyllis@smc.edu.

Supplementary Materials and Links for Educators


Nearby Parks and Science Field Trips

Directions for school groups visiting the Planetarium

Map of our college campus

Where we are in Santa Monica


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