K-12 shows

The Wayne State Planetarium brings passion and enthusiasm for science and learning! Our shows and activities incorporate Michigan State educational standards and all of our staff are affiliated with the Department of Physics and Astronomy, bringing a dedication to science, teaching and research to their planetarium shows. 

Seating 🎟️

Our planetarium comfortably seats 60 people. If your group exceeds this, we suggest that you pair your visit to our planetarium with the Phantastic Physics Phenomena. While half of your group is in the planetarium, the other half will be watching physics demos and then we'll switch.

Make a group reservation

Planetarium show 🔭

Our planetarium shows last approximately 60 to 75 minutes and include a fulldome film. We begin our planetarium shows with interactive demonstrations:

  • Learn about "size and distance" in our solar system. Compare the diameters of Earth, our Moon and Mars and get a feel for the distances between these celestial objects. We accomplish this with the help of balloons, an inflatable globe and our visitors!
  • Learn about the visible spectrum and the discrete spectra of hydrogen and helium. Find out why there is so much red in the Hubble Space Telescope images. Wear cool diffraction glasses and see a rainbow emerge before your eyes!

After the demonstration, we continue with the current night sky:

  • Learn how to find constellations and famous star patterns like the Big Dipper. 
  • Learn how to navigate the night sky by using clever tactics like "arcing to Arcturus."
  • Learn about "light years" and why this term is actually a measure of distance.
  • We'll set our planetarium software to show you the current sky over Detroit, so you can see which stars and planets are visible at the time of your visit.

Once you have traversed the current night sky, sit back and relax and enjoy a fulldome film. We have a variety of films available in our planetarium, appropriate for different age groups. You can select from our list of films or contact us for recommendations.

View fulldome films

Phantastic Physics Phenomena show 🔥

Stick around for the after-party. Phantastic Physics Phenomena are demonstrations led by planetarium staff or physics faculty. Many of the phenomena relate to astronomy, such as exploring very cold temperatures or understanding how planetary motion works.

Fire tornado

Marvel at a "fire tornado" and learn about the physics behind this fascinating phenomenon.

Liquid nitrogen

See what happens when a beautiful, long-stem rose is dipped into a thermos of liquid nitrogen.

Angular momentum

Learn about the principle of the conservation of angular momentum. Watch, as one of your students is selected to demonstrate the "skater's spin." See what happens when they stretch their arms out and what happens as they bring their arms into her chest. Will they spin faster or slower?

Electromagnetic energy

Learn about energy through our Van de Graff machine and our Tesla Coil!

Note: There is an additional fee for Phantastic Physics Phenomena.

Science activities 🪨

Choose from one of the following hands-on activities:


Students learn about geology and how it impacts their lives by viewing a dynamic PowerPoint presentation. They'll learn the definition of a “mineral” and how to identify minerals in the field using the classic test, “Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness.” Students will be expected to get their hands dirty!


Students learn about the basic shapes used in drawing. Students learn to use these shapes to draw famous “star patterns” like the Big Dipper and also draw their associated constellations. In the process, students learn about the night sky. Recommended for K-3.

Note: There is an additional supplies fee per student for science activities.