Hidden Gem: The Manfred Olson Planetarium at UWM (2023)

Tucked away inside the Physics building on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus is a hidden gem for families around Milwaukee.

The Manfred Olson Planetarium offers live, interactive programming for kids and families to learn more about the night sky and the cosmos.

It’s equipped with a Spitz A3P optomechanical projector that projects stars, planets, the Sun, and the Moon on the Planetarium’s 30-foot dome.

Four digital projectors and separate special projectors are also used for visual effects such a rotating Milky Way Galaxy and the Aurora Borealis.

The Observatory deck on the roof of the Physics building is used for stargazing sessions. The planetarium owns and operates a Meade 10″ LX200, Meade 226, Celestron-8, Astroscan, Unitron D102, and a 12-inch Meade reflector telescope.

You can book the planetarium for birthdays, school field trips, scout groups, and more. A staff member will lead the kids through an engaging and educational show in the planetarium, and you can have snacks and cake in a nearby classroom.

Popular programs include ‘Solar System Expedition’, ‘Moving to Mars’, and ‘Birth of the Universe’.

There are also affordable public events throughout the year such as Friday Night Shows, weekend matinees, and more.

Upcoming Events

Northern Lights

Fridays at 7:00 p.m. (January 20-February 24)

Enjoy the radiance of the night sky and a tour of the science behind one of nature’s most remarkable lights shows.

Under African Skies

Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. (February 8-February 22)

Each Wednesday featured a different guest speak who will talk about their country, culture, and connections to the night sky.

Stars, Stories and Rhythms of Africa

Thursday, February 9 at 6:00 p.m.

Celebrate Black History Month under the stars. Join for a night of music, dancing, storytelling, and stargazing.

Cupid’s Constellations

Tuesday, February 14th at 7:00 p.m.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your special someone with stunning images of the cosmos and tales of love.

Space Night (Free!)

Thursday, March 9th at 7:00 p.m.

Dress in your favorite space attire for a night of free, space-themed fun at the planetarium with space trivia and yummy treats.

Spring Stars

Fridays at 7:00 p.m. (March 24 – April 28)

Explore spring constellations in the night sky and hear their stories, such as the feats of Hercules and the tale of Leo.

Spring Matinees

Saturdays at 2:00 p.m.: Feb. 4, Mar. 4, April 1

Perfect for kids, their Saturday matinees are perfect for learning about the solar systems, lunar exploration, and more.

Find out more about the Manfred Olson Planetarium.

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