Planetarium at JMU is Out of this World

It was another cold Saturday morning and the boys were bouncing off the walls.  I decided to pack them into the car and head off on a space adventure.  We made our way to the John C. Wells Planetarium at James Madison University and settled in for an hour of wonder and amazement.

This 2 million dollar planetarium is not one of the largest; but it’s cozy size and enthusiastic students make for a great morning of learning. They offer 2 separate programs, twice a day, on Saturdays from September – June (check the website for times and listings).  The first program is geared towards preschool-younger elementary aged children and the second is for older children and adults. The best part…it’s FREE!

My little guys are currently obsessed with outer space, so it was cool for them to get to see the planets and sun up close.  We saw the flares of the sun and the volcanoes on Venus.  We saw the surface of Mars and rode through the rings of Saturn.  After the movie was finished, they mapped out the stars and talked about constellations.

Overall, I would highly recommend a trip to the planetarium.  It is fun and educational and a good spring board for conversations about space.


  • Seating is open 15 minutes prior to the show.  Try to get a seat in one of the back rows, as you get a better “view”.
  • Parking is a bit tricky, and we scrambled and did the mad dash across campus, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time.  
  • It can get really dark inside, so keep that in mind if you have a child who is sensitive to the dark.

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