I have been meaning to write about this for a LONG time now. A few weeks ago Brady and I made our second trip to the Palomar College Planetarium in San Marcos, and I think all stargazers should visit at least once!
Every Friday the planetarium hosts a digital show called “The Sky Tonight,” where Professor Mark Lane narrates a journey through the sky above San Diego, explaining constellations and the history behind them. Ever since I can remember, I have been interested in astronomy – a hobby that was sparked by my Dad, who has always been fascinated by NASA and outer space.
When I first read about this planetarium in WestWays magazine, I honestly wasn’t expecting much. The general admission tickets cost only $6, ($4 for children/military/seniors), so I thought it would be fun to experience once. When we pulled up to the college, we were in for a nice surprise when we followed the signs that lead us to an impressive site! A gift shop lies at the entrance of planetarium, complete with posters, toys and books (perfect for kiddos!). After checking in, you enter the theatre, which hosts 142 stargazers under a 50-foot dome. With comfy seats, its fun to sit back and learn about what’s going on in the night sky! (Think of the Reuben H. Fleet IMAX theatre, but on a slightly smaller scale.)
The show begins with the night’s sky in San Marcos, then transports you to the mountains where the stars are more visible due to the decrease in ambient light. Mark ends the show with current astronomy news. A second feature is queued up after “The Sky Tonight” ends, which is available for an additional $6 and changes on a regular basis. After the show, student astronomers set up telescopes outside to view planets and constellations, which draws a huge line of eager onlookers.
This is a great activity for any astronomy fan, young and old. It is very educational, and it’s the stuff you can actually see in action when you leave the door. If you are interested in visiting California’s 5th largest planetarium, be sure to purchase tickets on their website first, as often times shows are sold out.
Note – I wouldn’t be doing my blog justice if i didn’t mention food! The planetarium is AWFULLY close to Phil’s BBQ, so why not make it a date and get some delicious food beforehand? Thats what we did, and I am still thinking about their amazing BBQ chicken and macaroni salad.
That’s it for now stargazers! Let me know if you make the trip, I would love to hear about your experience!
Palomar College Planetarium
1140 West Mission Road
San Marcos, CA 92069
(760) 744 -1150 x2833
To read more about the planetarium, check out this U-T article!