Inflatable Planetarium Visits

SIU Carbondale has an inflatable planetarium that can travel to schools around Southern Illinois.  Typically, two students or staff travel with the planetarium to set up the dome and run the shows.  Visits to schools are offered on a limited basis which is dependent on SIU’s current trained staffing at the time of the request.


The cost for a planetarium visit depends on the distance of the school from SIU Carbondale.

Within 25 miles:

    • Half Day: $250
    • Full Day: $360

    25-50 miles:

      • Half Day: $330
      • Full Day: $440

    50+ miles: = price to be determined based on distance. Please email for a quote.

Planetarium Shows


(28 minutes)
This planetarium show explores the relationship between the Earth, Moon and Sun with the help of Coyote, an amusing character adapted from Native American oral traditions who has many misconceptions about our home planet and its most familiar neighbors.
His confusion about the universe makes viewers think about how the Earth, Moon and Sun work together as a system. Native American stories are used throughout the show to help distinguish between myths and science.
Good for all ages

Infinity Express

(14 minutes)
Infinity Express takes the audience on an exciting journey of discovery, from the search of the solar system to the mapping of the universe. A remarkable blend of science, art, and entertainment that dramatically communicates the latest breakthroughs in our quest to understand the universe.
Good for all ages

Zula Patrol

(23 minutes)
A band of aliens explores the galaxy while searching for a mystical ruby. During the quest, the characters learn about weather on various planets, including Earth, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter.
Best for audiences PreK – K

Secrets of the Sun

(21 minutes)
An intimate look at the role the Sun plays in the life of our Solar System. From the nuclear forces churning at the heart of the Sun to the mass ejections of solar material into surrounding space, we experience the power of the Sun and its impact on the planets and ultimately life on Earth. We trace the Sun’s life cycle, going back to its beginnings and moving forward in time to its eventual death.
Good for all ages

Secrets of the Cardboard Rocket

(40 minutes)
Join two children in their magic cardboard rocket as they fly through the solar system. Aided by a talking astronomy book, students will learn about the unique features of each planet and get a chance to fly over distant terrains and travel through far off atmospheres. This story engages the imagination while providing a fun educational experience.
Best for audiences PreK – 4th grade

One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure

(27 minutes)
Explore the night sky along with Elmo and Big Bird. Meet Hu Hu Zhu from China and learn how the stars appear in different places around the Earth. Then travel to the Moon on an imaginary trip to discover how it is different from the Earth.
Best for audiences Pre-K – 1st grade

Side view of inflatable planetarium

Planetarium Visit Request Form

Frequently Asked Questions

How many shows can be accomplished in a half-day? A full day?

The actual length of a half day or full day depends on your school’s schedule, including start and end times, lunch times, and recess breaks. It also depends on the shows chosen as not all shows are the same length.

A half day is up to 3 hours of running time, which can accommodate approximately 3-5 shows.

A full day is up to 6 hours of running time, which can accommodate approximately 8-10 shows assuming there are minimal breaks throughout the day. If the planetarium is set up in a spot that needs to be closed during lunch time, this will reduce the number of shows possible in a day.

How many people can the inflatable planetarium accommodate at one time?

The planetarium can seat up to 30 students comfortably.

What are the dimensions of the inflatable planetarium?

The dome is 12 ½ feet tall and 20 feet in diameter.

The overall planetarium has a footprint of 36 feet x 30 feet. This includes the door and the fan that inflates the planetarium.

Where can the inflatable planetarium be set up?

The dome must be set up in an inside location that is larger than the dimensions of the dome’s footprint. Common locations in a school where the dome is set up include a gym, cafeteria, or school stage.

What is the run time of a typical planetarium show?

Many of the planetarium shows are approximately 25 minutes in length, and a minimum of 10 minutes should be planned between each show to allow one group of students to exit the dome and the next to enter.

Do all classes have to watch the same planetarium show?

Absolutely not. Each class can choose a planetarium show that is age-appropriate and meets the curricular needs of that group of students.

Should teachers plan to watch the planetarium show with the students?

Absolutely. The staff who travels with the dome are responsible for the technical aspects of the dome. They are not responsible for classroom behavior management. A teacher should always be in the dome with the students.

How much time does set up and tear down take?

The planetarium will typically be scheduled to arrive 45-60 minutes before the first show as it takes time to set up the dome and its equipment. The take down process usually takes approximately 30 minutes.

Can groups other than schools request a planetarium visit?

The inflatable planetarium is offered for educational purposes. As such, youth organizations are also welcome to request a planetarium visit as part of an educational experience. The planetarium cannot be rented out for birthday parties or similar private events.


Please contact Dr. Corinne Brevik at,
School of Physics and Applied Physics, Southern Illinois University