Planetariums are one of our favorite forms of educational entertainment. Our Virginia adoption agents think that learning in a fun environment is the best and most effective way to learn. We love taking educational family field trips with our kids to the various museums and other educational destinations in Virginia. Chesapeake Planetarium is one of our favorite places for a fun family field trip. This planetarium was the first ones built by the public school system in Virginia. They offer a variety of programs for schools, along with free public programs for families to enjoy. Some of our favorite features of the Chesapeake Planetarium include:
Each Thursday night at 8:00, the planetarium hosts public programs. These programs are completely free, which is great for families looking for an educational experience on a budget. The topic changes each month. In July and August this year, the topic is Summer Stars.
During this program, your family will learn about the summer sky. Much of the program will focus on summer constellations and the myths behind the figures in those constellations. You will also learn about some celestial objects found in the summer sky and how you can locate them with a small telescope or binoculars.
The Chesapeake Planetarium is built by and designed for public education. They run a series of school programs which are divided into grade levels, from 1-6. Students can learn all about the stars, constellations, and solar system, including how and why it works the way it does. Programs cover the current night sky and visible planets, along with supplementary information on the mythology of the constellations.
School programs are divided as follows:
- Grade 1 – A basic program that explores the cause for day and night and gives a tour of the solar system.
- Grade 2 – Focuses on the Earth and weather. Other planets in our solar system are briefly mentioned.
- Grade 3 – A comprehensive tour of the solar system that focuses on the Earth, the phases of the moon, and eclipse cycles.
- Grade 4 – Covers how the Earth, moon, and sun interact. Discusses and demonstrates seasonal changes and moon phases, as well as solar and lunar eclipses.
- Grade 5 – Short survey of the solar system focusing on the Earth and forces of change. The geological history of the Earth is heavily emphasized.
- Grade 6 – Focuses on the solar system’s role as part of a much larger universe. Discusses the evolution of stars and planets and the scientific theory behind these ideas.
The sky theater at Chesapeake Planetarium uses a variety of technology to project a digital representation of the sky above us and to teach us about how our solar system functions. It’s made up of a hemispherical dome ceiling and SciDome HD digital planetarium projection system. Computers generate images of the sky and additional images move across the sky to show natural celestial changes. This planetarium can even take us back into time by simulating celestial events from both the past and the future.