Private Parties

We invite you and your private group to explore astronomical topics at the Manfred Olson Planetarium theater at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee! You will enjoy tours of the night sky and dive deeper into some of your favorite astronomical highlights.

Private shows are for:

  • Large groups of people (more than 20), who might not fit on a Friday night show
  • Summer camps
  • People who are celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, or other special events (see our birthday parties)
  • Groups with special needs (physical, mental, behavioral disabilities)
  • Scout groups, who have special requirements for badges

Fees

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The planetarium show costs $150 per private group for up to 68 people. If you are a teacher bringing a student group, your fee is different! Please see the school groups page.

The fee for optional hands-on activities ranges from $40 to $80 depending on the size and age of the group and the particular activities chosen.


Reservations

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To make a reservation, fill out this form. There it will ask for some information, your preferred dates/day of the week (a.m. or p.m.), and if you would like to do any optional hands-on activities.

After we have agreed upon a date and time, we will email you an invoice. Kindly arrange for the check and invoice to be mailed 10 days before your scheduled program. Please make the check out to UWM Planetarium and mail to the address below.

UWM Physics/Planetarium
P.O. Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53201


Show Structure

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The planetarium program is 55-60 minutes long and consists of:

  • Summary of the program and expectations (5 minutes)
  • Live presentation on one of the following topics of your choice (20-25 minutes)
  • Tour of the current nighttime sky in the city and in the country featuring constellations and some of their stories (15-20 minutes)
  • Summary and a question and answer period (5 minutes)

*Additional presentation options are available (starting at $40 depending activity and the size of the group)

The program can be shortened for young audiences or altered to meet special needs.


Show Otions

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Wonders of Day and Night | Ages 5 – 7
Take your students on a trip and explore our star and planets. Students will observe the motions of day and night and participate in identifying objects such as clouds, the moon, and the sun. Prepare to stay up all night and look for star patterns in the sky. (20-25 mins)

Expedition Solar System | Ages 8 – 10
Travel from our star, the Sun, to the icy worlds of the kuiper belt and learn the latest discoveries from Juno to New Horizons. Explore our solar system and marvel at the Sun’s powerful solar flares, Jupiter’s swirling storms, and the intriguing moons of Saturn. (20-25 mins)

Life of a Star | Ages 10 – 17+
Explore the role of gravity in the life cycles of different star types and their fates including that of our own Sun. Be blown away by the dramatic changes stars endure; from stellar nurseries to exotic compact objects such as white dwarfs, neutron stars, or black holes. (20-25 mins)

Astronomical Wonders | Ages 10 – 17+
Explore the universe near and far and experience the scale of the cosmos. Tour the most thrilling highlights of our own solar system, such as solar storms and the rings of Saturn. Reach out to stars and exoplanets in our galaxy. Visualize the Milky Way on a collision course with our neighbor Andromeda and be dazzled by other beautiful galaxies. This presentation is well suited for extra long stargazing sessions. (15 mins)

Illuminating our Universe | Ages 13 – 17+
Discover the clues that scientists use to understand the beginning of the cosmos. This presentation emphasizes the observational evidence for the Big Bang using the movement of distant galaxies and the leftover radiation from the early universe. See the microwave background radiation, which contains the seeds of all the structure in the universe that we see today. (20-25 mins)


Activities

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Activities are meant for kids between 5 – 17 years old.

We offer optional hands-on activities that last 15-20 minutes depending on the activity and age group. If you have a large group (over 22 kids), you can choose between the star chart activity for the whole group ($40) or you can have half the group do the activity while the other half has a break and then switch off ($40/session).

Earth’s Amazing Moon | Ages 5 – 7
Kids use playdough to make an Earth and Moon system. Depending on their age, kids use different math and problem skills. This activity is suitable for up to 22 kids per group. (20 mins and $40)

Solar System to Scale | Ages 7 – 13
Kids are divided into groups to make a scale model of the solar system along the length of an indoor hallway. The kids are given instructions on how many tiles they need between various planets. This activity is suitable for up to 22 kids per group. (20 mins and $40)

Star Charts | Ages 6 – 17+
Kids and adults learn to use star charts to more easily identify 6-10 constellations in the sky. This activity is suitable for up to 68 participants. (15 mins and $40)


When Are Private Shows Offered?

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Typically, shows may be scheduled between 9am and 4pm.

Some evenings (typically Monday or Wednesday) and select weekends are available upon request.