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Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium

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by Susan Jackson (subscribe)
Gold Coast Explorer since Jan 2010. Always on the lookout for fun, family things to enjoy with my four kids.
Published October 16th 2011
For a truly cosmic experience, take your kids to the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt Coot-tha.
Astronaut 1
Explore & Discover

The Planetarium facilities are excellent. The cosmic skydome is a round lecture theatre with seats that lean back to give you a view of the circular ceiling. This becomes the film screen for feature shows, which explore and discover the universe. Show topics, the timetable and ticket prices, can all be found here.
If you want to book session times you can phone 07 3403 2578.
Spacecraft models are on display

Our family visits have included "Cosmic Collisions" - the growth and evolution of the universe and "Dawn of the Space Age" - a historic view of man's first steps in space. They were excellent and packed with information with such visual impact that my kids sat enthralled watching. Both shows also included a projected night sky tour. The Brisbane skyline appears and you are taken on a tour of the constellations, as you will see them at home.
Gallery pics
Images of the Cosmos

There are also younger children's shows. "Sunshine" is for the under fives and covers simple colours and counting, the games revealing the stars of the night sky. "Secret of the Cardboard Rocket" is for five to ten year olds and follows the adventures of two children as they spend a night touring the solar system. There is also " Secret of the Dragon" for five to eight year olds, which is described as a good family choice.

I'd like to get back there for the " Saturday Night Live" which is described on the website as follows: "Astronomers take the audience on an exciting 'live' fulldome spaceflight. Chart a course through the solar system, past the most distant space probes, beyond familiar constellations, to the outskirts of the Milky Way galaxy. "
Astronaut in the display zone

The foyer, as you go in, hosts interesting displays including fragments of asteroids, spacecraft models and a gallery with spectacular images of the cosmos.

I mustn't forget to tell you about a hidden gem of a shop. If you are looking for something different for a birthday or Christmas gift then drop in to the Planetarium Shop because although it's not a big one, their range of gift ideas for kids is awesome and are very reasonably priced. There are excellent books on science, astronomy and dinosaurs check these prices: "Hammond Undercover Space" $9, "I wonder why stars twinkle" $9, "Sticker Atlas Space" $7.50. A tin of Glow in the Dark Stars will cost you $10.95, a 3D mirascope illusion maker $15 or magic cash box $5 which all make for great stocking filler ideas.
The Planetarium Shop

There are starcharts, globes and spacecraft models in the range of gifts and the ladies behind the counter are very helpful. They were happy to show kids some of the items and chat with them about how they work.
Kids in Gallery
Checking out the Gallery images

For those interested in history Sir Thomas Brisbane arrived as Governor in NSW in 1821. He charted the largely unknown southern sky, which resulted in a list of 7385 stars. A copy of this is on display at the Planetarium, which was named after him in recognition of his contribution to Australian astronomy.
Star Gazers

You can combine your Planetarium visit with a picnic in the gardens or a short drive to the top of Mt Coot-tha to enjoy the view of Brisbane.
Brisbane fm Mt Coot-tha
The view over Brisbane from Mt Coot-tha
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Why? Explore & Discover the Universe
When: Tuesday to Sunday
Where: Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha, Brisbane
Cost: Depends on the show you view. Family ticket available ($37.50 for 2 Ad & 2 Kids)
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