The Staerkel Planetarium is now offering sensory-friendly shows! At these shows, the planetarium will feature "lights up, sound down" settings and will have a relaxed atmosphere where patrons can come, go, and move around as needed.
Our sensory-friendly shows are great for guests with autism spectrum disorder, sensory sensitivities, or young children. All are welcome, even if you don't need sensory accommodations!
Tickets can be purchased in the planetarium lobby 30 minutes prior to the shows. Seating is limited to 60 people to keep a sensory-friendly environment.
Thanks to our partners at The Autism Program at the University of Illinois (TAP@UIUC) for creating social stories about each of the types of trips the planetarium offers. These
social stories can be downloaded for personal use from the links below.
Public show social story
Field trip social story
Birthday party social story
The planetarium is wheelchair-accessible. Visitors are welcome to pull into the planetarium circle drive to drop off attendees, then park their cars in the M1 lot. Directions to the planetarium are available on this page.
The planetarium has a limited quantity of sensory supports available for patrons to use during their visit. The sensory supports were purchased with a Walmart Community Grant. These include compression vests, weighted lap pads, seat cushions, plush toys, many different fidgets, and stress balls. Patrons are welcome to bring their own sensory supports to utilize during their visit. However, nothing with lights or sounds, please!