Cummins Planetarium

The Cummins Planetarium, housed at the Imperial Centre for the Arts & Sciences, first opened its doors in the Spring of 2006, making it the first planetarium in North Carolina to feature a full-dome video projection system. The planetarium also features a thirty-foot dome, tilted forward slightly to maximize viewing for audiences of up to 50 people. Admission to all shows is on a first-come, first-served basis. Shows begin promptly, and no late seating or re-admissions are permitted. And remember, planetarium admission is now included with admission to the Children’s Museum & Science Center, so you can enjoy all the shows you want during your visit!

Planetarium Shows

Introduce your little ones to the sun, moon and stars in Big Bird’s Adventure. Investigate the origins of prehistoric flight in Dinosaurs at Dusk. Thrill to utterly impossible roller coasters on distant worlds in SpacePark 360. And learn about the changing night sky with Seasonal Stargazing.

Faster than Light – The Dream of Interstellar Flight

Our Milky Way galaxy appears to be filled with solar systems and astronomers are racing to find habitable planets in our stellar neighborhood. If we do find one, how will we get there? Explore technologies designed to use breakthrough physics and exotic, next-generation fuels to achieve the ultra-high speeds required to reach distant Earth-like worlds.
(Sept-Dec, 2018 / Ages 7 to Adult)

Dinosaurs at Dusk – The Origins of Flight

A father & daughter science team travel back in time to explore a prehistoric Earth teeming with pterosaurs and the ancestors of modern day birds, the feathered dinosaurs. Visit the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. Explore primordial rain forests and oceans, and parachute into a vast sinkhole in search of the first flying animals. Race across the desert with Argentinosaurus, escape from a hungry Velociraptor, and soar the skies with the giant Quetzalcoatlus. When time runs out, experience the final cataclysmic day of the dinosaurs.
(February-August, 2018 / Ages 6 to Adult)


Summertime is for roller coasters. But how about on another planet? SpacePark 360 transports us to the farthest reaches of space where audiences will enjoy a series of virtual thrill rides, each one on a different world. Buckle up and hang on for a wild ride through the solar system and back.
(June-August, 2018 / Ages 6 to Adult)

Big Bird’s Adventure

Big Bird’s Adventure is intended as a gentle introduction to the Planetarium setting for our very youngest visitors. Join Big Bird and some new Sesame Street friends, on a fun-filled, musical journey to the Moon and back. Along the way you can sing along, while learning about the Sun and stars.
(September-December / Ages 3-6)

Seasonal Stargazing

Public presentations of Dinosaurs at Dusk include a short guided tour of the bright stars and constellations in our current evening sky! This mini-show is updated regularly to reflect changes in our night sky that occur with each season. (Included with admission)

Laser Shows

Musical laser light shows in the Cummins Planetarium feature a variety of artists and musical styles interpreted through the visual wizardry of 3D laser graphics, animation and lighting effects. Please note that laser shows and laser show audiences may be loud, and are not recommended for visitors under 6 years of age.

Laser Classic Rock

A straight up rock ‘n’ roll showcase. Artists include Laser Classic Rock Pink Floyd, Queen, RUSH, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin.
(August, 2018)

Laser 101

What are lasers and how do they work? Find out from the Planetarium’s expert. A highly excitable electron presents a brief but informative demonstration right before your featured laser show.
(February-August, 2018/Included with admission)

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