Inspiring People to Connect with Nature
The planetarium is open each day the Calusa Nature Center is open and we typically have educational/fun public shows at 12:00 noon and 2:15 pm daily; seating starts 15-20 min before the shows and we clean the planetarium with disinfectant wipes between shows for Covid protection; masks are required indoors in any shared space at Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium. We also do private planetarium shows as needed for prearranged Field Trips, typically before noon on weekdays, and at other times for rentals/special events. If your visit's timing/content is crucial, please check with the front desk to be sure of the schedule for a given day, as we do have occasional rentals, refurbishing times, late field trips and special events: 239-275-3435.
The Calusa Nature Center Planetarium is the only planetarium in our area of Southwest Florida, with no other planetarium open to the public along the western half of Florida south of Bradenton. We take our educational mission seriously and love bringing the wonders of the Universe to our Southwest Florida community and visitors!
Ground was broken for the Calusa Nature Center Planetarium in May 1984, and construction was completed in December 1986. The planetarium dome is 44 feet in diameter. The planetarium has permanent seats for 87 people and 3 wheelchair spaces.
In 2020, a new Digitalis Education Digitarium Lambda Plus projection system was installed to replace the Mediaglobe II digital projector. The Digitarium Lambda Plus is a laser-phosphor high-brightness, high-contrast, high-resolution planetarium system from Digitalis Education Solutions. We are all very excited about the Lambda Plus and pleased to bring our visitors the next step in fulldome total immersion! We are also in the process of updating our sound system, and even more surprises are on the horizon during 2020.
An LCD video projector projects brightly from the rear of the planetarium, allowing us to show anything from a laptop, DVD player, or Blue Ray player. With a 44′ light path, the images are large as well as bright, making this venue suitable for everything from 80-person meetings to special corporate or social events to marriage proposals!
In 2010, the original Spitz 512 planetarium projector (which projected only a star field) was replaced by a Konica Minolta Mediaglobe II digital projector, which allowed us to begin showing fulldome "movie" style planetarium shows.
In 2011, a 40-foot by 11-foot stage was added to the front of the planetarium theater, making it more versatile for speakers, plays, small concerts and other special events (for example, we’ve hosted chamber music, private parties, weddings, memorial services and fashion shows).
Admission to planetarium shows is included in the Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium ticket price and all public daytime planetarium shows are free to members. Our planetarium shows rotate monthly and an up-to-date schedule can be found