Inspiring People to Connect with Nature
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.
The Calusa Nature Center Planetarium is the only planetarium in Southwest Florida, with no other planetarium open to the public along the western half of Florida south of Bradenton.
In late 2019, the Mediaglobe II digital projector was retired. It is in the process of being replaced by a laser-phosphor high-brightness, high-contrast, high-resolution planetarium system (Lambda Plus) from Digitalis Education Solutions. Until that replacement is complete, we are operating with a high-brightness rented system from Digitalis, which is both brighter and higher-definition than the Mediaglobe II, but not quite as fabulous as the Lambda Plus. We are all very excited about the Lambda Plus and eager for its arrival -- 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.
Historically: in 2010, the original Spitz 512 planetarium projector (projected only a starfield) was replaced by a new 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).
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!
The planetarium is open each day the Calusa Nature Center is open and we typically have educational/fun public shows at 12:00 and 2:30 pm daily. We also do private planetarium shows as needed for prearranged Field Trips, typically before noon on weekdays. 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.
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