New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

2020 Brings Big Changes to Planetarium

January 31, 2020


For Immediate Release: February 4, 2020 (Albuquerque, New Mexico) --

The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science Planetarium opened in December of 1999 and has brought the night sky and wonders of the universe to Albuquerque for over 20 years.  Wear from hundreds of thousands of visitors has taken its toll, so the planetarium will close on February 17, 2020, for a renovation.  The planetarium’s seats, carpet, and wall coverings will be replaced during the renovation.  The unused pit in the center of the planetarium will be removed to make the planetarium more accessible at the top and improve overall safety. The renovation will allow more room for performances as well.  

“As seats have broken, our capacity has dropped.  The entire front row has been closed for months” said space science director Jim Greenhouse.  “This renovation is badly needed and will make for a much more comfortable experience as we fly audiences through time and space.  We also hope that a new plan for lighting the stairs will make moving around the planetarium safer.”

The planetarium is scheduled to reopen in April and will offer a schedule of the planetarium’s most popular astronomy programs. This renovation is made possible through capital funding from the State of New Mexico.

While the planetarium dome is closed, the Museum will operate a portable planetarium system managed by The Albuquerque Astronomical Society. Visitors can see the night sky shows in the Museum’s Multi-Purpose Room.  Visitors may join school groups, as space allows, at 11 a.m., and 2 pm daily. The 2 pm showing will be a special version of the live, interactive show Enchanted Skies. There are no seats in the portable planetarium, so participants must be able to sit on the floor for 45 minutes. The show is open to ages 3 and up. Admission to the portable planetarium is $2 per person for all ages. The shows will begin on February 17, 2020.

During the renovation, the ever-popular First Friday Fractals will move temporarily to the Museum’s Dynatheater. Special fractal zooms, some of which have not yet been shown in the planetarium, will be projected across the five-story-tall screen. Each video explains a little bit about the math behind some of the most popular fractals, like the Mandelbrot set. This unique opportunity to see the Fractals will only occur on March 6 and April 3, 2020, at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for children. These shows may sell out, so please purchase tickets in advance from the Fractal Foundation: fractal shows


Image: Courtesy of Digitalis Education; Photographer-Raul Martinez Morales


Media Contact: Andrea Jacquin, 505-206-9144


About the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science:

The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Trustees of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History Foundation, through the generous support of donors.

Established in 1986, the mission of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science is to preserve and interpret the distinctive natural and scientific heritage of our state through extraordinary collections, research, exhibits, and programs designed to ignite a passion for lifelong learning. The NMMNHS offers exhibitions, programs and workshops in Geoscience, including Paleontology and Mineralogy, Bioscience and Space Science. It is the Southwest’s largest repository for fossils and includes a Planetarium and a large format 3D DynaTheater.

1801 Mountain Road NW, northeast of Historic Old Town Plaza, Albuquerque, NM 87104, (505) 841-2800.  Open seven days a week 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Events, news releases and images about activities at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science and other divisions of the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at


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