Through family-friendly space and stargazing events around Philadelphia, you and your family can learn about astronomy, view outer space with high-quality telescopes, talk to astronomers or astronomy students and participate in hands-on events. Outerspace, planets and stars are mysterious and magical for most kids and it is intriguing to learn what is beyond our planet Earth. Many of the events are free and held throughout the year. If you are looking for local planetariums and observatories, make sure to check out our list for those too!
Captain Scott Kelly: The Sky is Not the Limit, Hershey Theatre
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Enjoy the rare opportunity at the Hershey Theatre to see Astronaut Scott Kelly and hear his personal experiences of his work in space and with NASA. Some of his presentation is based on his book, Endurance: My Year In Space and Our Journey to Mars. His uplifting and inspirational presentation will challenge the audience to dream big, test themselves beyond their limits, and encourage them to go out of their comfort zone and do tough things.
Cost: Starts at $45/person, VIP Tickets are $150 and include a meet and greet with Scott Kelly
StarFest, Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Join StarFest, hosted by the ChesMont Astronomical Society, for a night of stargazing and fun. There will be kids educational activities, guest speakers on astronomy topics including Derrick Pitts, and a full night of gazing at the Universe, stars, planets, moon, constellations and more throughout outer space. Telescopes will be provided. Families are welcome to bring blankets, lawn chairs and their own picnic dinner. Food and drink concessions will also be available for purchase.
Mount Cuba Astronomical Observatory - Public and Family Nights
Public Nights: Select Mondays, 8pm
Family Nights (Late Spring to Early Fall): Select Fridays, 8:30pm
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Mount Cuba Astronomical Observatory offers fun and educational Public Nights and Family Nights. Designed for middle to high school students, or families with younger children, these events will teach simple astronomy with the opportunity to look at the sky through telescopes, and experience the magic of outer space. Visit the Kids' Corner for information on astronomy for kids, book recommendations and more. Reservations are required.
Age: Public Nights invite adults & students 5th grade+, Family Nights are designed for age 6-12
Cost: $3/adult, $2/child
Delaware Museum of Natural History - Night at the Museum and Star Party
Free with Museum admission
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: An exciting night of science and stars is featured at the Delaware Museum of Natural History. The night begins with live bird encounters, exploration of the Museum exhibits and Children's Nature Nook, games, science experiments, activities and crafts. Then the Delaware Astronomical Society will present to the guests and everyone will head outside to observe Fall and Winter constellations and maybe even some planets! Concessions will be available for purchase.
West Chester University - Mather Planetarium Shows
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Live shows and astronomy-themed movies about space, planets and more are held at the Mather Planetarium at West Chester University. Equipped with a state-of-the-art SciDome XD Touch Digital Projector, attendees will learn about science and outer space while experiencing exciting technological features.
Cost: Tickets are $6/person and must be purchased in advance, Free for children under 5 if sitting on a parent's lap
Widener University Observatory - Public Stargazing
Every Monday & First Friday of the Month
Time varies by season
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Widener University offers public stargazing sessions during the academic year with their professional astronomer professionals and student astronomers. They offer Monday Twilight Sessions to gaze at the planets, stars, nebulae, galaxies and clusters using the school's professional telescopes. They also have Friday evening sessions for your convenience.
Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers - Public Star Party
March-September, Select Dates, 7pm-10pm
Location & time may vary by date
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Join the Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers for public star gazing parties at different venues where you and your family can utilize provided telescopes, binoculars and other equipment to gaze at stars, planets, moon, galaxies, comets, nebulae, satellites, constellations and much more. Learn about outer space and the universe from their members and join in the fun of a night of science and exploration!
Philadelphia Science Festival - Citywide Star Party
Time varies by location
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Be a part of the one-night-only Citywide Star Gazing Party taking place in over 20 locations in PA and NJ! The event is part of the Philadelphia Science Festival and will enable communities to come together to view stars and constellations, become educated about astronomy, discover new things about the Universe and meet new friends. Local astronomers will bring telescopes and be on hand to talk with about everything related to astronomy.
Don't miss this fun night under the stars to educate yourselves and your children about the Universe!
Peter Van de Kamp Observatory at Swarthmore College - Public Viewing & Open House
Second Tuesday of the Month
Daylights Savings Time: 9pm-10pm
Standard Time: 8pm-9pm
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Swartmore College hosts monthly public stargazing events in the Peter Van de Kamp Observatory. Their high-powered telescopes enable the public to view planets, stars and more throughout outer space. Located on the roof of the Science Center, the Observatory allows for pristine views on clear nights.
Arcola Intermediate School - The Mallon Planetarium Evening Presentations
Select Dates, 6:30pm & 8pm
Day, time, age & topic vary by date
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Take a trip through time and space while experiencing captivating animated and digital educational full dome programs about space, the planets, stars, season and celestial highlights in the Mallon Planetarium at Arcola Intermediate School. Advance tickets guarantee seating.
Age: 5+ for the 6:30pm show, 10-12+ for 8pm show
Cost: $8/adult, $6/child
Villanova University Public Observatory
Open Monday-Thursday on regular class days during the Fall & Spring Semesters
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: The Villanova Public Observatory at Villanova University offers high quality telescopes and equipment for optimal viewing of the magic of the sky including planets, stars, galaxies and more. The Observatory is located in the Mendel Science Center. Astronomy students will be on hand to answer questions and offer assistance during the viewing events.
Strawbridge Observatory at Haverford College - Public Observing
Time varies by date
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Join the students of Haverford College for star gazing and planet watching nights. On select clear nights, student volunteers will be on hand to assist families with star gazing with the school's two telescopes as well as provide hands-on activities. Students will also give a talk on astronomy and answer your questions.
Star and Night Sky Watch, Green Lane Park
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Come out and enjoy the night sky with the Bucks-Mont Astronomical Association at Green Lane Park. Their experienced team will bring telescopes for families to use and will show you planets, starts, galaxies and more. They will share their knowledge and answer your questions about space and stargazing. Meet at the Red Trail Parking area at 2005 Knight Road at Green Lane Park. The rain date is October 22.
Shooting Stars and S'mores, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Witness the Summer Sky with the captivating meteor shower, the Perseids during a special event at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. Your family will also explore planets, constellations, stars and more with telescopes, star maps and laser pointers. To top it off, enjoy a campfire and fresh roasted S'mores while you're there. It will be a fun, family night!
Advanced Registration is suggested.
Edelman Planetarium at Rowan University - Observatory Open House
Once a month during each academic semester
Time varies by date
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: The Edelman Planetarium at Rowan University offers Observatory Open House events with their knowledgeable Astronomy staff and club members to gaze at the sky from the fourth floor observatory and learn about the wonders of the planets, stars and the galaxy.
Montgomery County Community College - Community Observatory Nights
Select Dates, 8pm-10pm
No community events during Winter Break (December-January) or May-August
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: In partnership with local astronomy associations, Montgomery County Community College hosts Community Observatory Nights. These are public stargazing events to view the sky, stars, planets and more on their observation deck. The full event calendar is here.
Montgomery County Community College - Young Arts Explorers: Janet's Planet
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Take part in Janet's Planet at the Science Center Theater at Montgomery County Community College. You and your child will enjoy an interactive performance by traveling at the speed of thought while discovering the wonders of the solar system. Your kids will love the excitement of this virtual tour across the universe! Your kids will also love Janet's Planet performance on Exploring Microgravity to explores and experiments with gravity and microgravity!
Cost: $15/adult, $5/child
The Franklin Institute - Night Skies in the Observatory
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: The Franklin Institute connects you and your family to outer space with monthly star gazing events hosted by their chief astronomer, Derrick Pitts. Guests will view stars, planets and nebulae using telescopes in the Bloom Observatory and Ben's Starlight Lounge on the Rooftop Deck.
While you're there, you can view planetarium shows about space, participate in hands-on astronomy activities and listen to live presentations on outer space and science. Attendees will receive complimentary star maps.
A Conversation with NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly, The Franklin Institute
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Attend an exclusive event to hear Astronaut Scott Kelly share his experiences from his exciting career. Kelly had four space flights, logged over 520 days in space and holds the record for the most consecutive days in space at 340 days. Kelly is also a retired U.S. Navy fighter pilot and test pilot. This event is held in conjunction with The Franklin Institute and the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.
Guests will receive a pre-signed paperback copy of Kelly's book, Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery.
Verizon Hall, Professor Brian Cox: "Universal: Adventures in Space and Time"
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Get an out-of-this world experience at "Universal: Adventures in Space and Time" presented by Professor Brian Cox. Held at Verizon Hall in the Kimmel Center, this ultra high-def event will take the attendees on an exploration of space from the big bang theory to black holes to the current exploration of planets and intelligence in the Universe. Check out videos in the link of Brian's work to see the magic for yourself. The event will conclude with an audience Q&A session.
Cost: Starts at $49/ticket
Da Vinci Science Center - Be the Astronaut
Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm & Sunday, 12pm-5pm
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Explore an Out-of-this-World Space Exhibit at the Da Vinci Science Center with Be the Astronaut! Check out 3D flight simulators to experience travel to the Moon, Jupiter, Mars and more! Take part in hands-on and interactive space activities such as Leo’s Creativity Studio to explore the challenges NASA astronauts had to solve to make it to the moon including launching, navigating, and landing. Discover science and technology for missions and spacecraft along with principles of physics - all relating to the wonders of Outer Space.
Cost: Included with admission
Science Under the Stars, Da Vinci Science Center
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Enjoy a special Outer Space Astronomy night at the DaVinci Science Center. The Lehigh Valley Amateur Astronomical Society will be on hand to assist with telescope observing of outer space. Kids can participate in hands-on astronomy activities and discover how science fiction has made an impact on technology. Families can explore exoplanets with a presentation by Dr. Joshua Pepper from Lehigh University. Kids can even dress up as their favorite sci-fi character! Food trucks will be available with concessions for purchase.
Cost: $5/child (3+), Free for children 2 & under
Star Party at Rail Park
6 pm - 10 pm
Kristy Pepping: Join Mural Arts Philadelphia for Star Party at Rail Park. This annual event invites you to bring a blanket and stargaze. There will also be performances by BalletX, outdoor workshops and art activities. REI will be holding raffles with giveaways the entire time.
Night Sky Campout, Parkside Place Park, Upper Gwynedd Township
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Take part in a super fun Night Sky Campout at Parkside Place Park to view the night sky, sleep under the stars and take part in family-friendly activities such as an obstacle course, games, inflatables, bubble soccer and more. Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be shown and families can sit beside the campfire and make S'mores too! Frozen Island Desserts will serve shaved ice and a bagel breakfast will be provided by Everything Bagel Cafe. Bring your own tent and sleeping bags.Registration required.
Cost: Free with donation of non-perishable item. All donations go to MANNA.
The Lehigh Valley Amateur Astronomical Society - Star Parties
6 PM and 8 PM (Planetarium Show)
7 PM (Talk Presentation)
7 PM (Observatories Open)
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: The Lehigh Valley Amateur Astronomical Society offers monthly Star Parties with Planetarium Shows, Educational Talks and the chance to do some real Star Gazing with the help of their talented members. On clear nights, you and your family will be able to look at the Moon, planets, star clusters or even a distant galaxy using one of their high-powered telescopes. These events are open to the community.
Tip: Seating is first come first served, and parking is limited.
Cost: $3 donation/per adult
227 Days in Space, Bristol Riverside Theatre
Space activities: 5:30pm
Program Begins: 6:30pm
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Gather your family for a super cool space event, 227 Days in Space with former NASA Astronaut Daniel Bursch, held at Bristol Riverside Theatre. He will share his experiences in outer space as well as his career in the Navy and NASA. Astronaut Bursch will also answer your questions! This event is hosted with Grundy Memorial Library.
Get there early to take part in space activities, see NASA equipment, Moon Rocks and artifacts, take photos in the Photo Booth and more! Kids can wear their favorite space shirts and gear. Tickets are available on 8/13/18. Limit of six per person.
Star Watch/Astronomy Night, Rancocas Nature Center
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Join the Rancocas Nature Center for an evening under the stars to star gaze, search for planets, constellations, and more outer space wonders with a local astronomical society. Telescopes and other optics will be provided and experienced guides will assist the attendees in exploring the beauty of the night sky.
Registration is required. It is suggested to bring a flashlight and chair(s).
Cost: $15/person or $40/family
Primary photo: Sadman Sakib on Unsplash
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