From fascinating shows on the stars & planets to an engaging, open-air Science Park; the Nehru Planetarium is one of the most beautiful public spaces in Bangalore that a child of any age-group can enjoy. Definitely, an afternoon worth spending.
As a mother of a 5 year old, there’s not a single day when I’m not bombarded with a slew of questions. While, I try to answer some of them in the best possible way, sometimes I just don’t know enough for a convincing answer. A few search queries on the smart phone certainly does the trick in such situations.
A recent quiz session turned out to be on the space and planets. “Mama, what’s a solar system and where is the galaxy?” “How far is the space and what’s there to see?” “How can I go there?” and so on and so forth… I explained the theory behind all this but, it just wasn’t enough to feed his curious mind.
This was a perfect opportunity to follow-up with a visit to the Nehru Planetarium. Coincidentally, I got to know of a show playing at the planetarium so we decided to head there on a Saturday afternoon.
Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, located in the heart of the city is easily accessible, with ample amount of free parking. We reached the gate with just 20 minutes left for the show to start. With the parking and getting tickets done swiftly, we had sometime to spare. So we took a walk around the planetarium to see what it had to offer.
Why kids will love it
Opposite the main building is the ‘Science Park’, with interesting exhibits. Though some of the exhibits were not functioning to their best, it was still quite fascinating and fun to go through this outdoor area. A great place of entertainment for even the little tots.
My son took to the beautiful and magnificently large Indian Flag standing alone at a great height! He just stood gazing at it for a few minutes in absolute awe.
They also have a ‘Nandini Stall’ selling only Nandini products – just adequate to feed the kids’ suddenly acquired appetite!
What we liked
The planetarium is divided into two main parts – the Sky Theatre and the Exhibition Hall. The Sky Theatre is a small structure with a hemispherical mirror dome which seats around 210 people at a time. They have two main shows – ‘The Dawn Of the Space Age’ and ‘The Solar System’. We had come in time to attend the latter. The entry into the theatre was quick and efficient. Once in, I recommend you choose your seats with their guidance to avoid any neck pains later.
Before the actual show starts, they have a 5-10 min show namely “Science Watch” that highlights the recent advances in technology – may be a little too advanced for our little ones.
‘Dawn of the Space Age’
This show is about the different challenges that were faced in space travel before reaching the stage of landing on the moon highlighting the difficulties they had on launching a satellite in the first place. The show covered everything from the 1st ever satellite launched in space successfully, the first men setting foot in space, to the evolution space ships. Even though this show is more apt for slightly older children my 5-year-old was quite fascinated with the footage of the different space ships taking off, and he enjoyed watching the riding of a vehicle on the moon’s surface.
Kannada – 2:30 pm
English – 1:30 pm
‘Our Solar System’
This is a 40 minute show which first amazes you with the beautiful night sky as seen from Bangalore and then proceeds to introduce the audience to the prominent constellations, mythological stories associated with them, the planets and their motion around the Sun and the Earth. All this viewed using 3D animations and projected on the full dome create for fascinating viewing for both you and your child.
At the end you come away with an educational tour for both you and your child. For me, it put me back in touch with astronomy, the night sky and our planets that go so often unnoticed in our humdrum lives and for my child it was like opening up a plethora of questions to explore our universe as he knows it.
Incidentally, ‘Our Solar System’ is the first full dome show created in India.
Kannada – 11:30 am and 3:30 pm
English – 12:30 pm and 4:30 pm
‘The Red Planet’
The latest addition to the shows running at the planetarium is ‘The Red Planet’ or Mars as we know it. ‘The Red Planet’ is a forty minute, fully digital show featured in a full dome format.
Kannada – 3:30 pm
English – 4:30 pm and 5:30 pm
‘Know Your Stars’
This is another popular show, which is held on the first Sunday of every month in the evening. It highlights the night sky viewing and also has a lecture that is conducted inside the Sky Theatre. A special sky chart is handed over to the visitors and are also taught how to read it. It is followed by viewing the moon, planets and stars in the open sky through telescopes provided by the planetarium.
The Moon – a scientific story
This show is only available on block booking.
The Exhibition Hall
The exhibition hall is a fairly small area, but well-equipped with colourful posters and 3D models. There’s enough space for kids to walk around though with guidance as they have a few exhibits displayed that are not meant to be touched.
Near the entrance is a small book stall, that sells you everything from books to DIY projects on science.
The highlight of the place is the special weighing machine that tells you what you would weigh on different planets and the moon. A printed copy is also handed to you for Rs. 5 only – a great souvenir for your child.
Tips for parents
- The planetarium is shut every Monday and the second Tuesday of the month.
- Kids below 5 years are not allowed inside the Sky Theatre. They can enjoy their time at the Science Park or the Exhibition Hall.
- The theatre has very strict rules, they do not permit any outside food or water inside the Sky Theatre. Using of cameras and phone are also strictly prohibited inside the Sky Theatre.
- They also have a ‘Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium Club’ which sends out all the latest activities by email, registration details are available at their office.
The planetarium has a variety of different workshops. Detailed information is available at their office or on their website.
The cost of the ticket for adults is Rs.35/- per person and Rs.20/- for kids