Ritter Planetarium and Brooks Observatory


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Main Campus

Phone: 419.530.2650

24-Hour Information Hotline


School Programs

We offer standards-based, developmentally-appropriate programs for pre-school through 12th grade students year round. These programs utilize our new state-of-the-art fulldome projection system and are visually stimulating, informative, and entertaining.  They are a radical departure from the old fashioned analog planetariums of the past.  If you don’t see a program that meets your needs, let us know.  We can usually create a customized program just for you and your students at no additional charge. 

Please contact Alex Mak at amak@utnet.utoledo.edu, or 419.530.4641 if you have any questions regarding which program might be best for your students, or if you have questions regarding the Ohio or Michigan Science Standards.

What you can expect

The feature presentation typically run about 25 minutes, and is followed by a live, interactive tour of the night sky and a discussion of current astronomical events all catered to your students’ particular grade level and interests. This is followed by a question and answer session. In total, a typical visit lasts about an hour, not counting time to look at many displays in the lobby. 


Double Features

You may pair any two programs including fulldome, classic, or the Journey package together to create a double feature for a very modest additional charge. Most double features last about an hour and a half and include an intermission at your discretion. 


Admission to the planetarium is $6 per student for a single feature and $8 for a double feature. There is no charge for accompanying adults. We do have a minimum fee of $120 for a single feature and $160 for a double feature for groups of 20 or less. 

 Scheduling Your Trip

Reservations are required for all field trips. Please call 419.530.2650 to make your reservations at least three weeks in advance. For more information on the programs we offer, including possible tours of the observatory or evening observing sessions, please call Alex Mak at 419.530.4641 or email at amak@utnet.utoledo.edu


Full-Dome Programs


Big Bird Poster

One World, One Sky, Big Bird's Adventure
(Pre-school through 1st grade)

This is the perfect age-appropriate introduction to the night sky for children ages three and half to six.  One World, One Sky, Big Bird’s Adventure is a fulldome show that follows Sesame Street's Big Bird and Elmo as they explore the night sky with Hu Hu Zhu, a Muppet from China. Together they take an imaginary trip from Sesame Street to the Moon, where they discover how different it is from Earth. One World, One Sky, Big Bird’s Adventure aims to nurture a child's natural sense of wonder about the night sky while connecting kids across nations through a common bond in learning about the sky. 

View the One World, One Sky, Big Bird's Adventure trailer 

Teacher's guide for One World, One Sky, Big Bird's Adventure

Alien Poster

The Alien Who Stole Christmas
(K through 4th grade)

Take a brisk walk on clear winter evening and look at the stars and constellations overhead without ever leaving your comfortable seat in the planetarium. Then tag along with Santa as he meets Mr. Freep, an alien from another world. Together they head of on a cosmic adventure taking them to the farthest regions of our Solar System. Will Santa make it back in time to deliver his toys to the children of Earth? Join for us this holiday season for The Alien Who Stole Christmas, an amusing, entertaining, and educational program for children aged four to ten and Santa fans of all ages. 

Zula Patrol Under the Weather Banner

Zula Patrol:  Under the Weather
(also in Spanish)

(2nd through 4th grade)

Explore the solar system with the Zula Patrol! Learn all about weather, both here on Earth and on other planets as well. Your students will experience a dust storm on Mars, a hurricane on Jupiter, and the incredible heat on Venus. 

View the Zula Patrol:  Under the Weather trailer

Teacher's guide for Zula Patrol:  Under the Weather

The Case of the Disappearing Planet Banner

The Case of the Disappearing Planet
(3rd through 7th grade)

A radio announcement… an excited phone call… and our sly gumshoe, Skye Watcher, is on the case. Explore with Skye and discover what happened to the ex-planet Pluto as she tracks down clues that stretch back hundreds of years! Audiences will have great fun with this unique program that looks into the changing status of planets in our Solar System.

View the Case of the Disappearing Planet trailer

Two Small Pieces of Glass Banner

Two Small Pieces of Glass
(5th through 9th grade) 

Two Small Pieces of Glass traces the history of the telescope from Galileo's modifications to a child's spyglass—using two small pieces of glass—to the launch of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the future of astronomy. It explores the wonder and discovery made by astronomers throughout the last 400 years. The students explore the Galilean Moons, Saturn's rings, and spiral structure of galaxies as well as learning about the future of astronomy. 

View the Two Small Pieces of Glass trailer

Teacher's guide for Two Small Pieces of Glass

Oasis in Space Banner

Oasis in Space
(5th through 12th grade) 

During this visual stunning program your students will travel through the solar system in search of liquid water, life, and another oasis in space like our Earth. The program looks at the formation of the solar system, and the physical characteristics of the planets, and some of their larger moons. 

View the Oasis in Space trailer

Teacher's guide for Oasis in Space

IBEX:  Search for the Edge of the Solar System Banner

IBEX:  Search for the Edge of the Solar System
(5th through 12th grade) 

Investigate the boundary between our Solar System and the rest of our galaxy in IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System. Students will learn about science research and engineering as the show follows the creation of NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX). Get an in-depth look at the mission, and how IBEX is mapping our Solar System's boundary. Narrated by two inquisitive teenagers, audiences will hear from the developers of the IBEX mission, and get the latest updates on the mission's discoveries. 

Black Holes banner

Black Holes, the Other Side of Infinity 
(also in Spanish)
th through 12th grade)

Narrated by Academy-Award nominated actor Liam Neeson, this cutting-edge production features high-resolution visualizations of cosmic phenomena, working with data generated by computer simulations, to bring the current science of black holes to the dome screen.

Your students will enjoy the striking, immersive animations of the formation of the early universe, star birth and death, the collision of giant galaxies, and a simulated flight to a super- massive black hole lurking at the center of our own Milky Way Galaxy. 

View the Black Holes, The Other Side of Infinity trailer 

Teacher's guide for Black Holes, the Other Side of Infinity

Dynamic Earth banner 

The Dynamic Earth
(also in Spanish)

th through 12th grade)

This thrilling program examines the Earth’s climate engine, the Carbon Cycle. Your students will travel from far-flung Venus to beneath the Earth’s seas to understand why the Earth is capable of supporting life, and how that life, from plankton to people, interacts with that very same Carbon Cycle. This is the perfect program for astronomy, earth science, and biology classes! 

View the Dynamic Earth trailer 

Teacher's guide for Dynamic Earth


Stars:  The Powerhouses of the Universe
(5th through 12th grade)

Stars focuses on how stars are born, how they die, and how human understanding of them has changed over time. From Native Americans to Newton, from the electromagnetic spectrum to Einstein, audiences will explore nebulae, star clusters, pulsars, black holes, and more. 

View the Stars trailer

Teachers guide for Stars:  The Powerhouse of the Universe

Birth of the Solar System

The Birth of the Solar System
(5th through 12th grade)

Travel back in time nearly five billion years and watch the birth of our solar system. Learn how the Sun and planets formed, and how astronomers have pieced together the clues of our ancient origins. Stunning graphics and a riveting soundtrack are bound to captivate everyone in this exciting new program. 

View the Birth of the Solar System trailer

Earthquake  Earthquake:  Evidence of a Restless Planet
(5th through 12th grade)

A sweeping geological journey, Earthquake: Evidence of a Restless Planet explores the forces that transform the surface of our planet. Fly along the San Andreas Fault before diving into the planet’s interior. Journey back in time to witness the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and the break-up of Pangaea 200 million years ago. Learn how scientist and engineers collaborate to help society prepare for a safer environment and a safer future. 

View the Earthquake trailer

Back to the Moon Back to the Moon for Good
(5th through 12th grade)

Back to the Moon for Good looks at Google’s X-Prize competition to return to the Moon. This fast paced look at mankind’s exploration of the moon in the past, the present, and the future. 



(5th through 12th grade)

Throughout Earth’s violent history, impacts from comets and asteroids have mercilessly shaped its surface. The ancient barrage continues today; from harmless meteorsto mountain sized boulders wandering perilously close to Earth. Terrifying and majestic, these invaders from space are capable of utter destruction yet they have delivered life- giving water and most of the organic materials necessary for life. This ceaseless Firefall is our only tangible connection to the universe beyond and is an ever-present reminder of our own humble beginnings in the hostile environment. 

View the Firefall trailer


Tales of the Maya Skies
(also in Spanish)

(5th through 12th grade)

Tales of the Maya Skies is a digital fulldome show with a custom score and visuals that immerses the audience in Mayan astronomy, art, and culture.  Narrated by Latin Grammy award winner Lila Downs, Tales of the Maya Skies inspires and educates through its description of the Maya's accurate astronomical achievements and how astronomy connected them to the Universe. 

View the Tales of the Maya Skies trailer

Teacher's guide for Tales of the Maya Skies

Classic Programs


Follow the Drinking Gourd
(2nd through 6th grade) 

This classic program, based on the children’s book of the same title, examines how slaves living in the South before the Civil War used the stars to guide them to the North and freedom. Your students will learn the song they sung, and also learn about the seasons and constellations. We suggest you consider this program for Black History Month. 

Looking for Journey through the Solar System? 

Journey Through the Solar System was our classic live solar system program from 1988 through 2011. While we’ve retired the title, we still offer the same content in a new, more exciting format. For younger students we suggest the Zula Patrol and for older students Oasis in Space. Whichever program you choose, it will be augment with a substantial live section.  Just request the Journey Through the Solar System package! 


Last Updated: 3/24/15