AdventureDome Portable Planetarium

“Have Stars, Will Travel!”
AdventureDome Portable Planetarium

What is AdventureDome? AdventureDome is a portable planetarium made from a flame retardant industrial grade polymer fabric. The 22-ft diameter dome is held up by air pressure from a fan. It can accommodate classes or groups of up to 30.

How is PARI’s AdventureDome used? PARI’s AdventureDome is used for school programs as well as for the public, teacher workshops, camps and other special venues. Most school programs are designed to support the North and South Carolina curricula at the appropriate grade levels. All programs are presented by an astronomer/educator from PARI. AdventureDome is portable and can be set up in your facility (space limitations below) but you can also schedule your class or group to visit the PARI campus and include a AdventureDome program in your visit.

Where will the AdventureDome fit in my facility? The AdventureDome requires a clean indoor 27’ x 27’ floor space with a 13½’ vertical clearance. In most schools this requires that a gym, media center or large multipurpose room be reserved for the exclusive use of the AdventureDome.

Is there a charge for programs? Since PARI is a not-for-profit organization, it is necessary to recoup the operating costs associated with providing these programs. AdventureDome can come to your school or program for a half-day (1-4 programs) or a full day (5-6 programs). The fees for AdventureDome are:

North Carolina Counties Number of Programs
County 3 – 4 5 or More
Transylvania $300 $400
Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson $325 $425
Jackson, Macon, Polk $350 $450
Clay, Graham, Swain, Madison $375 $475
Avery, Burke Caldwell, Cherokee, Cleveland, Mitchell $425 $525
Rutherford, McDowell, Yancey $400 $500
South Carolina Counties Number of Programs
County 3 – 4 5 or More
Pickens $325 $425
Rabun, Greenville, Oconee $350 $450
Towns, Habersham, Stephens, Anderson, Spartanburg $375 $475
Laurens, Cherokee $425 $525
York $450 $550



  1. Due to driving time from PARI’s campus in Transylvania County, a per diem fee of $125 per day will be added if the PARI instructor needs to stay overnight to maintain the agreed scheduled.  Contacts for the scheduled organizations will be informed of this charge prior to the session.
  2. Programs are limited to 30 students per session.
  3. Programs are generally 45 minutes (grades 3–HS) or 30 minutes (PreK – grades 1-2). Please plan on a minimum of 5, preferably 10, minutes between programs for classes to exit and enter and the presenter to set up for the next presentation.
  4. For fees in all other counties, contact Christi Whitworth at or (828) 862-5554.

AdventureDome Planetarium Programs:

NC Grade/CourseSC Grade/CourseProgram Title
Earth & Environmental ScienceRadio Sky
Grade 1, MathGrade 1, MathShapes and Patterns in the Sky
Grades 1, 4 and 6, ScienceGrade 4, ScienceThe Moon and Stars: Now You See Them; Now You Don’t
Grade 2 and 6, ScienceGrade 4, ScienceReasons for the Seasons
Grades 4 and 7, Social StudiesGrades 2, 4 and 6, Social StudiesStars of My People
Grade 5, Social StudiesGrade 4, Social StudiesStars of Lewis and Clark
Grade 3 , ScienceGrades 4 and 8, ScienceRealm of the Planets
Earth/Environmental Science
and Physical Science
Motions in the Sky
Grades PreK-8 and special groupsThe Sky Tonight

Radio Sky


Suggested for Earth and Environmental Science

Concepts: optical and radio astronomy, Milky Way

The observable universe beyond the thin slice of the visible spectrum is often overlooked. Radio Sky immerses the audience in the radio universe, yielding a firsthand experience with a part of the electromagnetic spectrum of which most are unaware. The program consists of a radio view of the Milky Way projected on the portable planetarium dome which can be removed and replaced with the visible sky view of the Milky Way. Newspapers and magazines, television and the Internet provide almost daily news about discoveries in astronomy that have been made at radio, millimeter, infrared, ultraviolet, x-ray, and gamma-ray wavelengths. This program can help the public relate to these discoveries and become excited about them.  


Return to AdventureDome Planetarium Programs

Shapes and Patterns in the Sky

30 minutes

Suggested for Grade 1 Mathematics

Concepts: constellations, circles, squares, rectangles, ovals, trapezoids, etc.

Starting with the current night sky we learn how astronomers find their way around the heavens using familiar shapes and patterns. We find the Great Square of Pegasus (fall), the Winter Circle around Orion the Hunter, the backwards question mark of Leo the Lion (spring) and the Summer Triangle. We use the familiar Big Dipper to find the North Star and constellations such as Boötes the bear-driver (a kite). In our search we might just find a coat hanger, an ice cream cone and a tea kettle. There is even a constellation named Triangulum.

Return to AdventureDome Planetarium Programs

The Moon and Stars: Now You See Them; Now You Don’t

45 minutes

Suggested for Grade 1, 4 & 6 (NC) or 4 (SC) Science

Concepts: constellations, diurnal motion of the stars, phases and location of the Moon

Starting with a model we observe the daily and annual motions of the Earth and the monthly orbit of the Moon. We then use the planetarium to learn some of the constellations visible in the current evening sky and look for the Moon. Through activities in the planetarium we model the changing phase and position of our closest neighbor. We also observe how the stars move in the sky as the Earth rotates on its axis.

Return to AdventureDome Planetarium Programs

The Reason for the Seasons

45 minutes

Suggested for Grade 2 and 6 (NC) or Grade 4 (SC) Science

Concepts: constellations, seasons, height of the noonday sun, length of the day, rising and setting points of the Sun

Starting with a model, we talk about the tilt of the Earth on its axis as the reason for the seasons. We then use the planetarium to learn some of the constellations visible in the current evening sky. Then we move to daytime in the planetarium to observe how the height of the noontime sun, the length of the day and the sunset points change with the seasons.

Return to AdventureDome Planetarium Programs

Stars of My People

45 minutes

Suggested for Grade 4 or 7 (NC) or 2, 4 or 6 (SC) Social Studies

Concepts: constellations and sky legends from various cultures: Native American, African, Chinese, Mayan and Australian Bushman

In studying the sky we normally familiarize ourselves with the so-called classical sky of the ancient Greeks. But peoples of other cultures had equally rich and interesting traditions. We sample some of these to give the student an appreciation of the rich diversity peoples of many cultures had in their views of the sky and the legends they told about it.

Return to AdventureDome Planetarium Programs

Stars of Lewis and Clark

45 minutes

Suggested for Grade 5 (NC) or 4 (SC) Social Studies

Concepts:  constellations, the Moon, angular measurement, time and time zones, latitude and longitude, exploration of the West

200 years ago Meriwether Lewis and William Clark returned from their exploration of the Louisiana Purchase. In the days before GPS, how did they know where they were? Using nine navigational stars and the Moon and making angular measurements in the sky they were able to determine their latitude and longitude as they compiled a map of their journey.

Return to AdventureDome Planetarium Programs

Realm of the Planets

45 minutes

Suggested for Grade 3 (NC) or 4 or 8 (SC) Science

Concepts: constellations, the zodiac and ecliptic, the planets, motions of the Sun

Starting with the current locations of the planets in their orbits, we move to the current evening sky and note where the planets appear among the zodiacal constellations. The apparent motion of the Sun around the ecliptic sets the stage for a discussion of equinoxes and solstices.

Return to AdventureDome Planetarium Programs

Motions in the Sky

45 minutes

Suggested for Earth/Environmental or Physical Science

Concepts: constellations, colors of stars, motions of the planets, the Sun and Moon, the Milky Way, Doppler shift, optical & radio astronomy

In viewing the constellations of the current night sky, we note the colors of stars and locations of planets. We note the apparent motion of the Sun around the ecliptic. Looking at the Milky Way we find out how astronomers, using the Doppler shift in both optical and radio wavelengths, map out its structure.

Return to AdventureDome Planetarium Programs

The Sky Tonight

25-45 minutes depending on age level

Suggested for PreK-8 and special groups

Concepts: constellations, mythology, locating the planets and moon

We all have a sky at night. We look at the current evening sky, noting the major constellations of the season and locating the Moon and any planets that might be visible. Using the planetarium projector we note how stars move as the night progresses.

Return to AdventureDome Planetarium Programs

Are the programs listed the only ones available?  The programs listed are specifically designed to support areas of the North and South Carolina curricula.  However, the presenter is able to modify these or present other topics on request.

How do I schedule PARI’s AdventureDome programs? Send your preferred dates as early as possible to:

By mail:AdventureDome
Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
One PARI Drive
Rosman, NC 28772
By fax: 828-862-5877
By telephone: 828-862-5554