Arkansas SkyDome Portable Planetarium and Science Museum

Explore science and the wonders of the night sky with our portable planetarium and mobile science museum!

AstroScan Observatory provides entertaining and educational space related programs for schools and organizations across Arkansas and our surrounding states. Our programs are conducted by Stephen Meeks, who brings over 30 years of stargazing experience and passion to our events.

Our inflatable SkyDome sets up easily in your location, bringing a star-filled planetarium to your site. Science exhibits include meteorites, rocket / aircraft models, astronaut autographs, rock and soil samples from around the world, fossils and more. Age appropriate and weather permitting we bring telescopes for safe viewing of the Sun, Moon, planets and other celestial wonders.

More convenient and less costly than a field trip, these programs are suitable for every age group.

Our programs aren’t just for schools.  Scouts need help getting their Astronomy badge? Your library or community group want to setup a pubic program or a stargazing event? Would your church like to learn more about God’s creation? Learn more about some of our programs below:

 

Schedule A Program
For more information or to schedule a program contact Stephen at:
observatory@arkansassky.com or 501.314.9250

  • If possible please schedule programs at least two weeks in advance.
  • We can also help you pick dates based on night sky events, such as moon phase.

 

Below you’ll find a list of exhibits we bring, background on our presenter, and some reviews.


SkyDome Program Rates, Requirements and Travel Fee. 

Rates*:

School Programs    
School Full Day:    $250
School Astronomy Night:   $100
School Day / Night Combined:   $300
Math / Science Night (In Faulkner County, AR)   Free
Math / Science Night (outside Faulkner County, AR)   $75
     
Non-School Organizations (In Faulkner County, AR)    
Small Group Program    $50
Large Group Program    $75
Full Day Program   $250
     
Non-School Organizations (outside Faulkner County, AR)    
Small Group Program   $75
Large Group Program   $100
Full Day Program   $300

Small groups: 
Usually 50 people or less requiring one or two planetarium shows and lasting 1 – 1.5 hours.  The program includes the planetarium show(s), exhibits and solar / telescope observing. It can be either a day or evening program.

Large groups: 
Usually for groups of 50-125 people requiring three to five planetarium shows and lasting 1.5 – 3 hours.  The programs includes the planetarium shows, exhibits and solar / telescope observing. It can be either a day or evening program.

Full Day Program:
For larger groups or community events that require three or more hours. Programs include planetarium shows, exhibits and solar / telescope observing.  Can be day, evening, or both programs.

Not sure which group?  Rates are based primarily on time more so than number of planetarium programs or people.  Contact us for a quote if you have questions or have unusual circumstances.

*Rates do not include travel fee.  See below.

Site Requirements:Arkansas SkyDome

  • Indoor room (Gym, Cafeteria, etc.) Minimum floor space: 30 feet by 30 feet
  • Minimum ceiling height: 12 feet with no obstructions (light fixtures, etc.)
  • Easy access to parking to bring in and take out equipment
  • 2 grounded 120-volt standard electrical outlets.
  • Clean, swept floor.
  • ~45 minutes to setup / breakdown equipment
  • For telescope use – Nearby outdoor location to setup telescope equipment that is easy for students to transition to and is secure between groups.
  • For multi-day programs, secure location to lock up equipment overnight.

 

Program Information & Requirements:

  • Maximum capacity:
    • Grades K-4:      27 students
    • Grades 4-7:       25 students
    • Grades 8-Adult: 22 people M20150316_201449__P
  • Programs are 30-60 minutes long depending on your need.
  • A teacher / parent must be present during programs and accompany student’s inside planetarium.
  • Organization provides 2-4 tables for us to setup the exhibits.
  • Unless other arrangements are made, program fee due on the date of the programs.
  • Plan on 45 min. – 1 hour lunch / dinner break for SkyDome hosts where applicable.
  • Organization assumes responsibility for theft or damage to equipment / exhibits caused by attendees beyond normal wear and tear.

 

General Service Area Map. Click to Enlarge

Travel Fee

  • A $1 / mile travel fee is accessed for groups outside Faulkner County, Arkansas (our home county). The rate is $.50 there and $.50 back and is loosely based on the Federal IRS mileage rate.
  • For multi-day events or events booked on consecutive days with other groups nearby, contact us for a travel fee quote.

 

Service Area – Arkansas & Surrounding States.
We travel anywhere in Arkansas. Contact us about the possibility of a visit if you are in a surrounding state.

 

Photo of a night time Space Shuttle launch taken through a telescope from the Kennedy Space Center Press Site by SkyDome Presenter Stephen Meeks.

Space Shuttle Launch photographed by Stephen Meeks

 

Exhibits Include:

  • Rocket / Aircraft Models
  • Meteorites
  • NASA Space Shuttle Launch Photos
  • Astronaut Autographs
  • NASA Mission Patches / Coins
  • Astronomical Photographs
  • Soil Samples from around the world
  • Fossils
  • Weather Instruments
  • Geology Specimens
meeks About our Presenter: Stephen Meeks

Mr. Meeks is a dynamic educator who has a passion for astronomy.  He presents the material in a fun, enthusiastic way that catches student’s attention and tries to evoke a sense of awe and wonder.  His goal is not to just teach facts, but how to do and participate. He has been presenting public programs since the early 1990s and has taught kindergarten through senior citizens.

  • 30 years of star gazing experience.
  • 6 year as an adjunct college astronomy professor.
  • Press Representative at Kennedy Space Center for Space Shuttle Launches.
  • 2-Term President of the Northeast Florida Astronomical Society.
  • Active Stargazer.

The Reviews are in….
From elementary, scouts, teachers, college students, and grandparents!

  • Elementary School – “Our kids really enjoyed the experience. You guys do an amazing job.”
  • Dottie – Cub Scouts “The boys certainly enjoyed the slide presentation and the observations. They were full of questions and very interested in what you had to say. Due to your efforts these boys earned their science belt loops.”
  • Janet – “The Foster Grandparents really enjoyed the show you gave Friday. You have a nice sense of humor mixed with your expertise of the subject”
  • Marilyn – Elementary Teacher “Thank you very much for the wonderful program last night! We loved it.”
  • Drew – 2nd Grader “I really liked the slide show and I loved looking through the telescope.”
  • Chester – 2nd Grader “Thank you for shareing your time. It was the frist time I looked in a telescope.”
  • Anonymous College Student “The unique things we learned that were not in [our] book.”