It has several interactive exhibits, two theaters, and is free to enter. The location, however, is less than ideal unless you’re downtown anyway. Is the Clark Planetarium worth visiting?
Is the Clark Planetarium Worth Visiting?: Things to Consider
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Is the Clark Planetarium Worth Visiting?
1. Where is Clark Planetarium?
The property is located at 110 S 400 W in downtown Salt Lake City. If you’re in the area anyway, the location is convenient. If you’re not, it’s a giant pain to access.
2. How Much is Clark Planetarium?
Is the Clark Planetarium free? It sure is. You can get into the building and play with the exhibits at no charge. The shows are extra.
3. Clark Planetarium Parking
Park in Gateway’s South parking garage. The first hour is free, but after that, you’ll have to pay a rate of approximately $2 per hour.
Alternatively, the Utah Transit Authority has a Planetarium stop if you need to use public transportation.
Pro tip: Get a validation coupon from the Planetarium for discounted parking.
4. Salt Lake Planetarium Hours
As of the time of this writing, the property is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10:00 a.m. through 10:45 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Note: The interactive exhibits close at 7:00 p.m. every day. After that time, you can only access the theaters.
Pro tip: Arrive early. The property is best enjoyed without others.
Bonus pro tip: If you have the luxury of visiting on a weekday, it will be less crowded than the weekends. Arrive right at opening to avoid large groups of children on field trips.
5. How Long Do You Need?
The property has exhibits that take up about 10,000 square feet and cover three floors. This isn’t as large as it may sound to people like me who have no concept of distance. This will not be an all day event. You can easily knock it out in two hours. If you want to see a movie, tack on an hour.
6. Clark Planetarium Exhibits
In addition to the exhibits below, there is a giant display that spans multiple floors wherein balls travel through various tracks. Kids can move levers to redirect the balls.
The Far Out section is located on the third floor. It has exhibits about stars and black holes.
Pro tip: In a stroke of pure money making genius, the Planetarium set up a display in this area where you can send bounce balls through a funnel. You purchase said bounce balls from a large gumball machine. Bring change.
Is the Clark Planetarium worth it? When it comes to this section, young kids would argue that it is. The Impact! section is located on the first floor. There, you will find a 1,700 pound meteorite and a game where you can repel asteroids with arm movements.
Pro tip: The asteroid game is popular. Kids just can’t get enough. Try to visit at off times to share it with fewer people.
The Io exhibit is located on the third floor. It is meant to give one the impression that he or she is standing on Jupiter’s closest moon. It has trippy lighting and rovers that only work some of the time.
The Moon exhibit is located on the first floor. It features moon rocks and Lunar Landers.
Planetary Processes is located on the third floor. It has exhibits about the solar system and comets.
Restless Planet is located on the first floor. Highlights of this area include a large pendulum and a simulated tornado.
The Space Weather section is located on the second floor near the theaters and concession stand. It houses a few exhibits involving screens and magnetic fields.
Pro tip: This area gets super crowded due to foot traffic from the shows. Try to visit early.
7. There is a Play Area
Exploration Space is a small play area on the third floor for young children only. It. Gets. Crowded. If this bothers you, visit early.
8. There Are Both IMAX and Dome Theaters
You can enter the property and play with the interactive exhibits for free, but the movies cost extra. As of the time of this writing, adult tickets cost $7 for shows before 5:00 p.m. and $9 for evening shows. Kids’ tickets are $7 all day.
Both offer a ton of options. Check the Clark Planetarium movie schedules before you visit to decide what you want to see.
Pro tip: Kids ages two and under are free.
Bonus pro tip: Members get into the Clark Planetarium shows for free.
9. You Can See a Clark Planetarium Light Show on the Weekend
You can see a laser light show, Freaks and Geeks style, on weekend evenings.
10. There Are Ways to Save on Clark Planetarium Tickets
Clark Planetarium admission is free, but the shows and concession stands are not. There are ways to shave some cost off of the extras.
Clark Planetarium Membership
Do you plan to visit more than once? Are the shows important to you? If so, a membership may make sense.
In addition to free shows, you get discounts at the gift shop, cheaper concessions, and membership to the Association of Science and Technology Centers that gets you into a lot of other museums.
Travel with a Group
Groups of 20 or more can purchase discounted show tickets.
Note: You must email the property ahead of time to receive this discount.
Clark Planetarium Groupon Deals
You may be able to find deals for membership and shows on Groupon.
Association of Science and Technology Centers Members Get Free Admission to the Dome Theater
Already a member of another science museum? If you have access to the Association of Science and Technology Centers reciprocity program, you get into the the dome theater for free.
Salt Lake Connect Attractions Pass
Visiting multiple tourist attractions in Salt Lake City? The Salt Lake Connects Attractions Pass gets you into multiple tourist attractions and includes admission to both theaters.
Final Thoughts – Is the Clark Planetarium Worth Visiting?
Is the Clark Planetarium worth visiting? The price is right. There’s no doubt about it. If you are in the area, I would not hesitate to stop. However, given the size of the facility and the inconvenient location, I do not believe it is worth a special trip into the city.