A fun and educational experience of astronomical proportions is coming to Downtown Paris. SkyDome, a mobile planetarium, will offer virtual tours through the solar system daily on Friday and Saturday, March 29 and 30.
The 35-foot wide, 15-foot tall inflatable planetarium will be in the former Paris High School Gymnasium at 215 East Houston Street. The shows promise to dazzle budding astronomers of all ages as they experience a virtual field trip through the universe.
“The idea came up when some of us were discussing how to help our citizens get the most out of the total solar eclipse in April,” City of Paris Main Street Project Coordinator Cheri Bedford said. “I thought finding a large indoor location downtown to house the planetarium might be a challenge, but Harrison, Walker and Harper offered the use of the historic PHS gym one block north of Lamar Avenue.”
The 45-minute presentations will take 80 viewers per showtime to a star-filled sky and journey into the universe. A navigator guides attendees through the stars of the Northern Hemisphere exactly as they appear on the day of the presentation. Multiple 45-minute show times are available between 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Friday, March 29, and between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 30. Reservations are required. Find the mobile planetarium banner on www.ParisTexas.gov/eclipse or call 903-784-9308 to reserve your seat.
Bedford shared that the City of Paris Main Street Program applied for a grant to bring the planetarium to Paris. The grant application wasn’t successful, but the City of Paris partnered with downtown businesses Credit Union of Texas and Bee Sweet Paris Gifts to cover the expenses, keeping all showtimes free.
From 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Friday, the City of Paris Parks and Recreation Division will host a free moon rock painting event for kids before or after their planetarium showtime, and members of the Rotary Club of Paris United and friends will serve Sun Chips, Moon Pies and Solar Punch at each showtime.