The Gladwin Planetarium

Highlights:  The Gladwin Planetarium is the only planetarium on the Central Coast that features live, multimedia shows. You can see the night sky or fly through space to the other side of the galaxy.  The Planetarium is located on the grounds of The Santa Barbara Natural History Museum.

Similarities/Differences:  Planetarium shows are very different than being under real stars, but the visual experience can be just as breathtaking.  In a planetarium, scenes of stars, planets and other celestial objects are made to appear on a dome-shaped projection screen.  The images move realistically to simulate the complex “motions of the heavens”.  No hiking is involved; you just sit back in your theater-style seat and enjoy.

Star Parties:

On the second Saturday of every month, the Museum offers public observations at the Museum's Palmer Observatory.  These Star Parties are hosted by members of the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit, who provide telescopes and their expert knowledge of the night sky.  Star Parties are held in conjunction with Evening Exclusive planetarium shows.

See to learn more.

Credit: Orion Nebula photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI.  The original website for the Gladwin Planetarium can be found at

Directions: The Planetarium is located at The Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, at 2559 Puesta del Sol in Santa Barbara.

Take the Mission Street exit from Highway 101 and from the offramp turn on Mission Street towards the hills.  Stay on Mission for about seven blocks, then turn left on Santa Barbara Street.  Proceed two blocks to the first stop sign at Los Olivos Street.  Turn right on Los Olivos and continue past the Old Mission, which will be on your left.  Stay to the left on Los Olivos at the “Y” intersection beyond the Old Mission.  You will cross a stone bridge, and then you are nearly there.

Turn left on Las Encinas and left again on Puesta del Sol.  Proceed to the first parking lot driveway and turn right.  Parking is free.

Hours:  The Natural History Museum itself is open from 10am to 5pm, but closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve (at 3pm), Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and the last Saturday in June.

Tickets for daytime planetarium shows and Evening Exclusive astronomy presentations are available at the Front Office.

Check for ticket prices and a schedule of planetarium events.