LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium will celebrate its first anniversary in a “Big” way during a month long celebration beginning March 15.

    The planetarium at the University of Louisville will celebrate with free and discounted shows, a celebration of the spring equinox, giveaways and premieres of several new shows.

    The planetarium will launch the celebration with the premiere of “Big,” a show that explores the size and scale of the universe and takes viewers on a quick tour of some of its most magnificent sights. The program will open to the publicMarch 15.

    The planetarium will celebrate the vernal, or spring, equinox March 20 with free showings of “Big” at 4:15 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. Patrons will be able to enter a drawing for a free planetarium hat and sweatshirt from the Supply Ship gift shop.

    The planetarium will open a new children’s feature, “Amazing Stargazing,” which explores the wonders of the night sky from a child’s point of view. Children who attend the Saturday morning show between March 15 and April 15 will receive free planetarium coloring books.

    A new Cinemuse feature, “Diving with the Whales,” will take the audience on a journey into the mysterious world of the whales. Filmed in high-definition format, the program features images of male humpbacks singing for the attention of females and pods of killer whales foraging for food in Alaskan waters.

    “Skies Over Louisville,” a traditional planetarium program, will give patrons an in-depth view of the stars, constellations and planets viewable over Kentuckiana and allow them to ask questions about the night sky.

    Friday nights will feature several new laser music features, including the top 40-driven “Laser Mania” and programs featuring the music of U2 and Led Zeppelin. The late show will feature music from Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.”

    Other activities during the month will include:

    • Wacky Wednesdays – “Buy one, get one free” discounts on all public shows March 27, April 3 and April 10
    • “Tax Relief Day” – Half-price admission on all public shows Friday, April 12
    • A special sale on gift shop items, including astronomical calendars and logo wear
    • $5 discounts on all planetarium memberships and a giveaway of a planetarium prize pack for the 100th planetarium member

    For more information, including a planetarium schedule, call (502) 852-6664 or visit the Web site at

    John Drees is a 35-year veteran in the Office of Communications and Marketing. As vice president, communications and marketing, he works closely with the president, provost and other senior administrators, oversees the Office of Communications and Marketing, including media relations, marketing and brand, broadcast, social media, internal communication, crisis communication, visitor services and special events and activities. A former sports editor for the Voice Newspapers, he was a regular contributor to a variety of publications, including the Kentucky Sports Report and the Courier-Journal. A poor but enthusiastic golfer, he is an avid Cardinal sports fan. He also loves the Detroit Lions, so pity him.