Doorway of Strickler Planetarium


Ten years ago, the planetarium took a quantum leap forward with the replacement of our venerable Spitz A4 opto-mechanical star projector and the installation of a completely digital Evans and Sutherland Digistar 3 projection system. Now, a decade later, a generous alumni gift in honor of Professor Dwight Stickler has allowed us to upgrade the planetarium's computers, software, and control systems to the brand-new Digistar 6 platform. 

What does this mean for our visitors? When you walk in the doors, you might not notice anything different, as all the updates have been "under the hood"-- but in reality visitors to the planetarium now have a completely new universe at their fingertips. In addition to offering all our previous programming, the Digistar 6 allows a host of new real-time simulations for visiting groups and classes. From high-resolution explorations of the surface of Earth and other planets, to flights through the solar system and beyond, to up-to-the-minute updates on new astronomical discoveries, the Strickler Planetarium is now an even more powerful educational and outreach tool. 

Have you ever wished your class could fly to Jupiter to learn more about its system of moons? Would you like to interact with three-dimensional surveys of distant galaxies and quasars? Do you want to give your class a satellite's-eye view of developing weather systems on Earth? Whatever your group's curricular or educational needs, our trained operators can take you there. More than this though, we can put your audience in the pilot's seat.

Don't just learn about the universe.
Explore it.

Secret of the Cardboard Rocket

Secret of the Cardboard Rocket


Head back to school with two kids and a talking astronomy book as they take a tour of the solar system (including a stop at Pluto!) and learn about each of the planets along the way. Why are the worlds of the inner solar system known as "rocky midgets"? What would it be like to fly through the storms of Jupiter or the rings of Saturn? Find out, along with information about what makes each planet unique, in this fully immersive voyage of discovery, suitable for students of all ages. All shows are followed by a live introduction to the Kankakee skies and a ride on a thrilling space coaster!

A Spanish-language version of the show is available as well.

Suitable Audience: general audiences

Approximate Running Time: 30 minutes (can be 40 minutes for private groups if stops at the Sun and Moon are included)

Main Themes: solar system


Beyond the Sun

Beyond the Sun


While Celeste is fighting off sleep in her room by reading a book on astronomy, she receives an unexpected visit from Moon. Together, they will enjoy a journey through the Universe to discover what exoplanets are and how they can be detected. They observe rogue planets, oceanic worlds, and super-Earths. Moon tells her about exoplanet hunters, who observe the sky in search of planets like Earth. 

This planetarium show features stunning visualizations of some of the different types of exoplanets that have been discovered including hot Jupiters, rogue planets, and super-Earths.

Suitable Audience: general audiences ages 7+

Approximate Running Time: 25 minutes

Main Themes: exoplanet types, detection techniques




Skywatch Live!

skywatch live

If you'd like to learn about the stars behind your favorite constellations and have a front-row seat as we fly through the Universe join us for Skywatch Live!

Every Skywatch Live! show will match the view of the sky directly over Kankakee that day so you'll get a new perspective every time you return. Topics covered may include seasonal constellations, upcoming meteor showers, space exploration, planets, and moon phases. 

Our December show features a special Christmas Star presentation! 

*This program has limited availability for private shows

Suitable Audience: general audiences

Approximate Running Time: 40 minutes

Main Themes: constellations, current night sky




The Dark Matter Mystery

Dark Matter Mystery

Explore contemporary astronomy's greatest puzzle with this presentation on the search for dark matter! Though it makes up the majority of the universe, the nature of this strange material remains unknown. THE DARK MATTER MYSTERY provides an up-to-date examination of the theories and experiments probing the nature of dark matter and its importance for our understanding of the universe by utilizing spectacular visualizations from particle accelerators to the birth of the universe.

Suitable Audience: older students and adults

Approximate Running Time: 30 minutes

Main Themes: contemporary astrophysics, the scientific method





Narrated by Star Wars' Mark Hamill and with a soundtrack performed by the Nashville Orchestra, this show explores the dynamic life and death of stars, the powerhouses of the universe. STARS explores star birth, giant stars, pulsars, and black holes as well as a providing a brief history of astronomy and an introduction to our solar system, the galaxy, and the nature of light. 

STARS is a production of Adventure Science Center, Sudekum Planetarium, Nashville, TN

Suitable Audience: general audiences (educationally geared toward middle school level and above)

Approximate Running Time: 35 minutes, including a live star talk

Main Themes: life cycle and workings of stars, history of astronomy, light



                About Strickler Planetarium


Strickler Planetarium


Strickler Planetarium, located on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois, is a state-of-the-art digital planetarium dedicated to educating the public about the natural world. The planetarium, constructed in 1967, was extensively renovated in 2008 and transitioned from an opto-mechanical star projector to a fully digital projection system. In 2019, the planetarium's capabilities were again upgraded to a brand-new Digistar 6 system. Audiences are immersed as never before in a three-dimensional visualization of the night sky, the solar system, the galaxy, and beyond. The Digistar’s realtime database means that simulated travel through space is more than simple special effects — it’s an actual journey through an accurate model of the known universe, with the audience in the pilot's seat!

Witness the history of the universe from its fiery birth to the formation of our solar system. Explore colliding galaxies and the dusty reaches of our own Milky Way. Take a tour from our own night sky to the edge of the solar system. Our science educators and our multimedia tools make this all possible from the comfort of your seats. Come and see the new Strickler Planetarium.