Fels Planetarium

222 North 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103


Fels Planetarium Theater Information

In 1933, Samuel S. Fels contributed funds so that the new Franklin Institute could have a planetarium, only the second in the United States. The Planetarium's popularity continues today; it has provided an experience for more than 9 million visitors and school children.

The Planetarium's new design optimizes the viewing experience. The 2002 renovations included replacement of the original 40,000 pound-plus, perforated stainless steel dome, built in 1933. The new premium seamless dome is lighter and is 60-feet in diameter. Manufactured by Spitz Inc. of Chadds Ford, PA, the dome is the first of its kind in the United States.

Enhancements include a state-of-the-art aluminum dome that envelopes the audience and provides the ultimate screen for cosmic projections, upgraded video projection and super-fidelity systems, theater controls, lighting system, carpeting and theater seating, and ADA accessibility. The planetarium is also outfitted for visitors who are hearing impaired.

The Fels' Planetarium is the nation's second oldest planetarium.  Although it is a historic cornerstone to The Franklin Institute, the planetarium has come a long way from the "Giant Ant" (Zeiss Optical) projector some of you may remember from when you were kids.  Now, this state-of-the-art digital projection planetarium offers the same traditional Sky Tonight presentations along with cutting edge astronomical presentations. The awe inspiring dome measures 60 feet across and 4 stories tall, which coupled with surround sound, makes the planetarium experience one you will not soon forget.

Images provided by AmericanTowns.com, Ticketmaster
Please use "Flag This Place" to alert us about content that is inappropriate or needs immediate attention. Nothing you submit will be shared with other site visitors.

Upcoming AARP Events

View All AARP Events »

Find information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in your state. CDC information is available at cdc.gov/coronavirus; additional AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

AARP Member Card

Join or Renew Today


  • Immediate access to your member benefits
  • Discounts on travel and everyday savings
  • Subscription to the award-winning AARP The Magazine
  • An ally on the issues that matter most to you in Philadelphia
  • Free membership for your spouse or partner