Patricia Brooks Carey wanted to give the community a planetarium for residents of Hutchinson, Kansas and surrounding areas to visit. Patricia was fascinated with space and the planets. In 1962 work was completed on the Poultry Building at the State Fairgrounds. A star projector and folding chairs was all that existed at the time. Now the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center is located in a huge building with an IMAX screen and plenty of exhibits. In 1997 the building had to be expanded to 105,000 square feet, which tripled the Hall of Space portion of the museum.
Hours of operation for the museum are Monday through Thursday 9am to 5pm, Friday and Saturday 9am to 8pm, and Sunday noon to 5pm. Entry prices are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and children ages 3 to 12, and 2 and under free. These admission prices provide an all day "mission pass'' which is good forone IMAX film, one planetarium show, one Dr. Goddard's Lab visit, and one admission into the Hall of Space Museum. A single venue ticket is $8.50 for adults and $8 for children and seniors. The pass is good for one aspect of the entire structure like one IMAX film or one Hall of Space Museum admission.
Depending on the amount of time visitors have for the museum there are exhibits that can take an hour or more. For the basic museum tour guests can spend an hour looking around. The tour begins with the V-1 and V-2 weapons from Germany. These weapons are the buzz bomb and the first ballistic missile. Also at the museum is Sputnik 1 and 2. The first launch was a satellite and the second was the first contraption to put a living being in space. It was a dog.
Other exhibits in the museum are the Redstone Nuclear Warhead, 109 foot Titan Rocket, Russian Vostok Spacecraft, Liberty Bell 7 Mercury Spacecraft, Gemini X Spacecraft, and Apollo White Room. The Apollo 13 command module Odyssey is the vehicle which brought the crew from take off to re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Lastly in the museum is the Moon Rock, which came back on the Apollo 11 mission.
It is possible to spend more than two hours in the museum alone as well as going through the Apollo Gallery, which takes visitors through Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon to Gene Cernan's steps on the lunar surface.
For entertainment Dr. Goddard's Lab is perfect. The lab represents the 1930's laboratory of Robert Goddard. He is the father of modern rocketry. In the show there are numerous surprises including experiments and demonstrations. The show is forty- five minutes.
The Justice Planetarium has several shows regarding the evening stars. The Night Sky Live is an interactive show with a star projector depicting the sky. Audience participation is a must. Another show is the Solar System which takes visitors through a space journey to see the planets at different angles. Lastly there are free public astronomy observation times during the year.