In less than two months since its reopening, more than 60,000 people have visited the planetarium and all of its special programs and activities – physical, hybrid and virtual – are going full swing with participants from Bengaluru and beyond.
On average, the planetarium receives 1,000 to 1,500 visitors per day, and the number increases on weekends. “If you look at attendance at all of our activities, we are back to pre-Covid levels. On weekends, we receive 4,500 to 5,000 people. In the past two months, we have seen 60,000 visitors,” said planetarium director Pramod G Galagali.
While a majority of visitors come from Bengaluru, 10% to 12% come from other districts. “As part of the summer break, we had eight to ten programs focusing on astronomy, physics and related aspects, all of which got a good response, regardless of the medium. Based on this, we launched several other programs. During the exchanges, many parents and students expressed their wish to participate in the activities,” said a scientific officer.
Injecting variety into the schedules, officials added two non-astronomical shows. “… Shows called ‘Natural Selection’ – focusing on Darwin’s theory of evolution – and ‘To Worlds Beyond’ – a journey through our solar system – have been added. Another show, ‘Celestial Firework’ is more in demand by children,” explained Galagali.
Stating that seats fill up minutes after the planetarium opens, Galagali said people are ready to wait to watch shows with kids. On some occasions, they wait between 45 minutes and an hour after purchasing the tickets. Even the exhibition area is packed with students trying out experiments. But the planetarium continues to be mindful of appropriate Covid behavior. “We are strict on protocols and insist on masks. All visitors go through thermal scanning upon entry, while gadgets and theaters are sanitized daily. We also clean the premises between shows,” Galagali said.
“During the exam season and the holidays, the children would visit their parents. But we are keeping our fingers crossed for a similar response from schools and teachers,” an administrative official said.