crab fountain outside the hr macmillan space centre in vancouver canada

A Stellar HR MacMillan Space Centre Visitor’s Guide

Stargazers rejoice! Vancouver’s H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is home to a planetarium, astronimical exhibits, and even a fully functioning observatory.

This makes it a perfect spot to kill a rainy afternoon for buddying astronomers of all ages.

I’ve devised a complete Planetarium guide to this popular attraction so that you don’t have to depart on this intergalactic journey on your own.

  1. Overview
  2. Shows
  3. Exhibits
  4. Prices
  5. Ticket Packages
  6. How to Get to There
  7. Hours
  8. Visitor Tips
  9. FAQs

The H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

The Planetarium at H.R. Macmillan Space Centre
Instagram: @spacecentreyvr

Colloquially known to locals as “the Planetarium”, the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is an Astronomy museum located in the Kitsilano neighbourhood (one of Vancouver’s best areas to stay) on Vancouver’s Westside.

Housed in a location shared with the Museum of Vancouver, the Space Centre’s distinctive conical roof was constructed to resemble the shape of a woven basket hat typically worn by local First Nations groups.

Nonetheless, the building more commonly reminds visitors of a UFO due to the museum’s out of this world content, which is comprised of four key components:

  1. The Planetarium Star Theatre – a panoramic 230 seat star theatre that displays shows on a wide variety of astronomical wonders.
  2. The Cosmic Courtyard – an exhibit hall that features touchable meteorites and moon rocks.
  3. Groundstation Canada – an exhibit space that offers live science shows and demonstrations.
  4. The GMS Observatory – a fully functioning observatory with a 1/2 meter telescope that allows visitors to peer deep into the cosmos through Vancouver’s skies.

The Space Centre manages to educate, inspire and invoke a sense of wonder in kids and curious adults alike – it’s one of the top things to do in Vancouver.

H.R MacMillan Space Centre Shows

The Planetarium Star Theatre

The Planetarium Star Theatre, Vancouver
Instagram: @spacecentreyvr

The H.R Macmillan Space Centre’s iconic conical structure house the 230 seat Planetarium Star Theatre.

The Space Centre’s star attraction: the theatre provides visitors with the opportunity to experience the universe via a fully immersive panoramic full dome movie experience.

A variety of 45 minute films are offered on an hourly basis that cover a variety of topics; including the sun, planets, the big bang, black holes, and a wide variety of other astronomical wonders.

Due to the scientific content on offer the films are generally recommended for children 6 and above. However, each film has a recommended age range based upon the complexity of the content.

To have a look at the shows on offer and the age recommendation for each selection head over to the Planetarium Star Theatre’s schedule page.

It’s important to note that admission includes entry to only one show at the Star Theatre. Therefore it’s important to time your visit for a show that manages to peak both you and your children’s interest.

Groundstation Canada

A live science display at Groundstation Canada
Instagram:@spacecentreyvr

Visit Groundstation Canada and prepare to be astounded by the wonders of the universe via a variety of experiments by Space Centre staff.

Ever wonder what we would do if an asteroid was barreling toward earth? Or what would happen to your body in a gravity less environment?

Allow the experts to demonstrate live and in person.

Encourage your kids to start thinking like scientists and imagine what it would be like to live in space with the informative content and thought-provoking real world displays.

However, in this case your admission provides you with unlimited access to as many of the 20 minute shows as you would like!

Related: Best Vancouver Itinerary

H.R. MacMillan Space Centre Exhibits

Cosmic Courtyard

Children dressed up as astronauts
Instagram: @spacecentreyvr

The Cosmic Courtyard is a small exhibit space that features a variety of displays principally related to space travel. These include scale models of space shuttles, rockets and even a real live space suit!

Seize the rare opportunity to try on an astronaut suit in what is doubtlessly the H.R. Space Centre’s most popular photo opportunity.

Other popular displays include one of only 5 touchable moon rocks in the world! At over 3.75 billion years old it’s sure to be the oldest artifact you’ll ever lay your eyes on.

You can also try your hand at lifting a real live meteorite. Marvel at how heavy it feels relative to similar materials found on earth.

Related: What is Vancouver Famous For?

GMS Observatory

A colourful picture of space

The Gordon Macmillan Southam Observatory is an actual functioning observatory that features a 1/2 meter Cassegrain Telescope.

This powerful device grants stargazers with the opportunity to gaze deeper into the heavens than they ever have before.

Pick out one of the constellations or seek out your favourite planet! On a clear night anything is possible.

GMS Observatory Hours

It’s important to note that the Observatory is only open on Saturday Nights from 7:30pm to 11:00pm, with admission included with night entry to the Space Centre.

However, if you’ve already visited the Planetarium, or you only wish to check out the Observatory, then stand alone admission is also available by donation.

Related: Best Indoor Activities in Vancouver

H.R. MacMillan Space Centre Prices

Prices differ slightly for daytime and evening admissions. The rates can be found in the table below:

Daytime Rates

  • Adult: $18.00
  • Student/senior (55+): $18.00
  • Child (5-11): $18.00

Daytime admission includes one show in the Planetarium Star Theatre and unlimited access to Ground Station Canada and the Cosmic Courtyard.

Family rates include 5 people with a maximum of 2 adults.

Children under 5 go free.

Tickets can be bought on the Planetarium tickets section of their website.

H.R. MacMillan Space Centre Ticket Packages

Entry can also be offered in tandem with other top Vancouver museums located in Vanier park, the neighbouring Museum of Vancouver or the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

These packages provide visitors with entry to two or three of the aforementioned locations for one low price!

If you are interested, the passes are available at the visitor service desks at all of the respective museums.

Dual Pass

The Dual Pass is valid over multiple days and includes one entry to each of the Museum of Vancouver and the H.R. Macmillan Space Centre.

Price

  • Adult: $31.50
  • Student: $26.50
  • Senior: $26.50

*Must be purchased in person at the visitor service desk of either facility.

For more information on these attractions check out our Museum of Vancouver and Maritime Museum visitor guides.

Vanier Explore Pass

The Vanier Explore Pass is valid over multiple days and includes one entry to each museum located within Vanier Park; the H.R Macmillan Space Centre, the Museum of Vancouver and the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

Price

  • Adult: $42.50
  • Student: $36.50
  • Senior: $36.50

*Can be purchased online at the VMM website.

How to Get to the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre