H.R. MacMillan Space Centre Overiew
One of Vancouver's best-known attractions, the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is part space and science museum, part planetarium, and part observatory.
Along with educational shows, the Planetarium is home to laser music spectacles. The Centre also includes the Cosmic Courtyard exhibit area and the multi-media theatre, GroundStation Canada.
Getting to the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
The Space Centre is located at 1100 Chestnut Street; parking is free. There is also a stop for the False Creek Ferry at Vanier Park, or you can take bus 2 or 22 to Cornwall and Cypress.
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre History
When the Vancouver Museum moved to its current Vanier Park location in 1968, BC lumber baron and philanthropist Harvey Reginald (H.R.) MacMillan contributed $1.5 million to the new building construction, allowing for the planetarium created in the building's domed roof and the eventual expansion of the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre into the museum and observatory it is today.
Making the Most of Your Visit
The Space Centre is basically comprised of three areas: a small museum portion, called the Cosmic Courtyard, which includes interactive displays, a moon rock sample you can touch, and science exhibits, the educational theatre GroundStation Canada (shows run every half hour), and the planetarium (shows run every hour); all shows are included in the admission price.
How long your visit to the Space Centre lasts depends on how many shows you'd like to take in. The planetarium offers five different shows each day; the GroundStation Canada theatre has six. Planetarium shows give viewers a 360-degree view of the night sky; GroundStation Canada offers interactive educational lessons in space news, technology, and science.
Though the Space Centre suffers from the same fate all science museums share--namely, that it's almost impossible to keep up with current technology and exhibits and shows become quickly dated--the planetarium still lives up to expectations. It's worth a trip, especially to see the education, astronomy-based shows.
Next door to the Space Centre is the observatory, which has evening telescope observing sessions Fridays and Saturdays.
The best way to get the most out of your trip is to combine it with a visit to the Museum of Vancouver, housed in the same building, a walk around scenic Vanier Park, or a trip to the Vancouver Maritime Museum, just a short walk away.
Admission Costs & Current Exhibitions: H.R. MacMillan Space Centre