What’s it like to visit the Galileum in Solingen, Germany?
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Has your child ever visited a planetarium? The Galileum is a modern planetarium located inside a blue gas bowl with a dome measuring 12 meters diagonally, sporting 84 seats and an up-to-date projection technique. It features different shows, among them plenty for kids, as well as live concerts “under the stars” and scientific presentations.
The funny thing is, outside the Galileum were two old sofas, so in the sunset or for star gazing, it might be that some people are sitting on them 😉
Outside was a sun dial:
Before we went inside the mysterious dome, Lyons Cub was allowed to run underneath the blue bowl. The sides were covered in colorful space paintings, such as the earth, the moon, a satellite, a space shuttle, etc.
We went to see the kids’ show, “Lars, the little polar bear.” My son knew Lars already from his children’s books.
The young assistant who moderated the show did a great job addressing the little children. For example, he made them wave their hands to chase the clouds away, and suddenly, the clouds vanished from the projection, and the stars became visible. Then, he asked them to clap their hands to make the sun go down, and it happened. While Lyons Cub was too big and smart already to know it wasn’t his doing, I’m sure some of the smaller kids were convinced they just made the sun disappear 🙂 He pointed out all the different animals and zodiacs they could see in the sky. Leander was excited to see the lion!
The Galileum is a fairly new addition to the sights of Solingen, having opened its doors in 2019 only. It is based on the winning bid from an international architectural contest for a new planetarium. The spherical gas tank it was built in used to be a steel pressure vessel for the storage of gas; those had an advantage over earlier gasometers (such as the one we visited in Oberhausen, which is also a museum now) due to an operating pressure of 5 to 10 bar and a higher storage capacity.
I have to say the city made excellent use of the space for this purpose. It looks cool, has entertaining and educational shows for the young and old, and is not too big for little feet to manage in one afternoon. Parking is right in front of it, and there is additional space in the side streets. We are planning to go back to watch a different children’s show and learn some more about the stars, planets, galaxies, and black holes….