Contentnea Creek has dark skies and is an excellent place to do some stargazing. You can see the Milky Way! NCMNS Contentnea Creek also features a digital planetarium and public observatory. The planetarium is currently available for small private groups of up to 10 people. Even if it’s cloudy out you can explore the wonders of the night sky in the planetarium. Please email Brian Baker, for more information.

Chia-yu Li Planetarium

The Museum’s Contentnea Creek location features the Chia-Yu Li Planetarium. A 35-foot geodesic dome powered by a Digitarium Zeta Digital Planetarium System.

A planetarium is a special kind of theater where the ceiling is the screen. A planetarium creates a real time image of the sky under perfect viewing conditions. This means that even if it is cloudy outside or if it is the middle of the day, we can still look up and see the stars in the planetarium.

Saturday Planetarium Shows

The Chia-yu Li Planetarium is open to the public on the second Saturday of each month. Show times are at 11am,12pm, and 1pm. The planetarium features short film documentaries that explore topics across space and science in visually stunning ways.


11:00 AM


Traces the history of the telescope from Galileo’s modifications to a spyglass, to the launch of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the future of astronomy. It explores the wonder and discovery made by astronomers throughout the last 400 years.

12:00 PM


Explore how high-energy astrophysics plays a key role in understanding the hot and violent nature of the universe. You will be taken on a journey through our own galaxy, revealing the hidden nature of neutron stars, supernova remnants, and stars like our Sun.

1:00 PM


This stunning, 30-minute voyage through space and time conveys the Universe revealed to us by science. Viewers can revel in the splendor of the worlds in the Solar System, the colorful birthplaces of stars, the immensity of a myriad galaxies. 

The Kitty and Max Joyner Observatory

The Kitty and Max Joyner Observatory features a 16-inch diameter Meade LX200 on a Paramount MX+. Long story short, this thing is big, powerful, and cool! The telescope is primarily used at night to get incredible views of the Moon, the planets of our solar system, and countless deep space wonders.

An observatory is a special building with a telescope inside it. Observatories are used to study or observe events that happen in space. Observatories often have a dome shaped ceiling with a door or shutter on it. When the shutter door is open the telescopes can look up at the sky. The whole ceiling of an observatory dome can spin around allowing the telescope to look in any direction. 

Starry Night

Once each month the Chia-Yu Li Planetarium is open to the public on a Friday evening. will lead you on a tour of the night sky. Then you will get your chance to gaze through the 16-inch telescope in the Kitty and Max Joyner Observatory to see night sky like you have never seen it before! Click below to purchase your tickets.

Jupiter and Saturn

The largest planets in our solar system will shine brightly in the night sky for only a few more months during the autumn. These planets will be the primary targets for telescope observing.

Learn the Autumn Skies

The Autumn skies give us incredible sunsets. In the brilliant glow of the twilight, you can find several bright planets. As the stars come out you can use your guide Pegasus, the flying horse, to find your way around the night sky.  


Mobile Planetarium

NCMNS Greenville and Contentnea Creek proudly offers a mobile planetarium for use by schools, clubs, camps, and community centers throughout Eastern North Carolina. Our mobile planetarium features a state-of-the-art digital projection system allowing you to skim through the rings of Saturn and travel to the stars!

Unfortunately, the mobile planetarium is not available for reservation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Contact us to book your astronomy event

729 Dickinson Avenue | Greenville, NC 27834 | 252.364.2862

The NC Museum of Natural Sciences is a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources