Located atop the Wellington Botanic Garden, the Space Place at Carter Observatory is full of interactive exhibits to help visitors young and old learn about our little galaxy. Spend the day exploring the universe. Then at night, look through the observatory’s historic Thomas Cooke telescope and see stars and planets in incredible detail. The Basics
Space Place at Carter Observatory is dedicated to the study of the asteroids, planets, stars, and everything else that make up our galaxy. A number of exciting multimedia displays cover myriad space phenomena, from solar flares to cosmic hurricanes, and kids love the interactive exhibits such as the Tūhura Space Module, which simulates being inside a spaceship. The planetarium plays a range of entertaining, educational films about everything from the Big Bang to the aliens that might exist in space.
Space Place also opens at night so that visitors can see the southern skies up close. Track stars and constellations across the planetarium dome during an incredibly detailed live presentation of the night sky. Then, on select nights, you can use the high-powered Thomas Cooke Telescope to find them with your own eyes.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Space Place is ideal for astronomy buffs and families with children.
- Check online for the planetarium’s schedule and age-appropriateness of its various films and special events.
- The Thomas Cooke Telescope is available only in good weather; call ahead on the day of your visit to confirm the telescope is open.
- Guided tours of Space Place are available on request; inquire in advance.
- Space Place is accessible to wheelchair users and has accessible parking.
How to Get There
The Space Place at Carter Observatory is located at the top of the Wellington Botanic Garden. Parking is available at the Upland Road and Glenmore Street garden entrances. Alternatively, catch the 21 or 18E bus from Courtenay Place to Upland Road, take the Wellington Cable Car from Lambton Quay up to the Upland Road parking lot; or make the observatory a stop on a Wellington hop-on hop-off minivan tour.When to Get There
Space Place is open on Tuesday and Friday evenings, with extended hours on weekends and every day during the New Zealand school holidays. The best time to visit is late on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, when the telescope is operating (weather permitting). The Space Place website posts weekly updates about what’s happening in the night sky so you can plan your visit around the most spectacular extraterrestrial events. Unique Gifts at the Carter Observatory
Space Place has a museum store that sells all kinds of gifts, from coffee cups and plasma balls to educational books and science kits. The observatory also sells unique Adopt a Star certificates, which give adoptees coordinates and instructions for tracking down their own adopted star in the night sky.