Good news lovers of space exploration and planetarium school field trips; the Gene Roddenberry Planetarium is preparing to reopen in November.

After being closed for more than a year due to both the pandemic and its relocation, the planetarium will begin welcoming students into its new home starting November 3.

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According to a post on the planetarium’s Facebook, kids in the El Paso Independent School District will get to witness the wonders of the night sky first before it’s opened up to the rest of us.

The slow rollout is an effort by the school district to “minimize risks.”

“We have been just as frustrated by Covid as everyone,” explains the post, “but we want our cosmic space explorers to be as safe as possible. That being said, we are opening back up to EPISD students on Nov 3.”

When Will El Paso ISD Reopen Planetarium to the Public?

Getty Images
Getty Images

There doesn’t appear to be a date set in stone for public shows just yet, at least not one anyone involved with reopening plans is willing to share with me. “Soon afterwards” is most they’ll commit to – meaning sometime after November 3.

Whenever it might be I’m just happy the powers that be found a way to keep the only planetarium in the region open so that new generations of kids from all over El Paso can experience the amazing night sky and our vast solar system -- not just on school field trips like we once did, but by attending the free public programming it offers stargazers like me.

Gene Roddenberry Has a New Location

As a result of the 2016 EPISD Bond modernization plan resulting in the consolidation of Dowell, Schuster and Crosby schools to the new Coach Archie Duran Elementary this school year, the Gene Roddenberry Planetarium has a new home in Northeast El Paso at the former Crosby Elementary site.

Funding for the new space exploration facility was made possible after the district partnered with the City of El Paso to acquire a grant that would cover the cost of relocating to and renovating a section of Crosby so it could accommodate the planetarium's 40-foot dome, and create a star gazing park and parking.

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