Stopped by the newly renovated National Planetarium a few days ago because both it and I were free that day. Sadly enough, I found it very disappointing.
First of all, the website information is inaccurate: The former had a different show schedule than the latter. This sort of turned into an advantage as the line was very long; some of the people who came 30 minutes after us were told that they wouldn't make it to the next showing and would be waiting quite a while… my friends and I waited for 1.5 hours! And it was very hot outside.
After a long while, we finally got inside. We were given a ticket stub as a group after registration and while we were sorting our things (no bags and cellphones are allowed inside- they had to be left at a pseudo-locker) a bus full of seniors arrived. Apparently, they had reservations(??) as part of a tour group but the mechanics weren't sorted out. As a result we had to wait an additional 15 minutes while this happened while it was sorted (instead of being allowed in while they sorted themselves). As we were going in, it became obvious that the number in their party was unknown as there was a gap in the flow of attendees as we sat.
As we sat in chairs close to the center of the planetarium, we failed to find a way to make the chairs recline. We did find retractable arm desks which we were scolded for opening. As the lights began to dim, we realized we had to lie sideways in order to appreciate the show. If we were closer to the distal (farther from the screen) circumference seatwise, this would not have been a problem, but the proximal half suffered (which was obvious as the entire dome was not filled to its entirety). This is a function of the size of the planetarium and could not have been changed. The choice of chair could.
Before the actual show, there was a 15 minute presentation of the different zodiac signs, divided into four and interspersed with white. While I didn't find it bad, my friend noted that someone with epilepsy might… watch at your own risk. I just found it a waste after the interminably long wait.
As the show began, I couldn't help but compare it to the 15 minutes beforehand. One was 15 minutes long and pointless, meant for young children. The other was 30 minutes long and meant for someone who understands what A levels are (in the Philippines) or wants to understand what a parallax is. Else, it simply becomes an entertaining film.
Finally, as we exited, we noticed the displays before the exit. OMG. The inside was renovated, but the outside was very dated. It still showed that the International Space Station was still under construction.
I would actually be interested in paying a fee for the show I watched, but the experience itself was a let down. I think I need to lower my expectations (but still so excited for the upcoming Museum of Natural History) but it does not compare with the surrounding attractions (the museums are quite nice). I will probably try to catch one more of the 3 shows available. Hopefully the lineup will change (yearly? biennially? quarterly) and upkeep maintained.
The National Planetarium is open Tuesdays to Sundays with free admission for this month.