Liz Mandarano and son Eli were among the first people to arrive for the 10:30 a.m. showing of Worlds Beyond Earth, a space show at the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History.

The show had debuted just a month and a half before the pandemic forced the museum to close last March.

Mandarano said Eli is really into astrophysics.

What You Need To Know

  • The Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History has reopened after being closed for a year because of COVID-19 restrictions
  • The planetarium is featuring a space show called Worlds Beyond Earth, which first debuted in January 2020

  • The space theater is opened with limited capacity and COVID-19 safety protocols in place

  • The museum reopened in September, but the planetarium had to wait until the state allowed movie theaters to welcome back customers

"He just picked it up on his own this year, so I figured today would be a good day to take him to the planetarium," said Mandarano.

The museum reopened the planetarium Wednesday with limited capacity and COVID-19 protocols in place.

Another person who knows a thing or two about astrophysics is New York City native Neil deGrasse Tyson, the renowned planetarium director whose love of astronomy was sparked by a visit to the original version of the planetarium when he was 9 years old. 

"It's a transporting experience, and when that happens to you and you are young, oh my gosh, for me I decided that would be my career," said Tyson. “I bet everyone remembers their first time in any planetarium, but especially the Hayden."

The museum and Rose Center for Earth and Space reopened in September but the planetarium couldn't until the state permitted movie theaters to welcome people back in. Tyson says it's a good step in the right direction for the beloved more than 150-year-old museum.  

"I think any step that our culture, our life routines can take that's back towards normal, or towards what we had defined as normal I think is good for us physically, psychologically, economically, so yeah it's an important statement actually," said Tyson.

Tyson believes Worlds Beyond Earth, which tells the story of our solar system and the unique conditions that make life on earth possible, may be just what folks need after a year where New Yorkers may have gotten restless in their curiosity. He calls it a show that will turn the solar system into our backyard.

"What we do here, the whole museum in general but specifically in the space theater, is transport you in a way so that the embers of curiosity and wonder that may have gone dormant in your life, this past year, or maybe they were always dormant, we will fan that ember to burst it back into flames of wonder," said Tyson.

To find out more about show schedules and tickets for the Hayden Planetarium, head to