Build a Lake George planetarium!

By Mark Frost, Chronicle Editor

Lake George and Warren County want more winter tourism and year-round allure. With the occupancy tax spinning out millions and millions of dollars annually, the county has entered the promotional business — providing the $3-million that launched Winter Dreams outdoors at the Fort William Henry.

With that kind of moolah available to invest, here’s an idea that I believe could strengthen the local economy in winter and every day and night of the year. Build a Lake George Planetarium.

It would be instantly famous, a signature and must-do attraction, a selling point that tourism interests would avidly tout, like the lake itself.

It’s an indoor attraction that feels like outdoors as soon as you’ve sat back in the seat and are looking at outer space projected on the dome.

Mark Frost’s idea: Use bed tax millions to build astronomical year-round attraction. Photo: INTUITIVE® Planetarium in U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Official Visitor Center for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama.
People are more keen than ever on the heavens.

Witness the throngs who flocked to the Adirondacks for the April 8 total solar eclipse. Unforgettable and magical experience. (I keep thinking about it. Lately my thought is that the eclipse had such profound impact because it opened to us the clockwork of the universe.)

Imagine the presentation that the Lake George Planetarium could have provided in the months leading up to the eclipse.

Ditto the Northern Lights — Aurora Borealis — another splendor lately in our view. The planetarium could whisk us to Iceland’s light show on a schedule!

Ponder the possibilities at Christmas.

Think of the path of comets and infinite interstellar phenomena. Even UFO’s and possibilities of alien life.

We’re headlong into a new appreciation of space — aiming not just to explore but to establish settlements.

Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites enable remote locations to have Internet access. Ukraine counts on Starlink to try to survive the Russian onslaught. Now there are fears foes formulate nuclear weapons for space.

The Lake George planetarium could explore these themes, help us understand, the science, possibilities.

Then there are the timeless fascinations — the stars, the planets, the constellations, the galaxies. A planetarium reveals the heavens, revels in the lore and history.

On any rainy day, the planetarium would be mobbed.

But that could be the case any day or night. It would be year-round field trip mecca for area schoolchildren.

You want to get kids excited about science and technology? Get thee to the planetarium.

We once went to a rock show at the Hayden Planetarium in New York. I don’t mean rocks, I mean rock and roll. What a planetarium can present is limitless.

We’d have opportunity to attract creative, hopefully brilliant personnel to unlock potential, explore realms.

Maybe Elon Musk would stop by. Maybe he’d drop a few million dollars in the donation jar.

Certainly Governor Hochul would want to deliver some of the state’s millions for a project so momentous. Rep. Stefanik, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, the President — whoever it is — would want to be aboard.

The planetarium would be bricks and mortar, a destination that’s workable whatever the weather. We’re not inventing the wheel. People love planetariums.

Put one in Lake George. Build it; they will come.

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