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Empirical Theater

Movies Every Day!

Big Movies, Giant Screen

There’s something magical about a movie house. The dimming lights, the crowd’s hush, the glow of the screen. Now imagine if that magic was fueled by science, creating immersive experiences that teach, motivate and entertain. Doesn’t that sound better? It should. We have Dolby Atmos, after all. This is movie night done right.

2024 Studio Ghibli Film Festival

OMSI’s annual Studio Ghibli Film Fest returns for its ninth year! This year’s festival includes daily screenings, special guest speakers, and an Opening Night celebration focused on the 40th anniversary of Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

Daytime Documentaries

Sharks, and jungles, and oceans, oh my! Watch science unfold on the largest screen in Portland.

Hollywood Blockbusters

Movie night done right! Enjoy Hollywood favorites with food and beverages available at the Empirical Café.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? We have answers! Explore frequently asked questions. For more information please contact us at Info@OMSI.edu or (503) 797-4000.

What amenities and accessibility features are available in the Empirical Theater?

The Empirical Theater has an upper-level wheelchair accessible entrance and theater restrooms; due to the layout of the theater the lower-level main entrance is only accessible by stairs. Please check in with a Guest Services Representative or volunteer for assistance in locating these areas.

Several daytime documentaries and newer evening full-features offer closed captions, audio description, and volume amplification. The CaptiView closed caption units allow guests to see captions for their show by using a cup holder device that they can adjust within their view, and the Fidelio RX audio description units deliver descriptive narration and can also amplify the theater volume and dialogue.

The Showing Today signs updated daily at the front desk and theater entrance indicate which features offer closed captions (CC) and audio description (AD), while volume amplification is available for all theater content including events such as Science Pub and Reel Science.

Limited quantities of the following devices are available for theater guests and may be requested at either the Front Desk or Concierge Desk as well as from the theater usher:

  • CaptiView closed caption (CC) viewing devices
  • Fidelio RX audio description and volume amplification units
  • Williams Sound NKL-001 neck loops designed to work with hearing aids equipped with a telephone coil or T-Switch

The rough inside measurements of the seats not including arm and back rests:

  • Theater seats 16.5” wide and 21.5” deep
  • Two VIP chairs 21.5” wide and 19” deep
  • Additional VIP chair available by request is 23.5” wide and 21.5” deep
  • The weight capacity for the VIP chairs are between 200lbs-250lbs

Earplugs can be requested from the Front Desk and Concierge Desk, and sensory resource packs that include:

  • Noise reducing headphones
  • Fidget toys
  • Sunglasses
  • Visual and auditory timer
  • 2 pound weighted shoulder wrap
  • Sanitizing wipes

Please contact OMSI Guest Services at (503) 797-4000 or Info@OMSI.edu with any additional specific questions or needs.

What concessions are available?
  • Our Empirical Café features:
    Made-to-order coffee drinks
    Grab-and-go salads and sandwiches
    Fresh pastries
    Beer and Wine (available evenings only)
    Popcorn, candy, and a selection of classic movie theater treats
When should I arrive?

Films in the Empirical Theater start promptly with no previews. Be sure to arrive 10-15 minutes early.

Is parking available?

OMSI is located at 1945 SE Water Ave Portland, OR 97214. Visitors can pay for parking through the Parking Kitty app (as of 7/24/23), at the front desk, or soon at parking kiosks in the North and South parking lots.

OMSI parking costs $5 (+ fees) for 2 hours or $8 (+ fees) for all day parking. Guests arriving after 5pm can expect to pay a flat fee of $2 (+ fees) for the evening.

Commonly Asked Parking Questions

Is re-entry allowed?

For safety and enhanced viewing experience, re-entry is not allowed during short documentary films. For longer featured films, re-entry is allowed.

Visiting Soon?

OMSI is committed to making science-fueled fun available for all in our community. We are proud to offer admission assistance, financial aid, and accessible services throughout the museum. Explore access resources and amenities for guests visiting the museum.

Two students running chemistry experiments.

See a movie like never before!

Explore the calendar for current films and showtimes.

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