Harbaugh Real Estate

Ft. Worth's Omni Theater Gets Upgraded

By Lee Harbaugh

If you have lived in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area for very long, chances are you have visited Ft. Worth's Omni Theater at least once. It is an experience unlike any other, and it's about to get even better!

a man and children sitting in seats at the Omni theater

The Omni first opened in 1983 at the Ft. Worth Museum of Science and History. It featured an 8-story 120 foot wide domed screen with 30 degree stadium seating. To say it was an immersive experience would be an understatement. I can remember the first time I visited the Omni just after it opened. The evening started with a short tour and description of the guts of the operation where we got to see the huge projector and film used to created the experience.

the omni theater projector

We were then ushered to our seats where we were cautioned to hold on to the rails as we climbed the stairs.

an astronaut floating on the omni theater screen

Once the show began, I remember feeling such great awe. The first thing they did was play a short video from the perspective of the inside of a helicopter flying over Ft. Worth. As a roller-coaster-loving young lad, I loved it when the chopper quickly ascended over some of the skyscrapers in downtown. I felt like I was on one of my favorite rides at Six Flags!

Unfortunately, the cost of maintaining and operating the theater has been a rather sizeable thorn in the side of the museum for a number of years. The entire museum closed (along with everything else in the world) in March of 2020 as COVID took center stage in our lives, but the Omni IMAX never re-opened along with the rest of the museum. Now, per the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, the Omni is getting a HUGE makeover.

The new and improved version will do away with the projector and instead use an LED-infused ceiling/dome with 8k definition, which according to Tammy McKinney who is the VP of Development and Marketing at the museum, is the limit of what the human eye can perceive from a distance. The new and improved immersive experience will be unlike any other. If you never saw the original IMAX projector, fret not. It will remain on display in the museum as an exhibit.

The $20-million overhaul of the theater also includes updates to the seats (larger and more comfortable) as well as to the lobby. Construction is projected to start this spring with the theater slated to open in the summer of 2024.

I look forward to it!