• Heath and Kelsey Hensley pose for a photo inside the Cosmosphere on Saturday.

Cosmosphere helps bring proposal 'full circle' for couple whose bond includes love for the stars

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

There aren't many opportunities for do-overs in life, but Heath Hensley made the most of a recent do-over opportunity with his wife, Kelsey.

The couple married June 27, 2016, in a small courthouse ceremony so they could be married before their baby, Alex, now age 6 months, was born. Kelsey said Heath proposed before the pregnancy, but they moved up their wedding date because of it.

That wasn't how they had wanted to do things, so Heath said he started formulating plans to re-propose to Kelsey so they could have a larger ceremony renewing their vows.

On Feb. 23, Heath spontaneously decided it was time for the re-proposal, and he knew he wanted to propose at the Cosmosphere, because of his and Kelsey's shared love of space, astronomy, astrology and science. He said the timing was partly to have it done before he had to go to Wisconsin for work.

Heath planned a riddle to get Kelsey to meet him at the Cosmosphere: "Where Titans stand, and Greek gods stare, when you're off work, I'll meet you there," referring to the use of names from Greek and Roman mythology in astronomy and space exploration.

In the meantime, he worked with Cosmosphere staff to plan the proposal. Box office associate Sam Wilson said staff asked Heath how they could tailor things to the couple. After some discussion, they decided on a presentation in the Justice Planetarium, featuring the constellation Libra, Kelsey's Zodiac sign.

With that in mind, Wilson did a presentation on the ecliptic, the path the sun appears to take through the sky over the course of a year, and some of the Zodiac constellations, finishing with Libra.

At the end of the short presentation, with a song Heath picked out playing, Wilson brought the lights back up and Heath got down on a knee and proposed to Kelsey.

"I started crying," Kelsey said. "I turned beet red."

"It was awesome to help it come full circle," Wilson said. "It made my day a little bit better."

"(The Cosmosphere) made it very memorable," Heath said.

Although the Cosmosphere hosts its share of weddings – there was one just this past week – proposals are a bit rarer. Box office representative Tristyn Green, who helped with Heath's proposal, said people may propose on their own privately in the museum, but he hadn't seen any other proposals in four years.

"That's the first I've seen here," he said.

Director of Visitor Experience Tom Holcomb said all three proposals he knows about at the Cosmosphere involved the planetarium, and he has a theory of why. He said telling stories around fires under the stars is one of the oldest ways people socialize, and the planetarium is a modern version of that.

"The planetarium is pretty primal," Holcomb said.

He said there was one proposal at the planetarium when he was running it, and it was fun to be a part of it.

"We have not had a wedding in there (the planetarium)," he added.

"That would actually be pretty awesome: Get married under the stars," Kelsey said.

After the interview, Heath told The News they had booked the planetarium for their ceremony.