Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I buy tickets by telephone?
- Can I buy tickets in advance?
- Why don't you offer any shows on weekdays?
- Where do I park?
- Why is there a charge to park in the Morehead lot?
- Do you still have laser shows such as "Pink Floyd?"
- Do you have any shows in Spanish?
- Which shows would be good for my child?
- How do I learn about Morehead activities?
- When will Morehead begin its renovation project? How will that affect my membership?
- Where can I park?
- Can my grandchildren visit Morehead using my membership? What about other family members? What about a caregiver or babysitter?
- Can my children use membership benefits when they visit the planetarium on their school field trips?
- How do I register my children for summer camp and Saturday classes?
- What's the Jupiter Ball? How can I attend?
- My company will match charitable contributions. How can I use this to help Morehead?
- How do I get my membership number?
- As a Morehead member, am I eligible for benefits at any other museum?
- Why is your name now "Morehead Planetarium and Science Center?"
- Can I have a corporate outing there?
- Do you offer birthday parties?
- Can I look through the big telescope at the planetarium?
- I'm thinking about buying a telescope — do you have any suggestions?
- I just got an e-mail that said Mars would pass so close to Earth that Mars would look as big as the Moon. Is that true?
- I heard that I can get a star named for me. How does that work?
- My organization is having a charity event. How can I get a donation from Morehead?
- What happened to the Orrery?
Can I buy tickets by telephone?
Tickets are only available at the Morehead Gift Shop. Ticket sales begin one half-hour before show time.
Can I buy tickets in advance?
Tickets go on sale one half-hour before show time.
Why don’t you offer shows on weekdays?
Morehead offers shows on weekdays (except Monday) during the summer and during the last two weeks of December. During the rest of the year, school classes and other groups can make a reservation to see a specific show during the week. The general public can buy tickets to these shows, which are listed on the home page calendar, if seats remain. However, if the group that made the reservation does not come for any reason, Morehead reserves the right not to run the show.
Where do I park?
Please refer to the parking page.
Why is there a charge to park in the Morehead lot?
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill operates the parking lot through its Department of Public Safety. The University is faced with an ongoing parking shortage and does not offer free parking in any campus lot during the workday. For more information, please visit the parking page.
Do you still have laser shows?
Morehead offered laser shows for the final time in fall 2009. In January 2010, Morehead installed a new fulldome digital video projection system that is capable of offering superior "visual experience" shows.
Do you have any shows in Spanish?
"Solar System Odyssey" is available in Spanish by advance request. For group field trips, Morehead can present the show entirely in Spanish. Morehead can also present the show in English and provide an assistive listening device for a guest who needs to hear a Spanish translation of the show.
Which shows would be good for my child?
Our show pages have guidelines for the age appropriateness for each show.
How do I learn about Morehead activities?
The Morehead website is the best source of information about Morehead activities. It is updated frequently and provides daily listings of shows and events.
If you are a Morehead member and you provided your e-mail address with your membership application, you’ll receive e-mail announcements before special events. You’ll also receive notice of special members-only opportunities through the e-mail announcement list.
Morehead also offers eNews, a free monthly e-mail newsletter for the public.
When will Morehead begin its renovation project?
Since its construction in 1949, Morehead has hosted more than six million visitors but has never undergone a significant renovation. UNC is planning a renovation project that will restore the Morehead Building to its original grandeur and will provide new spaces for educational programming.
Due to the State of North Carolina's current budget challenges, plans for the renovation have been tabled at this time.
Where can I park?
It can be challenging to find a parking space during peak hours. There’s a pay lot in front of Morehead, metered parking along Franklin Street and a parking deck on Rosemary Street.
UNC’s Department of Public Safety operates the pay lot; the parking fee is currently $1.50 per hour. There are 40 visitor spaces available on weekdays. The pay lot does not offer bus parking; buses may deliver passengers to Morehead but must park in the University Mall parking lot, about one mile from campus.
If you are a Morehead member, you’ll receive several parking vouchers in your membership packet. You can exchange each voucher in the Morehead gift shop for a coupon valid for one hour of parking in the pay lot. (Morehead must purchase these coupons from DPS; if you want to maximize your donation to Morehead, don’t redeem your vouchers.)
Please note that the pay lot is sometimes free (until 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays) and sometimes closed or reserved for UNC events.
Can my grandchildren visit Morehead using my membership? What about other family members? What about a caregiver or babysitter?
All of Morehead's general membership categories provide benefits for one or two adults and their children or grandchildren (ages 18 or younger) living in the same household.
Those benefits do not extend to adult children, adult siblings or nieces and nephews of any age. However, each membership packet includes several guest passes, which members may use to provide admission to other family members.
A caregiver or babysitter may accompany children, using the membership card, if a parent or grandparent is not present.
Can my children use membership benefits when they visit the planetarium on their school field trips?
Because children (and their adult chaperons) are registered for admission as a group when they visit Morehead on school or other field trips, they cannot use their membership benefits for admission.
How do I register my children for summer camp and Saturday classes?
For Saturday classes, registration is as simple as calling Morehead Guest Relations at (919) 962-1236 or coming to the center's business office during weekday business hours. You may pay by credit card for telephone registrations. In person, you may pay by credit card, check or cash.
Due to the demand for Morehead Summer Science Camps, registration for summer camp is online. For the 2011 camp season, registration opens for Morehead members on Feb. 7 at 12 noon and for the general public on Feb. 14 at 12 noon. Camp descriptions, dates and policies are posted on the Morehead website beginning in late January.
What’s the Jupiter Ball? How can I attend?
The Jupiter Ball, held in the fall, is Morehead’s annual gala fundraising event — a black-tie party with music, dinner, dancing and more! In recent years, the Jupiter Ball has raised nearly $70,000 annually for educational programs at Morehead.
Every Morehead member, as well as nonmembers who attended the Jupiter Ball during the past year, receives a formal invitation about two months before the event. Individuals who did not receive a formal invitation may request one by calling 919-843-3474. To reserve your place at the party, simply return the invitation’s reply card with payment.
My company will match charitable contributions. How can I use this to help Morehead?
Thank you for your desire to maximize your donation to Morehead! Unfortunately, most companies do not match charitable contributions if the donor receives a membership benefit in exchange for his or her donation. Although some Morehead members are able to match their donations with company support, many are not.
If your company matches charitable contributions, your company’s human resources office can provide an official form for you. Please read the form carefully to determine your company’s guidelines and, if those guidelines permit, submit the form with your membership application.
Company “matches” cannot be used to pay a portion of membership dues and do not change the membership category established by the member’s dues payment.
How do I get my membership number?
The nine-digit membership number appears directly above the member’s name on mailing labels for Sundial and other correspondence from Morehead. If the membership is a renewal, the membership number will also appear on the membership card.
Because membership numbers are assigned by the UNC development office, not by Morehead, membership numbers are not immediately available for new members. If a new member needs a membership number (to register a child for camp, for example), the Morehead membership office will provide a temporary number.
As a Morehead member, am I eligible for benefits at any other museum?
Yes! As of May 1, 2006, Morehead participates in the Passport Program of the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC). Morehead members may show their membership cards at any other Passport Program participant to receive free admission or other benefits. Please note that, following ASTC policy, this benefit does not apply to Passport Program participants within a 90-mile radius of Morehead.
There are more than 300 Passport Program participants in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and other countries. For a complete list of ASTC Passport Program participants and other information about this benefit, please visit the ASTC website.
Why is your name now “Morehead Planetarium and Science Center?”
In 2002, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center expanded its mission to embrace all sciences – not just astronomy. In the coming years, Morehead's program offerings will increase dramatically, and the Morehead Building will be renovated to reflect this expanded mission.
Can I have a corporate outing there?
Any corporate group that wants a private show for employees or clients in the GSK Fulldome Theater may book a group reservation.
Do you offer birthday parties?
Yes! Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I look through the big telescope at the planetarium?
The observatory (the dome you see on the east end of the building) and its 24-inch reflecting telescope is not part of Morehead Planetarium. The UNC Department of Physics and Astronomy operates the observatory and its telescope. You can visit the observatory on Guest Night each month. To learn more, please visit The UNC Department of Physics and Astronomy website for more information about this activity. You can also register online for Guest Night.
I'm thinking about buying a telescope — do you have any suggestions?
There are some tips to help you make your decision on this special page about buying a telescope.
I just got an e-mail that said Mars would pass so close that it would look as big as the Moon. Is that true?
No, it's not true. This is a famous e-mail hoax that began in 2003. Do the world a favor and delete it from your inbox. You can read the truth about it here. Or just do a Google search for "Mars hoax" and see all the results you'll get!
I heard I can get a star named for me. How does that work?
Although there are some for-profit companies that will (for a price) mail you a certificate that names "your" star, this is for entertainment purposes and is not valid in the scientific community. Want to know more? See what the International Astronomical Union says about this.
My organization is having a charity event. How can I get a donation from Morehead?
To be considered for a donation, your organization must:
- be recognized as a 501(c)3 (nonprofit) organization by the IRS
- be based in North Carolina
- send a written request on official organization letterhead to
Morehead Guest Relations, CB #3480, UNC, Chapel Hill, NC 27599 at least 30 days before the donation is needed
What happened to the Orrery?
When the planetarium first opened in 1949, it featured a Copernican Orrery — a room-sized model of the Solar System, with each planet orbiting the Sun at the correct speed relative to the other planets. The Orrery entertained and educated visitors for more than 50 years before its mechanism stalled beyond repair. Today, the Orrery has been renamed the Lower Exhibit Gallery and houses Morehead's "Zoom In" exhibit.