Field Trip & Reservation FAQs
Please request a reservation as far in advance as possible. We traditionally start accepting School Year reservations in June/July, and we start accepting Summer reservations in late March-early April.
At minimum, please request reservations at least 3 weeks in advance. Reservations are not booked for dates less than 2 wees in advance and we require that week before the 2 week deadline to review your request, schedule your visit, and discuss/confirm details with the primary contact.
A minimum of 10 guests is required to book a reservation at the group or school rate. Certain school programs such as our Enrichment Experiences and Launch Lab programs require at least 10 students to book the visit.
Morehead requires approximately 1 adult per 10 students or children in your group. For this reason, Morehead offers 1 free adult per 10 students or children.
You are welcome to have more chaperones, but these adults must be listed on your reservation and accounted for. Chaperones may not purchase tickets separately.
All our scheduled programs last about 45 minutes, starting at the bottom half of the hour. Programs are booked to an hour block to allow about 15 minutes at the end of the program for a restroom break and transitioning to your next activity. Our earliest time slots for programs is 9:30 a.m., then 10:30 a.m., etc. Our last time slot for group programs on weekdays is 3:30 p.m.- 4:30 p.m. By default, all reservations also include time in the exhibits, and we typically schedule this for a one hour block, but it can be shortened to only 30 minutes if desired.
To request a reservation, complete a request form on the Field Trips page. We strive to reply to most requests within 2-3 days most of the year. However, during periods of extremely high request volume, such as August-early October and January-February, it may take over a week for our team to respond to requests. Once our reservations team reaches out to you, they’ll be able to share information about what availability we have or what dates/programs we were able to book for your group, in addition to information on how to confirm your reservation.
At this time, a deposit is not required to book or confirm weekday field trip reservations to Morehead. Reservations for private/evening shows will require payment in full to confirm the reservation.
Morehead welcomes requests from guests with special needs and/or requests for accommodations. If anyone in your group has any special needs or accessibility/wheelchair needs, environmental concerns for those with mental or developmental impairments, etc., please let us know and we can discuss how we can best accommodate your group. Please let us know about needs and accommodations requests as far in advance as possible to ensure adequate time to review and address the request.
Solar System Odyssey, Astronaut, Take Flight, and Little Start That Could are available in Spanish audio by advance request. For group field trips, Morehead can present the show in Spanish audio for the entire audience. Morehead can also present the show in English and provide an assistive listening device for up to 6 guests who need to hear a Spanish translation of the show. While the show content can be presented in Spanish, the introduction at the start of the show and star tour at the end will be given in English by our presenters.
Minimum attendance for all group reservations are due by 5 p.m. three business days before your visit date. You can always add more guests after this date if space allows, but the number of guests on your reservation won’t be able to drop below this minimum attendance after that date. If you don’t provide an updated attendance by that date, the attendance on your reservation at that time will automatically become your minimum attendance.
Yes. The school is responsible for all tickets on the reservation at the time that minimum attendance is due. Morehead does not offer refunds or alter reservations due to unused minimum tickets or overpayments due to absent guests.
The deadline to cancel your reservation will be marked on your order summary and invoice.
Most types of in-person reservations at Morehead must be cancelled by 5 p.m. three business days prior to your visit to avoid penalty (i.e. if your visit is on Friday, the deadline is 5 p.m. that Tuesday before).
The deadline for private shows and programs is typically 2 weeks in advance.
If the type of reservation you’re booked to has a different timeline for cancellation, it will be noted in your confirmation email and on your invoice.
Payment is due in advance by default for all reservations, and the due date will be marked on your order summary and invoice.
Payment for most in-person field trips at Morehead are due by 5 p.m. on or before 3 business days prior to your visit, usually the same due date for minimum attendance or cancellation. If your visit is on a Friday, this would be the Tuesday prior. If your visit is on a Tuesday, this would be the Thursday prior,
Payment for most private programs at Morehead are due at the time of booking, and is required to confirm the reservation.
If your school or organization is exempt from paying sales & use tax in the state of North Carolina, please provide us with your NC Dept. of Revenue issued Tax Exemption Certificate Number (6 digits, no dashes or spaces) for verification. If your tax exempt number is valid, sales tax can be removed from your order. Please note that tax exemption must be requested prior to paying for your visit. Tax exemptions are verified using the online search available at: https://eservices.dor.nc.gov/exemption/.
NC Sales & Use tax exemption is not the same as income tax exemption. Income tax exemption numbers cannot be used in place of NC tax exemption certificate numbers.
No. Membership benefits do not apply to tickets that are part of a group reservation or field trip.
No. Please plan to pay for all guests on your reservation in one lump sum payment. If your school or school district has a policy in place that prevents the school from collecting funds and paying for required parent chaperone’s tickets, please contact us to see how we can best accommodate your needs.
Generally, the best strategy for this is to add a small number (about 10 or so) extra adult tickets onto your reservation (not including teachers and required chaperones), and have parents sign up for and pay your school for those tickets. If you get more interest than that, contact us to add more tickets to your reservation (if available), and have parents sign up for the extra seats etc. Then give us a call/email us no later than the deadline to provide your minimum attendance, and remove the extra adult tickets you didn’t have anyone sign up for.
If you wait to add extra tickets until after you’ve already collected money from additional parents, you may end up having to refund or deny parents the opportunity to attend if there isn’t enough room to add those tickets when you call to add them!
Take I-40 to Exit 270. Take Highway 15-501 South (toward Chapel Hill) 1.5 miles. Fork right onto Franklin Street. Go 2.6 miles. Morehead is on the left. Alternatively, use this Google Maps Link for customized directions.
We recommend groups plan to arrive at Morehead at least 15-20 minutes before the start of their first program. This time will be needed to offload your students, visit restrooms (if necessary) and ensure your group is lined up in time to be seated for your program.
If you are running late, please contact the reservations office at 919.843.7993 as soon as possible so that we can discuss options for adjusting your schedule if needed. We are generally unable to hold shows for late groups, and our ability to seat your group after the show has started is severely limited. We will make every effort to get you to your programs as scheduled, or offer alterative programming if space is available.
Morehead does not offer refunds for late arrivals.
The parking lot in front of Morehead Planetarium & Science Center is owned and operated by UNC Chapel Hill, and is not available for parking buses or oversize vehicles. Buses and large vehicles are able to pull into the parking lot and drop off guests, but must park off site.
UNC Chapel Hill has designated a limited amount of space along Skipper Bowles Drive on south campus for bus parking. This parking is located along Skipper Bowles Drive in the right-most travel lane between Tar Heel Boulevard/Carolina Basketball Museum and Kenan Drive, in front of the Dean E Smith Center. Buses may not block driveways/vehicle entrances, crosswalks, or the Chapel Hill Transit bus stop in front of the Smith Center. Printable directions to this parking area are available here, and available as a google maps link here.
Otherwise, buses may elect to park elsewhere in Chapel Hill while waiting to pick up their group. Morehead recommends buses park off-site at New Hope Commons shopping center, about 5 miles off campus. You can find directions to the shopping center from Morehead here. It’s located directly down Franklin Street and Hwy 15/501, just past the intersection with Interstate 40.
University Place Mall is NOT available for bus parking. Due to ongoing construction and future impacts on parking lot configuration, University Place Mall will no longer be a suitable off-campus location for buses and oversize vehicles to park.
Morehead has picnic tables behind the building that are first-come first-serve during the school year (unavailable during the summer), and there are plenty of open grassy areas nearby for picnic style lunches.
Unfortunately, we do not have space in the building to offer any interior seating for lunch breaks, including during severe weather. If weather is poor, the best solution for most schools is to stop and eat on the bus during the return trip to school. If that is not an option for your school, please contact us to discuss your plans for lunch and see how we can best accommodate your group.
Yes. We have carts we use to store each school’s lunches, and these carts are placed under the awning outside and kept out of the weather. Morehead staff will assist schools in collecting, storing, and bringing your lunches out for your group.
Check out Downtown Chapel Hill for a listing of restaurants in Chapel Hill. Check addresses to see which are within walking distance for your group. Most restaurants will require an advance notice, and may not be able to seat very large groups.
No open drink containers are permitted inside the fulldome theater. Any beverages must have lids.
Electronic devices such as phones, cameras, etc should remain off during presentations in the theater to avoid disruptions during the program.
Large groups should generally split into groups of 30 or so to visit the gift shop adjacent to the exhibits.
No smoking within 100 ft of any university building, including the Planetarium. The UNC Department of Public Safety may issue citations for smoking violations.