Morehead Planetarium & Science Center, as a unit of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has suspended public operations until further notice because of ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) concerns. You can read our full statement here. While you’re here, check out Morehead At Home, an online hub of resources for you to enjoy at home!

Field Trip & Reservation FAQs

Please request a reservation as far in advance as possible. We start accepting School Year reservations in the May of the previous school year, and we start accepting Summer reservations in February.

At minimum, please request reservations at least a week in advance. We do not accommodate reservations made less than a week ahead of time.

A minimum of 10 guests is required to receive group pricing and book tickets more than 2 weeks in advance.

Groups of 10-49 guests can be booked into any preexisting planetarium shows already on our schedule. If you’d also like to see a Science Stage or Discovery Class and it isn’t on our schedule, we can add one if the venue(s) are available.

For groups of 50+ where your planetarium show of choice isn’t already on our schedule, we can add one if the theater is available to add another show that day.

No, but we strongly recommend at least 1 adult per 10 children/students in your group. You are welcome to have more adults as well – just make sure they are accounted for on your reservation.

All planetarium shows, science stage programs, and discovery classes last about 45 minutes, but are booked for an hour block starting at the bottom half of the hour. 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.

To request a reservation, complete a request form on the Field Trips page. We’ll usually be able to get back to you within 2-3 days to either work out scheduling details, or send you information about a tentative reservation we’ve booked based on your request. There will be information in that email on how to confirm your reservation.

At this time, a deposit is not required to book or confirm regular or private on-site reservations to Morehead.

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.

Solar System Odyssey, Astronaut, Black Holes, Dynamic Earth, and Grossology are 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 up to 9 guests who need to hear a Spanish translation of the show.

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. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, 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 most types of on-site reservations to Morehead is by 4:30 p.m. three business days prior to your visit (i.e. if your visit is on Friday, the deadline is 4:30 p.m. that Tuesday before).

The deadline for private shows is usually 1 week 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 for most types of on-site field trips and visits by 5 p.m. on or before 3 business days prior to your visit, usually the same date that your minimum attendance is due.

If your visit type requires different payment due dates, it will be noted on your confirmation emails and on your invoice.

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/.

No. Membership benefits do not apply to tickets that are part of a group reservation.

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.

We strongly advise against schools inviting guests along who are not listed on your reservation. Guests not listed on your reservation may purchase tickets to planetarium shows starting 2 weeks in advance through our online calendar, or on the day of the visit in our Gift Shop. However please note the following:

  • If capacity for a show is exceptionally low, tickets may not be available in advance/online.
  • Shows may be sold out by the time the 2-week window for online tickets opens.
  • General public guests, such as parents paying separately, cannot purchase tickets to or otherwise attend Science Stage programs or Discovery Classes, only planetarium shows.
  • We cannot guarantee that parents paying separately will be able to sit with the group, as the group may be seated before the parent has paid for their ticket in the Gift Shop.

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, just add more tickets to your reservation, 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 have parents sign up for and pay for tickets without adding them to your reservation first, you may end up having to refund or deny parents the opportunity to attend, if there aren’t any more tickets available in your programs when you call to add those parents to your reservation!

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 15-20 minutes before the start of their first program. Be sure to account for traffic!

If you are running late, please contact us at 919.962.1236 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.

UNC-Chapel Hill owns and operates the parking lot in front of Morehead and does not allow bus parking in the lot. Buses are allowed to drop off students in the designated bus lane in the lot and then park at University Place (Google Maps Location Here) at the end of the parking lot by Silverspot Cinema. Morehead’s Guest Relations team can shuttle bus drivers between parking and Morehead by request until 1:00 p.m. during the regular school year (late August – early June) and any time during the summer (early June – late August).

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 http://www.downtownchapelhill.com/dining for a listing of restaurants in Chapel Hill. Check addresses to see which are within walking distance for your group.

No food, drink or chewing gum inside the building. No cameras, videos, cell phone or other electronic devices that can be disruptive during programs. Large groups should generally split into groups of 30 or fewer to visit the gift shop. No smoking within 100 ft of any university building, including the Planetarium. The UNC Department of Public Safety may issue citations for smoking violations.