Safety Protocols – What You Need to Know
We are happy that you want to plan your next visit to the newly renovated Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. Here’s what you need to know to make sure you have an out-of-this-world experience!
BEFORE YOUR VISIT
Please read this page carefully to ensure that you understand our safety protocols and procedures. Morehead is currently operating under the guidelines of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
When you’re ready, reserve your ticket(s) online by using our calendar.
PLAN YOUR VISIT
Timed Ticket Reservations
- Everyone in your party is required to have a reserved ticket including members. Please be sure to do this online before your visit.
- Timed ticketing is required. Guests will have two (2) hours to enjoy a planetarium show and explore exhibits.
- To adhere to restrictions such as one-way routing, visitors will begin the Morehead experience with a planetarium show in our fulldome theater. If you are not interested in seeing a planetarium show, you will still need to purchase a full-price ticket, and arrive 30 minutes after the listed time on your reserved, 2-hour timed ticket.
New Operating Hours
Visitors can enjoy a visit to Morehead during the following operating hours:
- Saturday | 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
- Sunday | 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Schools and other groups can make reservations for limited weekdays during the summer in July and early August. Please contact our reservations team if you have questions about a group reservation.
* Please note that all guests will receive a $3.00 discount at checkout to account for the limitations of COVID-19 safety protocols.
**UNC students with a valid ONYEN can now enjoy $4.00 planetarium shows and free admission to Morehead. To reserve UNC student tickets, please call our box office at 919.962.1236. This discount cannot be redeemed online.
We know that everyone – including small children – can transmit COVID-19, and we also know that wearing a mask is one of the most effective strategies in preventing transmission of the virus.
In accordance with University guidelines, all guests age 2 and older are required to wear a mask while inside of the building. At this time, we are not accepting gaiters, vented masks, and bandanas. We are asking that you delay your visit if you or anyone in your party cannot wear a mask for any reason. In the meantime, we invite you to explore our virtual program offerings via Morehead At Home.
Morehead team members will also be required to wear a face mask at all times, and in some instances, may wear a face shield for additional protection.
DURING YOUR VISIT
We have diligently worked to ensure compliance with local and state guidelines, and we need your help during your next visit.
Wear a proper face mask
All guests age 2 and older are required to wear a mask while inside of the building. Gaiters, vented masks and bandanas are prohibited.
Practice physical distancing
Please respect physical distancing between groups of guests and others.
Wash your hands frequently
New sanitization stations are located throughout the building; we encourage you to use them and to wash your hands frequently.
Stay home if you’re sick
If you or anyone in your party are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, we ask that you reschedule your visit to Morehead.
We’re pleased to share the new Morehead Planetarium and Science Center with you! The reimagination of ourselves over the last decade has culminated in an upgraded building with more interactive exhibits and new experiences for our visitors. Due to the current public health crisis, there are some limitations but here’s what you’ll be able to explore during your visit:
- Fulldome planetarium shows including our popular Carolina Skies show as well as two new shows
- 5000+ square feet of new interactive exhibits featuring research from UNC scientists
- Science demonstrations with Morehead educators
When it is safe, we will open our highly interactive exhibits, the new Launch Lab (STEM maker space), and our full Science Stage.
Also Good To Know
- The building capacity for guests is currently 60 people maximum. Guests will be split into Group A and Group B onsite for ease of movement in the building and to optimize physical distancing. We ask that guests stay in assigned groups as much as possible and adhere to staff guidance.
- Please review this CDC quick guide on proper mask wearing procedures.
- Please arrive on time for the reserved time slot on your ticket(s) that you purchase online.
- Food and drink are prohibited in the building. We ask that you consume all food and drink before or after your visit to Morehead.
- These new protocols will help us keep everyone safe. We ask that you are respectful of these protocols and our staff who enforce them as we try to navigate this new experience together. If you cannot adhere to every protocol during your visit, we ask that you postpone your visit until later date.
Here’s what we are doing to help keep visitors safe
Increasing disinfection and sanitation procedures
High-touch surfaces are being disinfected and sanitized on a more frequent basis. We have also installed more hand sanitizer stations for use by visitors and staff.
Providing a fun, safe and engaging experience
Our team has worked hard to create fun, new COVID-safe experiences. For everyone’s safety, some exhibitions will be adjusted or temporarily closed. Our planetarium will be open at reduced capacity.
Limiting total capacity in the building
We are limiting our total capacity under guidance from UNC Chapel Hill. This will allow for more physical distancing throughout the building.
We’ve improved air quality in the building
We have installed MERV-13 filters throughout the building and will maximize airflow by propping doors and windows open when possible.
We are also doing the following:
- Requiring team members to monitor personal health daily, and to authenticate this by signature at the beginning of each scheduled shift onsite.
- Continually assessing protocols: Our Reopening Task Force will continue to assess risk and develop necessary protocols to keep staff and guests safe. This task force will remain in place indefinitely.
- Following the science of University, local, state and federal authorities: We will continue to operate with precautions in place as recommended by leading public health officials.
I’m a member. Do I need to reserve tickets?
Yes. All guests including members must reserve tickets in advance of their next visit.
Who has to wear a mask?
In accordance with University policy, we are asking all guests over the age of 2 to wear a proper face covering. We are asking that if someone in your party cannot wear a face covering for any reason that you delay your visit until a later date. Please consider one of our virtual program offerings via Morehead At Home.
Are face shields considered a proper face covering?
No. Face masks may be of different types, including cloth face masks and disposable medical/surgical masks, but should at minimum fit snugly and securely over the mouth and nose and against the side of the face; and be secured by ties or ear loops.
What if I arrive earlier or later than the time on my ticket?
We cannot guarantee entry outside of your reservation window due to guidelines for capacity. We ask that everyone arrive 15 minutes early to allow for seating. If you arrive late, please speak with Morehead staff to create a new reservation for the next available time slot.
Can I leave and come back the same day?
No. Re-entry is not allowed at this time due to public health and safety guidelines.
Are reciprocal memberships being honored for admission?
Like similar zoos, aquariums, and science centers, Morehead is not currently offering admission discounts through reciprocal programs. We hope to be able to resume these discounts soon.
What about other special discounts?
We are not accepting special discounts at this time, however, we are currently providing a temporary $3.00 discount to all visitors for the inconvenience of COVID-19 safety protocols on visitor experience. This discount is automatically applied.
What happens if I show up without a reserved ticket?
All guests are required to reserve their ticket before they visit Morehead. We cannot guarantee entry to visitors who do not have a ticket.
Is there a limit to the number of people in a group or household?
In general, large groups are discouraged at this time. The maximum group size for a household is 10 people at this time. If you would like to make a group reservation, please contact our reservations team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that a group rate may apply.
In response to COVID-19, Morehead has established certain enhanced health and safety measures like the ones listed above. Compliance with all posted instructions and any directions from Morehead staff is mandatory. Any guest who does not comply may be denied entry or be required to leave. By entering Morehead, guests understand and voluntarily assume all risks related to potential COVID-19 exposure.