School-Year Visits (October-June, Wednesday-Friday)

Are your students ready for an exciting and inspiring educational adventure? If so, please consider a trip to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. All of our school visits give your students time to explore and interact with our exhibits on astronomy, aviation, Earth and space science. School field trips take place on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays during the regular school year. We are still booking field trips for schools and other groups during the summer. We require 30 minutes between arrival and the start of a planetarium show or Discovery Experience so please plan accordingly. Contact Sarah Nappo at 603-271-7827 ext 113 or to book your visit.

If you are interested in a more detailed conversation to ensure your field trip meets your curriculum goals, contact Mirka Zapletal at 603-271-7827 ext 117 (lower grades) or Sarah Beattie at 603-271-7827 ext 114 (upper grades).

To make your field trip even more memorable:

Add a planetarium show - Our full-dome planetarium shows will immerse your students in the topic of your choice--from the history of the space program to the constellations in our night sky.  Students will also enjoy a pre-show demonstration/discussion. Our planetarium theater seats 103, with space for up to 4 wheelchairs. Larger groups can be accommodated by booking more than one time slot. Planetarium shows run approximately 40-45 minutes. The theater is "looped" with a magnetic loop system that enables individuals with Telecoil-equipped hearing aids to fully enjoy planetarium shows, thanks to the New Hampshire Academy of Audiology and Oticon.

Sign up for a Discovery Experience - Give your students the opportunity to dive into Earth and space science by including a hands-on, interactive workshop. These Discovery Experiences cover a wide variety of topics for all grade levels (K-12). They are limited to 25 students and last approximately 45 minutes. Larger groups can be accommodated by a rotating schedule including the experience, exploring the museum, lunch etc. for each time block. 

Cost -The cost for your school visit, which includes either a planetarium show or a Discovery Experience, is $7 per student. One free chaperone is included for each 10 students; additional adults are $7 each. Teachers and chaperones are expected to play an active role in student supervision while at the Discovery Center.  As a courtesy, your bus driver may also have free admission, and may view a planetarium show with your class on a space available basis. At least 10 participants or a minimum of $70 are required to book a school visit. Booking more than one adventure during your visit? Each additional show/experience is only $5 per student and additional adults!

planetarium shows for schools mcauliffe-shepard discovery center

Traveling Planetarium

Can’t come to us? We’ll come to you! In our portable, inflatable planetarium, we offer a variety of shows for groups of 25-35 students at a time:

  • Tonight’s Sky – We will customize a show for your students about the constellations and the night sky. Great for all ages.

  • Ice Worlds – Visit the two poles of Earth and the icy landscapes of our solar system. For grades 5-8.

  • The Amazing Telescope - A dynamic look at the development and types of telescopes from Galileo's time to the high-powered observatories of today. For grades 7-12.

  • Impact Earth - What are the differences between asteroids, meteors and comets? Learn how these objects are discovered, how they affect our planet and how potential impacts might be deflected. For grades 5-8.

Requirements: A room with 16-foot ceiling clearance, with no obstructions (i.e., the lowest hanging item, like a ceiling beam or light fixture, must be at least 16’ high or we can’t inflate the planetarium) and a minimum of a 900-square-foot floor space ( 30 feet by 30 feet) to ensure room for the planetarium and for students to gather to enter and leave the planetarium. Gyms and cafeterias are often the ideal locations for our Traveling Planetarium.
Cost: $250, plus round-trip mileage from Concord for one session. Each additional same-day session is $125 with a maximum of five sessions, plus mileage.
Session length: 30-40 minutes.

To book the Traveling Planetarium, call at 603-271-7827 x113.

Educator Demonstrations

Educator demonstrations are designed for the classroom and ideal for up to 60 students to maximize visibility. Demonstrations can sometimes be modified for more students with advance notice.

  • ISS - Living and Working in Space: Using exclusive NASA videos and a variety of visual and hands on demonstrations, students will learn how astronauts live and work in space while answering questions like: What is it like to live in space? How do astronauts adjust to microgravity? What are the astronauts doing in space? Recommended for grades 1-6.

  • Solar Telescope: We will bring our telescopes to your event during the day for solar viewing or at night for viewing stars, planets and other objects in the night sky. If requested, this program can also include presentations about how telescopes work, why dark skies are important and what the beginner should look for in purchasing a telescope. Can be set up outside or inside.

  • The Comet Show (ages 8 and up): In this workshop, participants will learn about comets through creating one themselves. They will explore questions like where do comets come from, what are they made of and how many types of comets are there? Then they will take this knowledge and through the help of an educator create a comet look like with dry ice and other materials.

Cost: $175 per hour per educator plus round-trip mileage from Concord, NH for the first session, plus $125 for each additional session

To book an educator demonstration, call 603-271-7827 x113.

Mini Paper Rocket Workshop

In this workshop, participants will be guided through the engineering challenge of designing a paper rocket. We will explore common aeronautical questions like: how do planes fly and how can rockets fly so high. Then participants put their new knowledge to the test as they construct a paper rocket and use our air powered launcher to send their rocket into the air. A well made rocket can go 200 feet or more! We limit groups to 25 per session.

Cost: $250 per workshop, plus round-trip mileage from Concord, NH for the first session, $125 for each additional session.

To book a mini paper rocket workshop, call 603-271-7827 x113.