School-Year Visits (October-June)

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 begin at 9 AM, 10 AM, 11 AM and 12 PM on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. We require 30 minutes between arrival and the start of a planetarium show or Discovery Experience so please plan accordingly. Contact Elizabeth Pappas at or (603) 271-7827 x 104 to book your visit. 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 $6 per student. One free chaperone is included for each 10 students; additional adults are $6 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 $60 are required to book a school visit. Booking more than one adventure during your visit? Each additional show/experience is only $4 per student and additional adults!

planetarium shows for schools mcauliffe-shepard discovery center

Traveling Planetarium

In our portable, inflatable planetarium, we offer a variety of shows to choose from for groups of 30-40 students at a time:

  • Tonight’s Sky – our educators can customize a show 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.
  • Infinity Express – take an exciting journey of discovery to explore our solar system, includes breathtaking images from the Hubble Space Telescope. For grades 4-12.
  • 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 and how potential impacts might be deflected. For grades 5-8.

Requirements: an absolute minimum of 900 square feet (i.e. a square 30 feet by 30 feet) and a minimum of 20-foot ceiling clearance, with no obstructions.
Cost: $250, plus round-trip mileage from Concord for one session. Each additional same-day session is $125 with a maximum charge of $600 for five sessions, plus mileage.
Session length: 30-40 minutes.

To book the Traveling Planetarium, contact Elizabeth Pappas at or (603) 271-7827 x104.

Educator Demonstrations

Educator demonstrations are designed for the classroom and ideal for up to 60 students to maximize visibility. Demonstrations can 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.
  • Planet Hunter: In this interactive science theater presentation, students learn about the planets in our solar system and how scientists and engineers find planets orbiting other stars. Recommended for grades 1-5.
  • The Comet Show: Explore what a comet is made of and where they come from through interactive and exciting activities and demonstrations. This demonstration's grand finale involves a student volunteer making a spectacular model of a comet using dry ice, syrup and cookies. For Grades 1-8.
  • Telescopes-to-Go: 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.

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, contact Elizabeth Pappas at or (603) 271-7827 x104.

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!

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, contact Elizabeth Pappas at or (603) 271-7827 x104.