Free evening tours are available for organized groups of 12 or more children and/or adults. We can accommodate up to 25 people including, if applicable, leaders or chaperones.
Typical groups that visit include Girl Guides (Brownies and Guides) and Boy Scouts (Cubs and Scouts), other youth groups, school classes, various adult groups, and cadets. Please note that our programs are not suitable for children under 7 (this would include Beavers and Sparks).
Group tours are scheduled on Monday evenings. The start time is set based on the time of sunset and the preference of the group.
The mid to late fall and the winter to early spring are the most popular times. By late March, it gets dark too late in the evening for groups with young children.
Due to the observatory's use by our astronomy students and other commitments, with few exceptions, we cannot accommodate other evenings.
Group tours consist of a 45 minute presentation in a classroom titled: either "Tour of the Universe" or "Tour of the Solar System" (adjusted to suit the group) followed by a visit to the observatory.
On clear evenings, the telescope is used to view the planets, the Moon, or other interesting celestial objects. On cloudy evenings, the operation of the observatory's telescope (and telescopes in general) is explained. If time permits, we also use our Observation Deck to point out the stars and constellations.
The tour lasts about 1.5 hours - this includes walking time from the meeting place. They are held whether or not the skies are clear.
Contact Us, preferably by phone (during weekday hours) or if you prefer, you can email us too. Tours are typically booked weeks or months in advance.
Observatory staff are also available for a very limited number of daytime tours, but note that we cannot see the stars during the daytime - however on sunny days we can observe the Sun using our solar telescope. We can also travel to your group or school to provide an astronomy presentation.