We are a discovery centre where everyone can experience Spectacular Science through the medium of interactive activities- every exhibit is designed to be played with to see what happens; investigate, learn and have fun!
We work in partnership with you and our education programme is constantly expanding with options for both Day and Twilight experiences.
"A huge thank you to the whole team for our wonderful trip last Friday. We had a fabulous time and the children learnt so much. The show and workshop were brilliant, and we felt so lucky to have the whole observatory to ourselves. On the way home one child said to me - ‘I will remember this day for the rest of my life, it was the best day ever’!"
"Thanks for such an awesome visit. Please don't change - this is one of our favourite trips. You guys are simply amazing. We're so grateful that wonderful places like this are available to enthuse the pupils".
OSC is unique among science centres because of its connection with astronomy: being located within buildings that were part of the former home of The Royal Greenwich Observatory.
It opened in 1995, with the aim of increasing appreciation of science and technology through interactive hands-on exhibitions, educational events and activities, taking into account the site's historic links. The vision was to become a place where everyone could explore, discover and learn. OSC has gone from strength to strength and offers Spectacular Science and discovery amongst the domes and telescopes of a world famous observatory.
The Observatory Science Centre is part of Science Projects Ltd. a company with charitable status dedicated to the promotion of science for everyone and designers of interactive exhibitions and hands-on exhibits since 1986. As a charitable organisation, profit from contract work is invested into the site to maintain the Grade II* Listed building and expand the exhibitions.
You can include as much or as little as you wish to make the most of your time on site........
Your visit gives access to 90+ educationally designed indoor interactive exhibits plus a further 20+ outdoor exhibits in the Discovery Park and Water Planet areas.
'Hands-on' at The Centre grows into 'minds-on' back at school as experience develops into understanding.
Time interacting with the exhibits will motivate pupils and stimulate their interest by offering first hand experiences (through seeing, hearing and feeling what happens) of ideas & principles that help science make sense.
Pupils leave with a wealth of enthusiasm that can reinforce previous knowledge and support work in the classroom. This helps to enhance the curriculum and provides opportunities for cross curricular activities as well as scientific enquiry.
The majority of educational groups participate in a workshop activity to compliment your topic: from bridge building to robot arms.
Most school groups also choose to add a guided Telescope Tour and / or Science Show.
"The whole visit was a fantastic experience. It was so well organised with not a minute wasted.The group activities were excellent and it was so nice to have the freedom to explore the exhibits during timetabled slots. We had a brilliant day and have already recommended a visit to colleagues in other schools. Thank you".
"Thank you all so much for such a fantastic day yesterday. The children were absolutely engaged and were full of how much they had enjoyed everything when we discussed it today. They learned so much more than I can ever do in the classroom and big thanks go to the three staff who led the workshops and telescope tour. Your organisation was faultless and you had thought of everything. I look forward to seeing you all again next year."
There is something for all Key Stages and we welcome groups from all school and educational establishments.
Some pupils will especially enjoy and benefit from the play element of the interactive exhibits; not even realising that they are learning at the same time. Others will adopt a different approach according to their own level of understanding and will have fun as they explore new principles.
There is no specific target age and Telescope Tours, Science Shows and Workshop Activities will engage all abilities with dialogue adjusted for each indivdual group.
We pride ourselves on adapting our educational programme for all ages & abilities and we encourage you to contact us with questions / suggestions / requests.
As an independent educational charity we strive to work in partnership with all educational groups and each year we incorporate workshops, team challenges and specific astronomy tours to fit into topic work and to include specific key words.
"I just wanted to send a massive thank you to everyone at the Observatory for giving us such a super day out. We all thought it was so well organised, perfectly pitched for our year groups and, frankly: a wonderfully easy day for us staff! And for that we are very grateful. We will certainly visit again!"
Your visit includes plenty of opportunity to explore the specially designed interactive exhibits, suitable for all.
Your admission can include a short workshop, appropriate to your topic and suitable for all.
We can also offer an extended workshop for an additional 50 pence per pupil, minimum £30 for groups of less than 30.
If you are booking a science show you can choose the same theme e.g. 'Newton in Motion' show and Bridge Building workshop, or a 'pick and mix' if your visit links different topics e.g. 'Materials What's the Matter' Show and Light Workshop.
"We had a fantastic day from start to finish. The workshops and staff that ran them were absolutely brilliant. Thank you for such a wonderful, enriching, fun filled school trip."
KS1 KS2 KS3 KS4
Your group will be led by a member of our team as you visit two domes housing historic telescopes.
The tour lasts approximately 40 minutes and dialogue is led by the level of the group. It costs an additional £1 per pupil: minimum £30.
KS1 KS2 KS3
We offer Spectacular Science shows with themes linked to specific topics.
A show costs an additional £1 per pupil, lasts approximately 35 minutes and is a memorable experience with learning opportunities to capture the imagination of your group.
Upper KS2 KS3 KS4
A popular package reinforcing the maxim that 'science can be fun'.
"Thank you so much for making our annual trip so enjoyable. The pupils had a fabulous time (as always) and we are ever grateful for your enthusiasm and patience."
Our programme is constantly evolving based around specialist equipment, often through grant projects.
Find all the FAQ essential information here: How to book, When can we visit, How many pupils etc.......
Check this section for our risk assessments.
Please contact us if further information is required.
KS1 KS2 KS3 KS4
Visiting The Centre after regular visitor hours 'The Observatory in the Dark' is an exciting experience for everyone.
If you cannot visit us, perhaps we can bring Spectacular Science to you!
"We just wanted to say thank you to you and your team for a fantastic day at the Observatory. Our children thoroughly enjoyed themselves and many told me it was the best day of their lives!"
If you are planning to bring a group to us, we invite you to take a complimentary visit to witness the site in action.
When The Observatory Science Centre is open (NOT special events / Stargazing evenings / Astronomy Festival) you can visit FREE OF CHARGE. This is the best way to ensure The Centre is right for your pupils and is an ideal opportunity for familiarisation of the site and to complete your own risk assessments etc.
We like to have an 'open door policy' but we do recommend you check ahead that we will be open on the day / time you intend to visit.
Just bring ID proof of status and show this on arrival and we will ask you to leave your school details at our reception. If you wish to speak with someone about any aspect of an Educational Visit please contact us in advance to make an appointment, or ask at reception to check if anyone is available.
If you visit with friends or family you will be asked to pay for their admission... but you are welcome to stay all day!
We strive to work in partnership with you to continue to offer high quality 'I can do' learning experiences that meet all needs and expectations, whilst offering exceptional value for money.
You can visit from the last week of January to the first week of December for day or twilight visits.
You can bring up to 200 pre-booked pupils at one time.
Accompanying, supervising adults are ALL admitted free of charge and are responsible for their group at all times.
We create a bespoke, structured timetable for your visit which we aim to supply in advance of your visit.
The timetable is based on the arrival / departure times you provide and facilitates the movement of groups of pupils to thir activities and different areas of the site.
On your confirmation documentation, we will have asked you to divide the pupils into a number of groups.
During our 'welcome' we will explain where you should meet The Centre team for your activities.
Your bespoke timetable is prepared by us and gives times for your pre-booked workshop / show / tour etc. In-between these activities your group will be timetabled for exhibit areas, lunch and gift shop.
The indoor corridor of exhibits contains 5 themed exhibition galleries which can be explored in any order. Each group leader should keep their children together to explore one exhibition area at a time, rather than spread out along the corridor.
Each group will also be allocated time to the outdoor exhibit areas of Discovery Park and Water Park (weather permitting).
Allowing for travelling time, a visit to us will fill your normal school day.
Ideally you should aim for a minimum of 3 hours but your booked activities will be timetabled to fit within the times you have told us you can be on site.
Groups are welcome morning, afternoon or evening.
We have FREE parking for all vehicles.
Ramped step-free access is at the rear of the main centre building, with 4 parking bays for cars / minibuses. This area is not accessible for coaches.
Cars & Minibuses: Grass field (mown) immediately adjacent to The Centre.
Coaches: Designated hard standing area located a short walk 100 metres (approx.) from our reception. Coaches are NOT permitted to drive right up to our reception.
We offer FREE admission for your coach driver, plus a FREE cup of tea / coffee from the Cafe.
Please advise your driver that NO coach is permitted to reverse whilst children are standing in the coach park. ALL children must remain seated until your vehicle has parked and is stationary.
We have a dedicated team of emploees and volunteers who will lead your booked workshop / tour / science show etc. All have a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Certificate and many are registered STEM Ambassadors.
ALL employees and volunteers wear uniform (purple) and / or name badge.
On arrival we meet you at outside our entrance reception. In fair weather we give a short 'Welcome & Safety' introduction before you enter the site. In wet weather we move straight to the school base: usually the large white geodesic dome or marquee.
"Please thank all the staff who were involved on the day for their support and for being so lovely with the children."
"The staff clearly enjoy interacting with the children - which isn't always the case on school trips!"
"The staff were really lovely and helpful."
Risk Assessments for the site, exhibits, activities etc. all available to download from this website.
The Observatory Science Centre operates in an historic site and visitors must take care at all times. Teachers and accompanying adults are responsible for the appropriate behaviour of their pupils at all times.
In the event of an evacuation of the building everyone assembles in the outdoor Discovery Park. If you are involved in a workshop, tour or similar, you will be directed by the science centre team. The teacher in charge of your visit will be expected to take a register to confirm all members of their group are accounted for.
The first aid room is located on the ground floor along the exhibits corridor. All visiting schools bring their own First Aider but if an incident or accident does occur it must be reported to us and one of our Emergency Aiders will assist you.
Groups of all ages are welcome and carers are admitted FREE of charge 1-1 ratio.
At the time of booking please discuss individual needs and access requirements, special facilities, or if additional carers are required to accompany the group.
The multi-sensory nature of many of the interactive exhibits makes them ideal for all ability levels.
Workshops, Telescope Tours and Science Shows can be adjusted for each group.
This is an historic site but the majority is wheelchair accessible.
Parking for cars / minibus and ramped, step-free access is at the rear of the main building.
The access toilet is located on the ground floor and includes height adjustable changing bed and hoist.
Property can be left in the geodesic dome / marquee and this is the same space for you to eat your lunch. It is not possible to lock these areas and they are shared with other groups.
Science Projects Ltd cannot accept any responsibility for loss or damage to personal items.
There is a patio and decked area outside the marquee which can be used for picnics in good weather: please note, our Risk Assessment does not permit school groups to sit near the pond for lunch.
The Cafe will be open for purchases but food / drink cannot be consumed in the exhibit corridor nor telescope domes etc.
Most schools choose for their pupils to wear school uniform, but this is not essential.
Pupils and adults should dress according to the weather conditions as the site comprises several buildings / domes and all doors are open to maintain airflow.
You will be walking outside to access different areas.
The buildings will be cold so it is advisable to wear layers and definitely coats / sturdy footwear during cold / wet months. We keep outdoor exhibits operational as long as it is safe to do so.
If you have booked a Twilight visit you should definitely wear warm layers.
Our Gift Shop is located within the entrance reception: every purchase helps to support our charity.
There is a great range of science and astronomy related gifts, pocket money toys and souvenirs.
Items are available from just 25 pence and this is a great opportunity for pupils to shop with 'real money' and practice their maths.
If pupils bring pocket money, small groups will be allocated a time to visit the shop as we cannot accommodate everyone at one time. Pupils must always be accompanied by their supervising adults.
You can also pre-order Goody Bags from £4.50: options can be discussed with the Shop Manager.
Teachers: Please let us know in advance if you would like to purchase in bulk for prizes or classroom resources etc.
The Café will be open serving hot / cold drinks and light snacks.
Purchases cannot be consumed in the exhibit corridor nor telescope domes etc.
We can assist with 'packed' lunches for your group to save bringing them from school / residential sites etc. and we can cater for dietary requirements. Please discuss at the time of booking. We are adept at preparing emergency rations on the day should packed lunches have been forgotten!
As well as the Cafe we operate a catering unit: 'The Launch Box' serving fries, hot dogs, burgers etc.
If you would like students to make purchases from The Cafe or The Launch Box, please discuss with us beforehand.
Water bottles can be refilled in the Cafe.
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The Observatory Science Centre is part of Science Projects Ltd, a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 02186073 and a registered charity No: 298542. The registered office is Unit 1 Warren Farm, Steventon, Basingstoke, Hampshire UK, RG25 3BL.