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Frequently Asked Questions

  • + Can I visit free of charge if I'm planning a school visit?

    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.

  • + When are you open for pre-booked school groups?

    You can visit from the last week of January to the first week of December for day or twilight visits.

  • + How many pupils / adults can we bring?

    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.



  • + How will the day be structured?

    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).

  • + How long should we schedule for a visit?

    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.


  • + Do we have to pay for parking?

    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.


  • + Who will help us on the day?

    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."

  • + Do you have Risk Assessments?

    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.

    Fire Safety
    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. 

    First Aid
    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.

  • + Is the science centre suitable for pupils with additional needs??

    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.

  • + Where can we leave our property and eat lunch etc.?

    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.

  • + What should we wear?

    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.

  • + Do you have a Gift Shop?

    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.

  • + Do you have a Cafe?

    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.