Planning a school visit
PLANNING A SCHOOL VISIT
SCHOOL VISITS – TO EXPLORE ASTRONOMY OR WEATHER
Sydney Observatory has been a key part of NSW schools’ excursion programs for more than 20 years. As the state’s leading museum of astronomy and meteorology, we provide a unique opportunity for teachers and students to learn about astronomy, space exploration and meteorology.
For handy information about Sydney Observatory day and night astronomy and meteorology school programs, you can download the following:
How to arrange a visit
All educational programs must be pre-booked. Information about session times and costs is available here or by calling 9921 3485 or 9921 3482 (8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
or 10am to 5pm weekends). Please see also Special events and Astronomy courses for programs and courses which may be of particular interest to students.
School visits to Sydney Observatory – Astronomy
Highlights of a visit include the awesome experience of the 3-D space theatre, a look at the night sky in our bean bag planetarium and viewing through a telescope (weather permitting). At night, students can view the Moon, the planets, double stars, star clusters and nebulae using the Observatory’s large refracting (lens) telescope and modern computer controlled reflecting (mirrored) telescope. In the daytime students can safely view the Moon, Venus, bright stars and the Sun using a special solar telescope.
We can tailor visits to meet student needs and the topics being studied. Educational programs are designed to inspire and motivate students and are suitable for years K–6 and 7–12, ESL groups, vacation care, tertiary and adult education students. Programs are also available for groups with special needs and access requirements.
All thse educational programs are conducted by highly trained astronomy educators. Visiting schools are divided into groups of 20 students (at least one teacher must accompany each group) and are accompanied by the astronomy educator at all times. Students are encouraged to ask questions throughout the visit. More….
School visits to Sydney Observatory – Meteorology
Sydney Observatory, with support from the Bureau of Meteorology, has developed several flexible and engaging 90 minute programs suitable for Stage 1, 2 and 3 children studying the weather. Each program can cater for one or two visits per day of up to 60 children each. All these educational programs are conducted by highly trained meteorology educators.
Visits can commence at either 10am for the first session or noon for the second. The cost of the visit is $10 per child and accompanying teachers are free of charge. More….
Arrival and departure
Schools should plan to arrive 15 minutes before their allocated session start time. With multiple school and public tours every day, lost time cannot usually be made up for late schools. We recommend teachers carry a mobile phone to let the Observatory know if they are held up due to traffic or other delays. Phone (02) 9921 3485.
Access to Sydney Observatory
Groups should enter and exit via the rear door – down the path past the main door of the Observatory and then to the left around the corner of the building. The stairs inside the Observatory are steeply raked and students should keep their pace to a walk at all times. Observatory staff are available to assist entry of students with a disability. Please advise of any special needs at the time of booking. Student tours typically take 1½ hours but may be shortened on request or due to late arrival.
The Observatory has storage facilities for small bags. We recommend that school bags be left in these storage facilities or on the bus. Please ensure that hats and other loose items are stored in bags to avoid lost property.
Any items found at the Observatory are handed to a security officer, who may be contacted at the front desk or through any staff member. Please encourage your students to leave school hats and jackets in their bags and remind students to check they have all belongings before leaving the Observatory.
A cold drinks machine with water and soft drinks is located outside the Observatory in the rear courtyard. There is also a water bubbler in the grounds of the Observatory. No food is sold at the Observatory and food cannot be consumed within the building.
Toilets are located at the rear of the building and can be accessed from the grounds, near the group entry. A toilet for students with a disability is located in the same building.
A temporary shade marquee is available and is opened when it is very hot, cold or wet. Areas suitable for lunch or short breaks are also available.
The 3-D Space Theatre, Bean Bag Planetarium and ground floor exhibitions are fully wheelchair accessible. Please alert Observatory staff of your special entry needs at the time of booking and on arrival.
Individual seats are not allocated to audience members in the 3-D Space Theatre or Planetarium. Staff will instruct students on the best seating arrangements depending on the size of the group. Some age ranges or behaviour types are not suitable for the Planetarium. Entry is determined at the discretion of Observatory staff.
Teachers should maintain direct supervision of their students at all times during their visit to the Observatory. One teacher (or adult/parent helper) per 20 students is admitted free. Note: every adult accompanying students is required to be in a supervisory role and must have adequate authority and experience (as determined by the school) to handle groups alone for risk assessment purposes. Please ensure that teacher supervision is evenly spread throughout your group while at the Observatory.
STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT
Students should be aware that there will be members of the public in the Observatory during their excursion. We ask that teachers outline the following Student Code of Conduct and monitor student behaviour on the day.
* behave in a courteous and responsible manner at all times
* keep their pace to a walk inside the Observatory
* keep their feet on the ground while seated in the 3-D Space Theatre
* refrain from inappropriate behaviour in the auditorium during the screening
* not talk or disrupt the viewing of other audience members in any way
* return 3-D glasses at the end of the session
Sydney Observatory reserves the right to remove any student/s from a session if their behaviour is deliberately and consistently disruptive. A teacher will be required to supervise the student/s outside the Observatory until the session had ended.
There may be other schools and members of the public at the Observatory during your visit. We expect teachers to ensure that the above Student Code of Conduct is followed. If other schools disrupt your experience, please notify Observatory staff immediately.