The Kitt Peak Experience… Like no other
K-12 SCHOOL PROGRAM RESERVATION INFORMATION
At this point we are offering tours to some of the telescopes found on Kitt Peak.
Reservations are limited and given on an availability basis. Early registration is always recommended.
Payment is made in one lump sum when you arrive to the Mountain. Purchase orders, credit cards, cash and checks are accepted. Discount coupons and guest passes do not apply to any school and youth reservations.
Cancellations: Please notify us as soon as possible of a cancellation. Cancellation with less than 48-hour notice prior to reservation date will be billed the full amount. Contact us at (520) 318-8726 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
No shows: Schools will be billed the entire amount of the total reservation cost.
Changes: We expect number of students and adults might vary by a few. Do not assume an additional class can be added or a date can easily be changed - remember availability is limited. Contact us as soon as you need to make change at 520-318-8726 or email: email@example.com.
Food: snacks and lunches are allowed only in the picnic area and food must remain in vehicles until ready to dine. Picnic tables next to the visitor center are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Visitor Center cannot store lunches, backpacks, or any personal belongings during your visit. Water bottles are permitted on the grounds. There is no food service available on the mountain. A public picnic area is also avaialble.
Supervision: We require 1 adult chaperone per 10 students/youths. Assign chaperones to their group of students (this is best done before you leave school). Adults are responsible for behavior of students in their group. Chaperones must stay with their group at all times. Please read and hand out Chaperones guidelines before your visit to Kitt Peak.
Students/youths should have adhesive nametags with their name and name of school or organization.
Maxium Number of Students: At this point in time we can only handle a group of 100 school kids for telescope tours.
When you arrive
Arriving by bus:
Self-guided visits: Teacher/Group Leader proceed to the visitor Center to pay for the group while the group stays together on bus. Teacher will return to escort group to the entrance after paying.
If your visit includes Classes: Stay on the bus until you are greeted by Visitor Center Staff. Buses use the main parking lot to unload and load. Buses must park in bus/rv parking area. Bus drivers are admitted free of charge.
Arriving by cars:
Park in the main lot and assemble at main patio of the Visitor Center while teacher pays for entire group at the visitor center.
Have separate count of adults and students/youths. Everyone must enter as a group to receive school/youth rate. Latecomers pay full amount.
Tell chaperones designated time for your group to meet at the end of your visit. Bus groups meet at the visitor center patio.
If a student/youth is lost or injured, contact a Museum Docent or Staff and/or go to the Visitor Center front desk.
- Map and directions to Kitt Peak
- Observatory grounds map
- Chaperone Guidelines [61 KB pdf] (Please make photocopies and distribute this page to each chaperone)
- Teacher Planning Guide
When you arrive at Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), a docent will greet you and explain what to expect from the tour and go over safety precautions and rules. A map of the area follows. If you would like additional maps, please ask the Visitor Center.
How you can help the students
Explore the exhibits in the Visitor Center. Read the information to the students, or have the students read it out loud. If you have any questions, the docents are eager to help.
Encourage the students to ask questions.
Be active and participate! The students will be more inclined to have fun and learn.
Please give your undivided attention to the tour guide and the learning objectives of the teacher. This is not the time for personal conversations with fellow chaperones. Please let the students answer the questions - this is their enrichment opportunity.
How you can help the Kitt Peak Staff
While either on the tour with your docent or browsing through the Visitor Center, please keep your group togther at all times!
Stay on the paved roadways, always to the left side.
Know who is in your group, and do not let anyone wander from your tour group.
Treat everything, including staff, researchers, equipment and environment with utmost respect.
Be sure to go with the students in your groups when they enter the gift shop. Please, 10 students per visit
Remember, KPNO is a working observatory most astronomers are a sleep during the day, so it is important that you keep the noise down to a minimum especially when walking past the dorms.
Understand your responsibilities to monitor the group’s behavior and assist with their learning. Unruly groups may result in a loss of a guided tour and may be asked to leave the mountain. It is not the job of your docent to discipline the students.
How you can help yourself
Wear comfortable clothing, and shoes. Much of the year the weather is hot enough that a hat, water and sunscreen may be needed. Also, keep in mind that it is usually 10-20 degrees cooler on Kitt Peak than in the Tucson area.
Be prepared to walk. The tours are all walking tours and range between a quarter-mile to a half-mile uphill.
Please do not bring younger children, infants, siblings, family members or guests with you who can interfere with your responsibilities as a chaperone!
Keep in mind that we are about 7,000 feet in elevation. Please let your tour guide know if you have trouble walking or breathing at high altitudes.
After the Tour
If arrangements have been made for your group to remain on mountain grounds after the tour, students must be supervised at all times, see General Mountain Rules.
- School and Youth Groups—Make your reservation here