School Field Trips FAQ

Here are a list of the most commonly asked questions about bringing a group of students to the Palomar College Planetarium. Click on any question below for a detailed answer.

Q. Why are the school shows only available on Tuesdays & Thursdays?

A. The availability of the planetarium and that of the staff running the planetarium must coordinate with other needs on campus. We set aside the Tuesday & Thursday morning time slots specifically for reservations for school groups in a manner that fits the needs of our K-12 school groups and their daily schedules. Outside of these days and times the staff running the planetarium has a normal teaching load and other duties related to College business and so we are not available to host groups at those times.

Q. Why can't I bring my kindergarten, first, or second grade class to the planetarium?

A. We work hard to make sure that our school show content meets the California educational science standards. The content of our show (vocabulary, cognitive level, etc.) is geared for groups that are third grade and older. Before you ask for an exception, know that we have experimented with K-2 groups and have had K-2 teachers pre-view our show and all have agreed that hosting 5, 6, and 7 year olds would not work out. In the future we hope to have content that is geared for younger audiences. We thank you for understanding our present situation.

Q. Are field trips available when Palomar College is not in session?

 A. Yes. The planetarium is available for school-group field trips all year long.

Q. Why isn't the show free?

 A. The fee charged for your visit covers the expense of running the planetarium. Each show is produced at a cost to the planetarium and your visit requires the assistance of paid hourly employees. As much as we would like to offer this unique opportunity to the public at no charge, the reality of it is that we must charge a small fee to cover our expenses. We do everything possible to keep the fee low and affordable.

Q. Does the field trip need to be paid for in advance?

No. Payment for your group is expected upon your arrival. However a cancellation fee of $60 is charged for “no-shows” or cancellations within 14 days of your visit.

Q. Why is there a $120 minimum fee for a group less than 30?

Running the planetarium involves a certain minimum cost to the College. The minimum fee of $120 helps to offset the expense of hosting your group. It simply isn’t possible for us to host a group smaller than 30 if the minimum fee is not charged.

Q. What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept payments in cash, check (made out to “Palomar College”), debit card, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.

Q. Can I pay for my field trip with a school-issued purchase order (P.O.)?

No. Unfortunately we do not have the ability to process purchase orders.

Q. Do we need to pay for parking when we arrive on campus?

No. If you are using parent/teacher drivers for your group, please indicate the number of cars you expect and we will mail out free parking permits for use on the day of your visit.

Q. What time should we arrive for the show?

Please do everything possible to arrive 30 minutes prior to your show. This will allow your group time to use the restrooms, have a snack, and prepare for your show.

Q. What if we arrive by bus - where do we park?

Bus parking is coordinated through Palomar College Campus Police. Information about where to enter the College, drop off locations, and where to park the bus(ses) will be included in the informational packet sent to your group prior to your visit.

Q. Can we have lunch at the planetarium?

 A. Unfortunately we do not have a location in the planetarium for you to have lunch, however there are several very nice and shady locations on campus for your group to enjoy a snack or a bag lunch.

Q. What if it rains?

 A. The planetarium show runs rain-or-shine. All activities are indoors. We will do everything possible to have your group enter the planetarium quickly and get out of the rain once you arrive on campus!
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