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         Field Trips           

The Planetarium will cease operation for group shows on
April 18

Part of the Jordan Planetarium’s ongoing mission is to provide engaging astronomy experience to people of all ages. Off-campus trips give students the chance to exerience learning in new environments and the University of Maine campus is an excellent example of where students should direct their future aspirations. Why take a Field Trip? by the Massachusetts MITS organization examines other benefits of field trip learning.

Our Field Trip Tips and guide to Getting the Most from Field Trips give group leaders some ideas for helpong make field trips worth while.

  Visiting more than one location during a field trip can maximize the use of time, money and energy that must be expended taking students away from school for part of a day. There are several other Exploration Sites to visit during your mission at the University of Maine, and a special exhibition of physics demonstrations called the Maine-ly Physics Show may be available by advance arrangement.


Before calling the Planetarium, please gather the following information:
      - Estimates of the number of adults and students/children
      - Your preferred date and time and one or more alternate dates
      - Titles of the show(s) that your group might like to view in the planetarium. Available show titles can be reviewed on our STAR SHOWS page.

A PDF document of Star Shows can be downloaded. Adobe Acrobat required.

After a date has been reserved, you will receive a packet containing a confirmation of the program time and date, information about the planetarium and the program, and directions.


Show Fees

Group fees are determined by the group size. Groups with fewer than twenty-five persons will be charged a minimum fee of $75.00. Groups of more than 25 are charged $3 per person. Chaperones and teachers are all charged to keep the admission prices LOW.

The Planetarium seats a maximum of 45 people. (ONLY 30 in Omnidome and SkyLase showings.)

Larger groups can divide into sections of less than 45 that attend separate showings. In such cases, one of the sections may visit another site on campus while the other is at the Planetarium.

Leaders should decide in advance and notify the Planetaruim before the show date if they will have their group buy souvenirs from the planetarium gift shop. It is opened after showings.

The shop offers many small, inexpensive toys, novelty items and souvenirs ranging from 25¢ to $15.

Making Contact

Planning a visit has never been easier; just use our on-line request form to begin the process. Then someone from the planetarium staff will contact you and settle the details for your visit. OR call the Jordan Planetarium office at (207)581-1341 and get answers to any questions you have before making a reservation.

Classroom Preparation

A Cosmic Classroom guide, keyed to the State of Maine Learning Results, is sent along with the confirmation letter for school group visits. The Planetarium staff has made some of these 'cosmic classroom guides' available online at the Space Academy to help you decide which show is appropriate for your students. You can also view descriptions of all the Star Shows we offer.

Good public behavior and in situ learning methods are two areas students can develop in the field trip experience. These are golden opoortunities often overlooked during the hectic detailed preparations for a field trip.

For the youngest students, this is an unusual oportunity, as a group, to learn from a non-school adult. Do children inately know how to ask questions? See how a planetarian friend of ours fared during one of his interchanges with young visitors.


Field Trip Tips

Taking your group on a field trip to an educational facility like the Jordan Planetarium is an adventure that involves rich, real-world experience and fun filled activities. Here are a few field trip tips to help maximize the value of the field trip and minimize the difficulties of navigating unfamiliar territory with your group.

Plan ahead! When arranging for your field trip visits, anticipate the needs of your group. Provide time and opportunity to use bathroom facilities, and a location for snacks and meals whether at restaurant facilities or at a rest area where a bag lunch can be enjoyed, and allow students ample time to enjoy the primary sites of your trip.

Get directions and maps of the area(s) that you will be visiting, and consult with the host facility(ies) to determine the amount of time required for their programs and for travel between facilities and events. For maps to the Jordan Planetarium, click here.

Make the field trip relevant. Spend time with your group discussing and learning about the subjects addressed at the sites that you are going to visit. Most sites have materials that can be used in advance that help to focus your group’s attention on the lessons that can be gained from this visit. The Jordan Planetarium offers Cosmic Classroom guides for each star show, so that your class will be fully prepared for their visit to the planetarium. Visit the Cosmic Classroom for more information.

Organize, organize, organize. In the weeks leading up to a field trip, get permission slips from every student’s family allowing the student to participate in the field trip. Be sure that it includes a telephone number where guardians and parents can be reached on the day of the field trip.

This is also the time to solicit the help of parents and teachers to be chaperones during the field trip. State law requires at least one chaperone for every ten students in a school class. Additional adults are usually very helpful, but adults who have to bring other siblings may be bringing unwanted distractions.

With children’s groups, it is often wise to assign a chaperone to a specific group of children, so that the task of counting heads and carrying out directions does not fall entirely on the shoulders of one or two leaders.

Collect all of the monies that are required from each student before leaving home, and organize the payments into separate envelopes for each of the facilities that you will be visiting.

Exploration Sites on Campus

The University of Maine at Orono is Maine's largest and most diverse college campus. There are many attractions on campus for visitors, students, children and adults to see and enjoy. The Jordan Planetarium and Observatory is just a small part of what the University of Maine has to offer visitors to the university campus. Classroom field trips can greatly benefit from the many institutions at UMaine; large class groups can be split into smaller groups, and the class can visit multiple attractions on a single visit.

Page Farm and Home Museum

Hudson Museum

Kids with artifact

UMaine Visitor's Center


The Page Farm and Home Museum's mission is to preserve artifacts from rural Maine history, focusing on the period between 1865 and 1940. It is available to groups by advance reservation and fees are required. Contact the Museum or visit their web site for more information.

The Musuem and its collections sprawl out in four buildings and include an herb garden on the campus

contact; Patricia Henner, curator
(207) 581-4100

Directions to Page Farm

Page Farm and Home Museum Website

The Hudson Museum of Anthropology presents tours, galleries, and lectures from distinguished scholars to hundreds of visitors each year. It is available to groups by advance reservation and fees are required. Contact the Museum or visit their web site for more information.

The museum is located inside the Collins Center for the Arts on the Orono campus.

Contact: Gretchen Faulkner, program coordinator
(207) 581-1901

Directions to Hudson Museum

Hudson Museum Website



The University of Maine Visitor's Center is a great resource for people new to campus. They can organize a campus tour, give out contact information for other places on campus, and help with all aspects of your UMaine visit.

For more information visit their web site.

contact; (207) 581-1590

Directions to Visitor's Center

Visitor's Center Website


The Mainely Physics Roadshow

Another possible on-campus activity, The Mainely Physics Road Show! They will put on an exciting and informative hour-long show tailored to your students! Limited availability, please plan well in advance, Fridays and some Thursdays. Contact David Sturm at (207)-581-1241 for specific information and scheduling.


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Contact | Star Shows | Public Shows | Field Trips | UMaine | Observatory

Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium, 5781 Wingate Hall, Orono, ME 04469-5781
Phone: (207) 581-1341