Science Jamboree!

Science Jamboree

On a select Fridays each month, the Learning Center will offer events designed for visiting families to our campus. Friday Science Jamborees will feature live music, snacks from Smiley’s, presentations at the AdventureDome planetarium, stargazing at the Sky Deck and tours of the NASA artifact, mineral, and meteorite exhibits!
Science Jamboree is a Rain Or Shine evening event that showcases the night sky from a variety of perspectives.
Reservations are required for this event: $20 (adults), $8 (children age 6-11), with children 5 and under FREE.



Click here to register now!

Stargazer’s Journey

Stargazer’s Journey

Each Saturday, visitors have the opportunity to participate in the ultimate observing experience with Stargazer’s Journey.  This event is designed to allow a small intimate group to work directly with an astronomical educator while they observe the night sky.

The evening will begin at our restaurant, Smiley’s, where your educator will tell you about the history of our facilities while you enjoy dinner.

You will then move to our south observation deck to watch the sun set with 360 degree views of the Pisgah National Forest including views of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Once the skies become dark, the event will move to our sky deck where optical telescopes will be ready to provide stunning views of distant objects in the night sky. We will select planets, nebulae, galaxies, stars, and clusters from the best of what the season has to offer.

Click here for upcoming dates!

The PARI Experience: Dr. Patricia Craig

The PARI Experience: Dr. Patricia Craig

Dr. Patricia Craig at the controls of the Desert RATS rover prototype being developed for future manned missions to the Moon, Mars and other planetary bodies.

“PARI gave me real-world experience that confirmed what I wanted to do with my life.”

Dr. Patricia Craig, 
Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ

“PARI provides access to instruments and hands-on experiences that are invaluable to students and difficult to obtain anywhere else.

“When I arrived at PARI as a high school student I was somewhat in awe of the equipment.  The staff, however, was welcoming and helpful, providing an inviting atmosphere for students. I learned what it is to be an astronomer and for the first time in my life I did real research.  I also was exposed to the critical experience of collaboration.  Even now, as a science team member on Curiosity, I regularly collaborate with scientists from all over the world.  That experience at PARI was invaluable.

“My PARI experience affirmed what I wanted to do with my life.  I could not be happier with my career decision or my experience at PARI.  It is truly a special place.”

About Dr. Patricia Craig

2003: Dr. Patricia Craig first visited PARI as a high school student attending a two-week Duke TIP summer program.

2012: Awarded Ph.D. in Space and Planetary Sciences, University of Arkansas.

Current:  Postdoctoral research scientist with the Planetary Science Institute, working with the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity.


PARI Awarded IMLS Grant

PARI Awarded IMLS Grant

PARI has been awarded a Museums for America Award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The $24,475.00 grant comes as a direct result of an APDA (Astronomical Photographic Data Archive) Stewardship Proposal by PARI Consultants Dr. Mike Castelaz and Thurburn Barker. The funds from the grant will help develop a standards-based EAD3 compliant online digital finding aid that links to APDA’s online public access digital catalog of astronomical plates and films for research, education, interpretation, publication, and study.

“With support from the Institute of Museums and Library Services we will be able to make the Astronomical Photographic Data Archive at PARI visible to the world. Astronomers anywhere in the world can access finding aids describing the contents of APDA, request which of the 50 collections of ~340,000 astronomical photographic glass plates and films may contain images of celestial objects they are studying,” says Dr. Mike Castelaz. “This new database resource is critical for APDA’s recognition as one of the largest collections of astronomical photographic data in the world. We are very excited by the receipt of the IMLS grant and greatly appreciate their confidence in our work.”

This year IMLS received 558 applications requesting $104,538,159. Of these, 132 projects were selected to receive funding totaling $19,189,929. IMLS’s peer reviewers evaluated all eligible and complete grant applications, assessing the merit of each proposal and its fit with the goals of the grant program and project category. IMLS staff presented this information to the IMLS Director, Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, who then made the final funding decisions.

“As centers of learning and catalysts of community change, libraries and museums connect people with programs, services, collections, information, and new ideas in the arts, sciences, and humanities. They serve as vital spaces where people can connect with each other,” said Dr. Matthew. “IMLS is proud to support their work through our grant making as they inform and inspire all in their communities.”


Stargaze at PARI

Public invited to SkyTrek stargazing events

Join PARI astronomers the first and third weekends of every month as they gaze skyward and point out the prominent features of the night sky. Use PARI telescopes or bring your own. The night skies are constantly changing, so come often and bring the entire family.  Before our Saturday sessions, enjoy dinner a delicious buffet dinner at our new restaurant, Smiley’s!

Reservations are required and will be accepted until 3:00 p.m. the day of the event. The cost is $15 per person (optional dinner not included in the event fee). Children 10 and under are admitted free. Register and pay using the website Event Calendar or call (828) 862-5554. If inclement weather prevents the outdoor observations, this program will be cancelled and registrants will be notified by 4 p.m. the day of the event. PARI will apply any payment toward another evening special program or provide a refund upon request.