Frequently Asked Questions

What people want to know before they visit

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A few key things to keep in mind

PARI’s priority is to provide a place for learning, research, and inspiration in STEM.  Visiting groups with this as their focus will always come first for us.

Sometimes we need to take time to maintain the telescopes.  It can take a lot of work to keep nine-story tall radio dishes built in the 1960’s running. 

Keeping our site safe and secure is just the way we do things.  Planning visits ahead of time makes this possible.

What you'll want to know before you visit

Q. I'm in town for today, can I stop by?

A. Give us a call.  Sometimes we have space for a same day visit.  Other times our calendar is booked a few weeks in advance.

Q. Can I just come look around?

A. During open houses and certain events you can find on our calendar, you can stop by and explore the site.  Otherwise all visits must be scheduled ahead of time, and guests must be accompanied by a staff member.

Q. I don't see anything happening on a certain day on your calendar, so why can't I come that day?

A. Most days PARI is hosting school groups on field trips, scouting groups earning badges, or providing programming at other locations. Other times we're operating our telescopes for researchers or clients. Now and then, our very small staff just needs a day off. We strive to have as many times as possible available to the general public, but our priority will always be serving groups with education or research as their focus.

Q. Do you give refunds if I cancel my reservation or booking?

A. Our events for which you register or purchase a ticket are non-refundable. They work the same way as concerts, shows, etc. However, if you would like to transfer your spot to another individual we can often do that.

For private appointments or events you have booked, a partial refund may be available depending on the resources and staff time already spent to prepare for your visit. Rescheduling may also be possible for weather dependent activities.

If for some reason PARI must cancel an event, you will have the option to receive a refund or transfer your ticket to another event.

Q. What happens if it is cloudy or rainy during my visit?

A. For public events where a portion would have been spent outdoors, there will be alternate programming held indoors. We even have some special activities we only do on a rainy day!

For private events we will make arrangements with the group that booked it for their preference during inclement weather.

Q. Can I have my special event, like a birthday party or wedding, at PARI?

A. Yes, with sufficient notice we an accommodate almost any type of event.

Q. My group is really small.  Do I have to pay the cost of the minimum group size to visit?

A. Yes.  The cost of a visit is based on the amount of staff that will need to be allocated to your group.  Even for just one visitor, the minimum cost applies.  You can, however, add more guests to your group, up to the number covered by that cost, and they will all be covered.

Q. Can you combine my group with another to save us some money?

A. No. Many visitors have planned their visit to be the perfect fit for their party or event. However, our public events that can be found on our calendar have individually sold tickets.

Q. Can I bring my pet?

A. Service animals are always welcome at PARI.  Friendly dogs are welcome too, but they'll need to remain on a lead at all times and may not be allowed in some buildings.

Q. There is a specific place in space I want to look at through your telescopes, can you show it to me?

A. If the object you want to see is in the right part of the sky at the right time of day, and we have the equipment to view it, we'll give you the best view we can get! If there is something specific you want to see, let us know when you set up your visit.

Q. I want to schedule a visit, but there are some topics I'd really like to hear about that aren't in your tour description. Can I do something different than what is described on your tour?

A. Yes. All of our tours are customizable. Our programming menu lists many of the things we can do during a visit, the tour is just a starting point. Just let us know when you set up your visit so we can have the right staff and equipment ready. If you don't see what you want, ask! We can often cover topics that aren't in the menu too.

Q. Are you open on holidays?

A. PARI is typically closed on national holidays so our staff can spend time with their family and friends. However, with sufficient notice, we can sometimes still accommodate guests on holidays. Holiday rates may apply if we have to open up the site on a day it would not normally be open.

Q. Can I take pictures at PARI? What about video?

A. You are welcome to take pictures during your visit. You may not record video or audio of any PARI staff or volunteers without specific permission.

Q. My kids are coming to a school field trip at PARI, can I come too?

A. Maybe. We allow parent chaperones to accompany students on field trips so long as they are approved ahead of time by the school that has booked the field trip. For child safety, no one who has not been approved by the entity who books the visit will be allowed to join or interact with any of the guests on a field trip or similar visit. Parents or chaperones accompanying a field trip may have to pay a separate admission fee if it has not been already been covered.

Q. Can I drop off my kids at one of your events and pick them up later?

A. All minors must be accompanied by an adult at all times while at PARI unless they are attending an event or program that is specificaly designed to provide supervision to minors such as a field trip or summer camp.

Q. Are you a government facility?

A. No! PARI is an independant organization that is not funded by or connected to the government. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit that exists with the support of donors. We'd love to have your support as well!

Plan your visit to PARI

Take a look at some of PARI's out of this world designs!

Each is available on a huge variety of items, like apparel, art prints, phone and laptop cases, backpacks, mugs, blankets, and more! Click one to customize it at our store on Redbubble. All proceeds benefit PARI's education mission.