What Is the Planetarium & Science Center?The Planetarium & Science Center is a multimedia educational facility designed to provide unique and exciting learning experiences which supplement and reinforce the classroom curriculum. The center is located on the southwest corner of Mooney Blvd. and Avenue 264 in Visalia and is composed of two specially designed classrooms: the Sam B. Peña Planetarium and the Science Center.
A variety of educational programs are offered throughout the school year and are available to all students in Tulare County, including Special Education and preschool.
All programs must meet the criteria of enriching and expanding the classroom curriculum while providing a learning experience which cannot be duplicated in the regular classroom. Because of these special program criteria as well as the unique nature of the facility, shows are developed and produced in-house by the TCOE Planetarium & Science Center staff.
The Planetarium & Science Center is provided as a service to the school districts of Tulare County through funding made available by the Tulare County Superintendent of Schools.
Who Can Visit the Planetarium & Science Center?
All schools are eligible to participate in the programs. Admission is free to schools in Tulare County. Out-of-county schools may visit for a small fee.
Due to booking demands and the fact programs are designed to supplement the classroom curriculum, reservations are generally limited to the grade level determined for each presentation.
How To Schedule A Visit
Reservations are required for participation at Planetarium & Science Center programs. You may schedule your class or group for a visit by calling the reservation desk at (559) 733-6433. Reservations may be made by teachers, teacher aides and school administrators; however, reservations will be taken only at the phone number indicated above.
Reservations are taken on a "first come, first served" basis. Therefore, the earlier a booking request is made, the better the chance of obtaining a reservation on a desired date and time.
Preparing For Your Visit
A teacher's packet containing the reservation confirmation, any necessary preparation material, and important instructions regarding your visit will be e-mailed approximately two weeks prior to the visit date. It is important that the teacher read all the materials in this packet, and it is strongly recommended that any preparation materials be reviewed with the class so students can receive maximum benefit from their visit.
Because of the tight scheduling of programs, it is very important that classes arrive at the Planetarium & Science Center on time. Late arrivals disrupt the schedule. Please plan your trip so that you can arrive a few minutes early. This will allow your students a restroom break prior to the show. You may be sharing the room with another class, so it is very important that your class be seated and ready for the program to begin at the designated time. Visitors will not be allowed into the program after the show has started. If your group is unable to arrive when scheduled or if you need to cancel an appointment, please call the Planetarium office and inform us as soon as possible.
To make the most of your trip, you may wish to plan another activity for your class to coincide with its Planetarium & Science Center visit. Many private businesses and public service agencies will gladly arrange tours by reservation.
Bus Unloading / Parking / Loading
Buses should enter at the first entrance west of Mooney Blvd. on Avenue 264. Buses should stop in front of the building entrance near the mural. Please have students remain in the bus. Planetarium & Science Center staff will greet the class inside the bus and escort the students into the building. After unloading the students, buses should continue around the south end of the building and park in the designated bus parking area. After the program, the students will exit the back of the building near the picnic area and board the bus.
If your group is coming to the Planetarium & Science Center by other means (not on a bus), please do not bring your class inside. Planetarium & Science Center staff will greet your class in front of the building and escort them inside.
Tulare County Office of Education
Planetarium & Science Center
11535 Avenue 264, Visalia, CA 93277
Planetarium & Science Center Coordinator
(559) 733-6433 • fax: (559) 730-2747
Jim Vidak, County Superintendent of Schools
Tulare County Office of Education
All mail to: P.O. Box 5091, Visalia, CA 93278-5091
Physical address: 6200 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia, CA 93277
phone: (559) 733-6300 • fax: (559) 627-5219
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