School Programs

Field Trips

Visiting the Observatory

The Cincinnati Observatory is one of the most unique astronomical institutions in the United States. It is a fully functioning 19th century observatory used daily by the public and amateur astronomers. The main telescopes are an 11” Merz and Mahler refractor made in 1843 and a 16” Alvan Clark refractor from 1904. The historic buildings are recognized as a National Historic Landmark and the grounds provide a serene, park-like setting while still being centrally located in the city of Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Observatory Center welcomes you and your group to experience the wonders of the sky through our historic telescopes. Our staff and volunteers enjoy nothing more than sharing the views of the universe with others. Group visits are offered both during the day and in the evenings and include a tour of the oldest professional observatory in America and the workings of the main scopes and domes. Astronomy presentations of your choice and classroom activities are offered if weather does not permit viewing.

Daytime Visits:

See the Sun safely through the oldest telescope in the country. Students will be able to see sunspots and solar flares using white light and hydrogen alpha filters. Programs last from 60-75 minutes and you are also welcome to pack a lunch for before or after a program and make use of the beautiful grounds.  

Admission is $5/ person with a minimum of $100 per group. Teachers and aides are free.

Nighttime Visits:

Great for schools, scouts, churches, or any group.  See the Moon, stars, and planets through some massive telescopes and experience the “WOW” of astronomy. Programs last from 60-75 minutes.

Admission fees are $7/adults, $5/kids with a minimum of $100/group.
Teachers and aides are free.

A limited number of scholarships are available to help defray admission and ask about our grant that may pay for one free bus for your field trip.

If you have further questions or would like to schedule a field trip, please email Katie Vaughn at or call her at 513-321-5186.