School visits

Parkes CSIRO Radio Telescope is a popular destination for both primary and secondary school groups either on its own, with other attractions in the area such as Western Plains Zoo or Peak Hill Open Cut Mine, or on the way to other places such as Canberra or the snow.

A visit can include-

  • Visit to one or both of our theatres
  • A talk about the telescope by one of our staff
  • A question and answer session with one of our staff
  • Time to look and use the displays and exhibits

Free barbecue and picnic facilities, catering from the Dish Café and large grounds means it is suitable for meal breaks. A shelter shed can keep students dry or out of the sun and there are plenty of shady trees.


Almost all school groups choose to visit one of our theatres:

Theatre 1 The Invisible Universe (up to 60 people in one session)
An interesting and awe-inspiring 21 minute presentation about the telescope, radio astronomy and the history of astronomy. Suitable for secondary and upper primary audiences.
Theatre 2 3D Theatre (up to 35 people in one session)
You can choose from several different 3D shows. The shorter shows can be paired together to form a longer presentation.
Telescope virual tour (6 minutes)
A brief introduction to the telescope followed by a climb through the telescope to the very top of the focus cabin.
Mars Express (8 minutes)
Travel aboard the space craft Elysium 7 to Mars.
Spinning in Space (8 minutes)
Tom the astronaught on the international space station finds out about galaxies.
The Little things (8 minutes)
Explore the little things in the solar system like comets and asteroids
Our Sun What a Star (18 minutes)
About our very own star- the Sun, and the Solar System
After Stars (13 minutes)
Margus is on location for a live telecast of the explosion of a red supergiant star. Will it turn into a black hole or a pulsar?

You can find out more about our 3D shows, produced by Swinburne University SpaceWorks, at