2023 Science Center Offerings

Current Hours. Please see Science Center Hours and Admissions for seasonal hours and holiday closures.

Science Center Hours

Monday – Sunday9:30 AM — 6:00 PM

Starlight Café Hours

Monday – Sunday11:00 AM — 6:00 PM

Last hot food orders must be in by 5 PM!

Plan Your Trip

Take a Tour

We offer a variety of tour options including our popular Site Tour and our specialized SETI and High Tech Tours. You can even take a self-guided walking tour or explore our miles of trails. Thank you for turning your phone and digital devices off.

The Science Center is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. through Labor Day weekend. Bus tours are offered at 10:00, 12:00, 2:00 and 4:00; additional tours may be available as capacity allows. Tickets may be purchased in advance or at the Science Center.

Visit the Exhibit Hall

Discover how radio astronomers learn about the Universe. Interactive exhibits and fascinating facts await you inside a huge Faraday cage. Don’t know what a Faraday cage is? You’ll learn that and so much more on our site tours!

Grab a Bite

Dine at our award-winning Starlight Café and enjoy the scenic view! Our menu includes a selection of fresh foods and treats with generous portions and affordable prices. Onsite ordering available or call ahead to place your takeout order – 304-456-2361. Open Thursday-Monday from 10:30-5:30 (last orders taken at 5:00).

Shop the Galaxy Gift Shop

The Galaxy Gift Shop offers apparel, collectibles, and the best variety of educational toys around! Indulge your inner scientist! Can’t make it for a visit? Shop from home on our online store!

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Please be aware that these tours have very limited capacity and sell out quickly during peak seasons. Refunds and exchanges will only be offered if requested at least one full week before your tour date.

Advance screening is required. Learn more about our screening policy.

High Tech Tours

Tours are offered the 2nd Thursday of each month for 2023. See dates below. 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.; $25/person

15 participants max.; no photography of any kind is permitted. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Background screening required.

Join a conversation with an Observatory engineer and take a sneak peek at our labs, telescope receivers, and the GBT control room. This is your chance to learn about the cutting edge engineering that makes our observatory one of the world’s leading radio telescope facilities!

High Tech Tour Dates for 2023:
January 12, February 9, March 9, April 13, May 11, June 8, July 13, August 10, September 14, October 12, November 9, December 14

SETI Tours

Select Fridays from April to September; 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.; $40/person. See our Online Shop for available tour dates.

20 participants max.; Ages 12 & up. The tour requires climbing stairs. Background screening required.

Celebrate Green Bank’s historic role in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence!  We begin where it all started,  in the control room of the 85-ft Telescope used by Frank Drake in the original search, “Project Ozma”. From there, enjoy rare admittance to the 140-foot telescope, where Jill Tarter’s Project Phoenix took place, and then to restricted GBT access points. The tour concludes in a conversation with a staff astronomer about the future of SETI and the role of the GBT in the Breakthrough Listen project.

If you’ve ever wanted to be inside our operation control rooms or to speak to one of our radio astronomers in person, then this is THE opportunity of a lifetime!

No digital photography is allowed for the majority of this tour. Film cameras are welcome.

Family Programs

Star Parties

Green Bank Observatory staff will treat you to views of the night sky through optical telescopes. If weather does not permit outdoor observing, don’t worry! We will have a stellar indoor presentation.

FREE! Please check-in at the Science Center.

The program begins approximately half an hour after sunset to allow our astronomers time to align the telescopes! Please see the events calendar for specific start times for each date. Programs run for about 2 hrs.

See our Events Calendar for monthly Star Party Dates

Family Science Labs

Select Saturdays (dates below) 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.; reservations suggested; FREE!

Get your family started in science! Kids, age 4-9, will love our fun-filled, hands-on science experiments!

Family Science Lab Dates will be announced on our Facebook Page when available.

Turkey Trot

November 25th, 2023

Burn off the Thanksgiving feast at the annual Turkey Trot hosted by the Green Bank Observatory! Race in a traditional 5k run/walk, a 10K trail run, or the 1K Gobble Wobble for kids 8 and under.

Special Events

Space Race Rumpus

June 2-4, 2023

Join us for a weekend-long cycling festival with a variety of fun rides! Whether you are an experienced mountain biker or complete novice, there are rides, races, and cycling for all ages and levels.

Learn More

Star Quest

June 21-24, 2023

The nation’s largest optical and radio star party! Enjoy optical presentations, hands-on workshops, and dark West Virginia skies.

Learn More

Garth Newel Emerging Artist Fellow Showcase

July 26, 2023

Music comes to the Observatory from the Garth Newel Music Center in Warm Springs, VA, and the Emerging Artist Fellowship program.

Learn More

Groups and Field Trips

Organized Group Tours

Motor coach groups are welcome. Tours can be scheduled any day of the week. An $8 fee per person is required for motor coach tours; two hour minimum visit for full tour.

Educational Field Trips

Schedule free tours, activities, and day and overnight field trips for organized groups of K-16 students and youth clubs. Overnight students experience science first-hand by completing research projects with a real radio telescope. A trip to the Observatory might just inspire your students to join the next generation of scientists and engineers!

Scouting Trips

Day trips can be scheduled any day of the week. Tour reservations are free for organized scout groups but advance arrangements are required. For more information, see our Scout Badge Weekends page.

We’ll come to you!

Request a college ambassador from our West Virginia Science Public Outreach Team (SPOT) to visit your school or group and deliver standards-based presentations and hands-on activities. Virtual presentations also available.