Frequently Asked Questions

  • Answers to frequently asked questions on the topics of Scheduling a School or Private Program, While at the Planetarium, and About Como Planetarium.

     

    Scheduling a School or Private Program

    • How do I schedule a program?
      • If you are ready to request a planetarium program, please use our online program request form so that we can collect all the necessary information for getting your group scheduled.
      • You can email inquires and questions to como.planetarium@spps.org. Our staff will respond to your questions as soon as they can.
    • Can I schedule a private program?
      • Yes. Please use our online program request form for private/scout groups.
    • Can scout groups visit?
      • Yes. Please use our online program request form for private/scout groups.
    • Who orders/schedules buses?
      • Schools or organizations who request a planetarium program are responsible for scheduling their own buses.
    • Is the time on the confirmation email the time the bus should pick us up from school, or the time the program starts?
      • The time on your confirmation email is the start time of your program. Please schedule your transportation to arrive at the planetarium 5 minutes before the start of your program.
    • What are my program options?
      • If you are a SPPS classroom, your programs are selected by the district. You can read descriptions on our webpage.
      • If you are a non-SPPS classroom, or a private or scout group, you can select your program for our list of immersive films, or you can select to participate in a 1 hour live tour of the universe. Please include any specific topics you would like us to try to incorporate into your program on your program request form.
    • How long do programs last?
      • All programs last approximately 1 hour. The exceptions are St. Paul Public School grades K, 3, & 5th grades. SPPS Kindergarten programs are 50 minutes, 3rd & 5th grade programs are 90 minutes.
      • All non-SPPS programs are 1 hour.
    • How much does it cost?
      • Programs are free to SPPS classes. You only need to cover the cost of your transportation.
      • Programs for non-SPPS classes are $5.00 per student and chaperone. Staff are free.
    • How many people can fit in the planetarium at once?
      • The planetarium can seat 55 people at a time. This includes staff and chaperones.
    • Can non St. Paul Public Schools visit the planetarium?
      • Yes. Please request your program using the Non-SPPS program request form.
    • How do I get an invoice?
      • Invoices will be issued after your program. If you wish to receive an invoice before your program, please email us at como.planetarium@spps.org and we will issue your invoice early.
    • Can my second group wait at the planetarium while my first group is in the show?
      • No. The planetarium is located inside Como Elementary School and there is no space available to host a second group while the first group is in the planetarium. If your group is over 55 people, 2 or more programs will be scheduled for you. Please have each group arrive 5 minutes before their scheduled start time.

     

    While at the Planetarium

     

    • Which entrance is the Planetarium entrance?

     

      • Buses should unload in the lower level parking lot in the northwest corner of the school. Look for the sign that says “Buses enter here.”

     

    • What do I do when I arrive at the planetarium?

     

      • A Como Planetarium staff member will greet you at the door. Once inside the building, groups are to line up along the cylinder of the planetarium in two lines as indicated by the overhead sign outside of the planetarium doorway.

     

    • What is the role of the teacher at the planetarium?

     

      • You know your students best. Please assist with student behavior as needed. Please refrain from using electronic devices while inside the planetarium. Mobile device screens are very bright and cast unwanted light on the planetarium dome which impacts the quality of the projections.

     

    • Is it OK to come and go from the planetarium during the presentation?

     

      • While we do understand that bathroom emergencies occur from time to time, and need to be taken care of, the planetarium is dark during a presentation and unnecessary exiting and entering the planetarium are safety concerns. Please use the restroom before or after your program, and stay seated while the planetarium is dark. In the case of a bathroom emergency please use the back door to exit the planetarium.
      • Unnecessary exiting and entering the planetarium also disrupts the program by casting outside light into the planetarium and negatively impacting the quality of te program.

     

    • What Program will I see?

     

      • If you are a SPPS classroom, your programs are aligned to district grade level goals. You can read program descriptions on the Resources for Teachers page on our website.
      • If you are a non-SPPS classroom, a private or scout group, you can select your program for our list of immersive films, or you can select to participate in a 1 hour live tour of the universe. Please include any specific topics you would like us to try to incorporate into your program on your program request form.

     

    • SPPS grade 3 program limits.

     

      • The SPPS 3rd grade planetarium program can only accommodate 1 classroom at a time (approximately 30 students) due to the technology being used and the space requirements for the activities.

     

    About Como Planetarium

    • What are your hours?
      • For school groups - 8:00am - 3:30pm during the school year
      • For private programs - weekday evenings during the school year. Call for exact times.
    • What is your public programs schedule?
      • Our public programs schedule is located on the Planetarium’s homepage.
    • Are there exhibits to see?
      • No. The planetarium is located inside of Como Park Elementary School. There are no other features of the building that are open to outside schools or private programs.
    • Do you have a gift shop?
      • No. The planetarium is located inside Como Park Elementary School. There are no other features of the building that are open to outside schools or private programs.
    • Is there a lunchroom or other classroom we can use during our visit?
      • No. The planetarium is located inside Como Park Elementary School. There are no other features of the building that are open to outside schools or private programs.