Education &

Become part of Yerkes’ story.

Through our education & outreach programming, we at Yerkes strive to provide access to our remarkable historic observatory while engaging our visitors with all things astronomy – from introductory concepts to cutting-edge research.

If you are interested in connecting with the Science & Education team or scheduling a tour, please submit a request below.

Opportunities for K-12 Students and Educators

During each visit, student groups will tour Yerkes and experience the history and wonder of our observatory first-hand. Following the tour, groups will spend time safely observing the Sun (weather permitting) or engaged in a hands-on, NGSS-inspired activity. Each visit will take approximately 1.5 hours during school hours, though the duration can be tailored to your needs.

About 2 weeks prior to your visit, you will have a 30-minute call with Yerkes staff to determine any specific content you would like to see covered during your group’s tour and hands-on activity. While not every concept may be able to be covered, we are excited to work with you to provide meaningful experiences for your students based on your curriculum!


Although we want everyone who is able to come experience Yerkes in-person, we understand that this may not always be possible. We are able to accommodate some requests for at-school observing and activities for schools in southern Wisconsin that are unable to come to Yerkes, and virtual visits for others around Wisconsin and the United States. We are also able to accommodate some requests for school science fairs, STEM nights, and other festivals or events.

Even if you can’t make it to Williams Bay, we can’t wait to share our history and science with you! Please reach out for more details about costs and scheduling a virtual visit.

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were adapted into the K-12 Wisconsin Standards for Science in 2017, and Yerkes is here to help with incorporating NGSS-inspired astronomy lessons into your curriculum! Join us during summer 2024 for our inaugural educator professional development workshop series. Learn more about the workshop and reserve your space today!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to visit Yerkes?

The cost to visit Yerkes Observatory for a school visit is $14 per student and $28 per adult chaperone. Every visit includes a tour of the observatory and solar observing or a hands-on activity.

Schools in Williams Bay can visit the observatory free of charge. We are also able to provide a limited number of visits free of charge to non-Williams Bay schools. Please feel free to mention this fee waiver during your call with Yerkes staff.

How many students can I bring?

We can welcome up to 30 students for our traditional school visits. If you have a larger group, please indicate that in the interest form and we will do our best to accommodate you.

I'm interested in bringing my class to Yerkes. When can we come to the observatory?

School visits are currently available during school hours 9am – 4pm Monday through Friday, with limited flexibility.

If you are interested in nighttime observing with your class, we have public options that you are welcome to attend. Check out our events page to view upcoming night observing options!

Who do I contact to schedule my class visit?

Please use the interest form above, and a Yerkes staff member will get in touch with you within 3 business days to schedule your visit.

Can we eat lunch at Yerkes during our visit?

Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate school groups eating inside the building following or before a visit at this time. We also do not have food or drink available for purchase on site. You are welcome to bring lunch on site to enjoy outside on our grounds.

We have a water dispenser on site for public use, but not a water fountain. Please be sure to bring your own reusable water bottles.

How can I support Yerkes Observatory's education and outreach initiatives?

Our education and outreach programs are possible thanks to our generous donors. If you are interested in supporting our work, please consider donating or signing up for one of our tours or events!