• Frequently Asked Questions for Groups



Frequent Groups Questions

How many people constitute a group?

A group is 15 or more people, including adults and children age 3 and up.

When can groups visit?

Group visits can be scheduled during our normal operating hours, except Thanksgiving weekend and from the day before Christmas through New Year’s Day. Evening events are scheduled as Special Events.

Should my group call ahead to schedule our visit?

YES—it's the only way to receive discounted group pricing. Reservations must be made two weeks before the visit date to secure reservations for demonstrations and theater programs. Groups are given the opportunity to experience and pay for the portions of Carnegie Science Center that they choose, but only when they reserve in advance. School groups enjoy chaperone privileges as well. Also, if your group would like to see a specific theater show or demonstration, we can guarantee space for you only if you have made a reservation. If you hope to attend a show for which you have not reserved space, your group will be admitted AFTER all scheduled groups and general public visitors are seated.

When is the best time to make a group reservation?

Group reservations may be made between the hours of 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Please be aware that we receive the highest volume of calls from January to April, so you may be asked to leave a message. Let us know what time is best to reach you in your message. Be assured that we will return your call as soon as possible.

You may also submit a Group Reservation Inquiry online. Complete the online form, and a reservationist will contact you by email or phone to confirm your visit and availability for any programs you are interested in attending.

Once I make my reservation, what happens if I need to add or subtract people from my total?

We understand that, for one reason or another, group total numbers do change. Your confirmation packet includes a Visit Contract that you can use to change your numbers. This is particularly important if you have reserved a demonstration or Omnimax film. Keep in mind that some experiences have limited capacities, so additional group members may not be able to enjoy some shows.

When you check in at Group Services, you will be asked for a final head count. If you have dropped below the 15-person group minimum, you will still be charged for 15 people—or purchase general admission tickets. To help us be sure we have enough space set aside for your group, please make adjustments in advance by filling out the Visit Contract and returning a copy to us by the date indicated on the form.

Do I need to call to confirm my reservation?

No. You will receive a confirmation packet in the mail after you have spoken with the group reservationist. You do not need to call unless you have a problem or question about your visit. If you need to adjust your group numbers, please complete the appropriate fields on the Visit Contract and return a copy to us.

Do I need to bring chaperones for groups of small children?

For the safety and well-being of all Carnegie Science Center visitors, we ask that your group has a minimum of one adult chaperone per 10 children. Required chaperones and any additional adults are charged the group adult rate.

School groups enjoy special chaperone rates. Schools are required to bring one chaperone for every 10 children in grades 2–12, and one chaperone for every five children up to and including first grade. Other adults (in addition to the required chaperones) accompanying your field trip are charged the adult group rate.

What information should I share with my group?

After your reservation is complete, you will receive a confirmation packet containing your Visit Contract and a copy of Carnegie Science Center’s Rules, Expectations, and Chaperone Guidelines.

We ask that you share the expectations, rules, and responsibilities with your group prior to arrival to ensure a pleasant visit for all our guests. Please feel free to make copies of the Rules, Expectations and Chaperone Guidelines for each adult chaperone.

Please review your reservation details with your adult chaperones. Provide them with the times and locations of any scheduled activities, as well as a meeting time and place for your departure. Remember, a lunch time will be assigned on the day of your visit by a Science Center staff member; please do not schedule your own lunch time. Groups who have not reserved seating for the Rangos Omnimax Theater, planetarium, and live shows will not be admitted.

How do I check in and pay?

To make check-in run as smoothly as possible, all groups should report first to Group Reception on the Science Center ground floor—look for the big blue sign. At this time, a Science Center representative will conduct a short orientation with your group to review your itinerary, lunch times, and science center rules. All attendees except the group leader should stay on the bus until they are directed to exit by Science Center staff.

Group leaders should bring a single payment on the day of the visit to the Group Reception window. We accept payment in the form of a single check made payable to Carnegie Institute, credit card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express), or cash (no small bills or coins; please use denominations closest to your balance due. Groups bringing in small bills will be asked to pay by check or credit card to expedite check-in). We do not accept purchase orders. If you have additional adults coming with your group, they must be included in your head count and payment to receive the group rate. Individual payments are not accepted at the group window. Individuals not included with the group will pay regular general admission rates at the first floor Ticket Counter.

My group is only going to Highmark SportsWorks®. Do I still have to check in at the main Science Center building?

Yes, we do ask that all groups check in at the Science Center for orientation and payment.

Where can the bus park?

Carnegie Science Center offers free bus parking in any of our three parking lots.

What are my lunch options?

When making your reservation, please specify whether you are bringing bag lunch/snacks, purchasing over the counter from the Café, or preordering box lunches. Please note: Group reservationists do not schedule lunch times and will not confirm lunch times in advance.

Groups bringing bag lunch/snacks – Lunch times are assigned the day of the visit at check-in. Upon arrival, you will be instructed as to your lunch time and shown an area to store your bag lunch (Monday–Friday). Please DO NOT make your own lunch schedule. Because of the limited amount of lunch room space, larger groups may need to be split into multiple lunch times. If you have special considerations, such as a child needing to take medication with food at a particular time or peanut allergies, please let us know as soon as possible so we can do our best to accommodate you.

The River View Café is available for groups who would like to purchase their lunch a la carte. You also can order box lunches for your group in advance. Please call 412.237.3422 to pre-order box lunches.

What if, once we arrive, members of my group would like to see other things that we did not initially book?

Of course, we can make amendments to your itinerary. Please remember that because of the incremental pricing structure we make available to groups, add-on experiences may result in an additional fee and are subject to availability. All members of a group must add on for the additional experience; individual tickets are not available at group check-in.

If you would like to add an experience to your visit, only your group leader should make this request. The group leader should go to the Group Reception window on the ground floor. If necessary, one lump payment for the add-on will be accepted at that time.

I am a member. Can my group use my membership benefits?

Because of the special pricing structure we make available to groups, member benefits do not apply. Members attending with a group must pay the group rate.

Does everyone in our group need a nametag?

All groups should be wearing a group-specific identifiable item. Most choose to wear name tags with the name of the group. Name tags should NOT specify children's names. T-shirts that bear the group's name can substitute for name tags.

What if bad weather on our visit day causes a school delay or cancellation?

If school is closed or delayed on the day of your field trip, the group leader should call the group reservationist to cancel or reschedule your visit.

Monday–Friday: Please call 412.237.3400, then press 7, for a reservationist.

Saturday–Sunday: Please call 412.237.3400, then press 0, for the receptionist

We greatly appreciate your phone call to let us know you will not be coming in as scheduled. There is no penalty for changing your date due to inclement weather.

What else should I remember before my group visits Carnegie Science Center?

We want your group's visit to be a safe, enjoyable one. Please remember that Carnegie Science Center and Highmark SportsWorks® have many activities and exhibitions that require some degree of physical dexterity. Therefore, we recommend you dress accordingly. Comfortable, casual attire with sensible shoes are strongly recommended.