Group Visits

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Discovery Center is proud to offer a wide variety of field trip styles and formats to suit your classes’ interests, learning level, and needs. Talk to any child who has grown up in the Rockford region, and he or she will most likely have a fond memory of a field trip to our museum.


General Museum Tour

Explore over 300 hands-on permanent exhibits on two floors of hands-on fun! Interactive exhibits cover topics on electricity, weather, agriculture, communication, color and light, air and flight, mathematics, simple machines, and the human body. Use Discovery Center Museum to teach a lesson your students won’t forget!

Our General Museum Tour includes time to explore both floors of the Museum as well as our outdoor science park (weather permitting). Additional activities, such as STEM or Early Childhood STEAM Labs, Group Planetarium Shows, and Lunchroom Rentals, can extend your time at the museum!

Next Generation Science Standards: ESS2.B, ESS2.D, ESS3.B, ETS1.A, ETS1.B, LS4.C, LS4.D, LS3.A, PS2.A, PS2.B, PS3.A, PS3.AB, PS3.C, PS3.A, PS3.AD, PS4.A, PS4.B, PS4.C

IELDS: 9.A.ECa, 11.A.ECe, 12.B.ECb, 12.D.ECb, 19.A.ECa, 19.A.ECb, 30.C.ECa


Add On Activities

STEM Labs for K-8th Graders

A range of theme-based, hands-on lab sessions that inspire focused learning. 30-45 Minutes per Lab session, each session can accommodate 25 students. $65 per session

Early Childhood STEAM Labs for PreK/K Groups

A selection of theme-based, hands-on lab sessions that inspire focused learning in young learners. 30 Minutes per Lab session, each session can accommodate 20 students. $45 per session

Group Planetarium Shows

Explore the night sky in our Planetarium with shows geared for students in grades PreK-8th. Shows are 30 minutes long and can accommodate 25 people per show. $30 per show 

Lunch Space Rentals

Lunch space rentals are required for groups planning to eat lunch at the museum. Groups should bring sack lunches as there is no food service onsite. Lunch sessions are 25 minutes long and can accommodate 60 people at a time. $10 per session. 

Planning Your Visit

Scheduling Your Visit:

We are open to the public Tuesday - Sunday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. We can begin guided tours as early as 9:00 am Tuesday - Friday. When you complete your Group Visit Request, have several date options and konw the number of people in your group. Our calendar fills quickly, especially for late spring field trips. For the best choice of dates complete your Group Visit Request 2-12 months before your preferred field trip date. To begin the reservation process, complete the Group Visit Request Form. Groups must pre-register to receive the group rate pricing. Reservations can be made a year or more in advance. Group Visit reservations must be finalized one week prior to your scheduled visit.

General Museum Tour Length: 

2 Hours (longer if additional programs or lunchtime is added). The two-hour General Museum Tour includes time on both floors and the outdoor park (weather permitting).Group Visit Start and End Times are listed on your group reservation sheet. Groups that arrive late or need to leave earlier than their scheduled times may not get to visit all areas of the museum. Groups that want to stay and play past their scheduled end time must get clearance to do so at least 14 days before their visit and meet the chaperone ratio of one adult for every five children on the day of their visit. Although we do our best to be flexible, clearance to stay late may not always be granted due to staffing needs and/or other group schedules. 

Group Pricing and Payment


Group rate pricing is available for groups of 10 or more people that are schools or 501(c)3 organizations. Our group rate is $6.50 per person and covers general museum admission, fees for added activities or special exhibits may apply. Groups must register in advance to receive group rate pricing.

Discovery Center Memberships and reciprocal membership benefits do not apply to children or chaperones participating in a group visit. 

Group Visit Payment:

Group Visit Payment is due on the day of your visit. Student and Chaperone fees, as well as any activity or rental fees must be combined into one payment. We can accept payment in cash, check, or credit card. Payment by purchase order must be set up at least 14 days prior to your visit. 

Checks should be made out to Discovery Center Museum

Refunds: Group Payments are expected to cover all students and chaperones in attendance on the day of the field trip, as well as any activities that the group participates in. Any refunds due will be sent as a check from the Museum business office; cash refunds on the day of the visit are not available. '

Group FAQs & Policies


Discovery Center Museum is located within the Riverfront Museum Park building. For driving directions use the following address: 711 N. Main Street, Rockford, IL 61103

Buses should drop off / pick up groups near the blue and green kinetic sculpture to the right of the main doors. Our staff in blue aprons and green shirts will meet your group at the bus(es) and help bring everyone inside for orientation. 

Buses can park at the back of our parking lot free of charge. 

Chaperone Information: 

We require a ratio of one adult (18 or older) to ten children, with a maximum ratio of 1 adult to every 5 children. Adult Chaperones must stay with and supervise the conduct of their students/children at all times. Chaperones who have not registered with their group and paid their chaperone fee in advance are subject to the full retail admission costs upon arrival at the Museum. 

Group Behavior Expectations: 

Every visitor deserves to have an exciting, educational day at Discovery Center Museum. Please carefully read and share the following behavior expectations with all students and chaperones.

Be safe

Use your walking feet in the museum; running and roughhousing are not permitted.

Stay with your group

Be respectful

Use your inside voices

Take turns at the exhibits so everyone has a chance to play

Remember other groups and families are visiting the museum as well

Be curious

Play and interact with our exhibits

Ask questions! Think in “hows” and “whys” during your visit

Failure to abide by the Group Behavior Expectations may result in your group being asked to leave the museum. Refunds are not issued to groups who are asked to leave. 

Group Visit Schedules 

Group schedules are created for every guided group visit and provided to the Discovery Center Staff that will be assisting your group and are designed to accommodate all of the groups that are visiting on a particular day. These schedules begin and end at the Start and End Times listed on your Group Reservation and include any STEM or Early Childhood STEAM Labs, Group Planetarium Shows, or Lunchroom Rentals you have requested. Groups are expected to abide by the group schedule and staff directions to avoid overcrowding any one exhibit area. Group schedules are subject to change without notice.

Lunch Space Rentals 

Groups that rent the lunch space will be scheduled for lunch(es) between 10:30 AM and 12:30 PM. Lunch times are assigned based on group arrival time and what timing works best to accommodate the needs of all groups visiting the museum on that day. Groups that do not schedule a lunch space rental will not have lunch time or location included in their reservation.

Gift Shop

Groups that would like to visit the gift shop must request this on their Group Visit Request. Students / Children must be supervised by an adult in the gift shop at all times. One adult and five children will be allowed to shop at one time to avoid overcrowding our shop.

To begin the reservation process, complete the Group Visit Request Form. For additional questions, contact us at fieldtrip@discoverycentermuseum.org or phone 815-963-6769.


Tips for Group Visits

Reserve Your Date Early:

Our calendar fills quickly. For best date selection, we recommend booking at least 8 weeks in advance.

Arrive On Time:

Plan to arrive a few minutes before the Start Time listed on your reservation. Groups will be ready to board their buses at the End Time listed on your reservation.

Prepare Your Students:

Help your students know what to expect when they arrive at the museum.

Plan for Lunch:

The museum does not have food service on site. You can reserve space to eat sack lunches.

Review our Group Visit FAQs & Policies: 

These cover important information about Drop Off /Pick Up, Bus Parking, Group Behavior Expectations, Chaperone Information as well as Field Trip and Lunch Schedules. 

To begin the reservation process, complete the Group Visit Request Form.  For additional questions, contact us via email or phone 815-963-6769.