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We are happy to report that the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center is open. We are taking care to follow best practices in addressing COVID-19 concerns. We are planning schedules for student programs throughout the 2020-21 academic year.

In recognition that schools might not be able to transport students to us, we are making alternative plans to engage students in our programs. We will contact teachers who submitted program requests as we are working on scheduling over the summer.

REQUEST A FIELD TRIP

The Ruth Patrick Science Education Center offers more than 50 different hands-on, inquiry-based K-12 student programs that are aligned to state standards. Different programs are offered each month. A calendar of offerings, program descriptions, and reservation request forms can be found on our website. Offerings for the upcoming school year are posted online in mid-April. The deadline to submit reservation requests is mid-June.

Reservation requests for student programs may be e-mailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mailed to the RPSEC at USC Aiken, 471 University Parkway, Box 3, Aiken, South Carolina 29801, or faxed to (803) 641-3615. Requests received after the deadline will be placed on a waiting list. No reservations will be accepted by telephone.

CONFIRM YOUR FIELD TRIP

All scheduling for the upcoming school year is done in the summer. You will be notified via e-mail that your request has been received. Once your visit has been scheduled, you will be mailed a confirmation contract letter. Confirmation contract letters MUST be signed and returned to the RPSEC by the date specified, or your scheduled program(s) will be cancelled and filled from the waiting list.

RESCHEDULING A VISIT

Because we receive many more requests than we can serve, it is highly unlikely that we will be able to reschedule a visit unless we have a cancellation.

CANCELLATIONS

If you need to cancel a visit, we must receive written notification at least FOUR weeks in advance so we can fill it from our wait list. Written notification of a cancellation MUST be received at least 4 weeks prior to the reserved date or a $25.00cancellation fee PER PROGRAM will be assessed. Groups from that school will not be permitted to visit the RPSEC until the fee has been paid. *NOTE: An additional $10.00 PER PROGRAM will be assessed if your group misses your scheduled visit without contacting the RPSEC prior to the start time.

SCHEDULING RESTRICTIONS

SINGLE, DOUBLE, and TRIPLE GROUPS

PROGRAM REQUEST GUIDELINES

PROGRAM START TIMES

Programs begin at 9:15 AM, 10:30 AM, 12:00 noon, and 1:15 PM. Most groups eat lunch from 11:30 –12:00. Program start times can be adjusted in advance upon request.

ARRIVALS and DEPARTURES

Please take a headcount before you enter the RPSEC. The group leader should report to the main office upon arrival with the total number of students and adults. Groups should enter through the double door entrance. Line up your students in one, two or three even groups in the gallery (maximum of 30 students per group). Please make checks payable to USC Aiken, or let us know that you need to be invoiced. Please notify us as soon as possible if you will not be able to arrive at your assigned time or if you will need to leave early (803-641-3313).

LUNCH FACILITIES

Lunch facilities at the RPSEC can accommodate up to 90 students, but you must reserve the lunchroom, extra classrooms or picnic tables prior to your visit on a first come, first served basis. Participants should bring bag lunches and drinks. The RPSEC does not have food available. IMPORTANT: Double and triple groups should pre-divide their lunches to eat in two or three separate rooms.

CHAPERONES

Adult chaperones are welcome and encouraged to attend. Please note:

STUDENT PROGRAM FEES

Discovery Programs

Aiken County Public Schools Prepaid by the district (non-planetarium) 
All Other Schools $3.75 per student, per program

Planetarium Programs

All Students $3.75 per student, per program
Adults One adult per eight students is admitted free. Additional adults pay $3.75 each. (Adults = teachers, school staff, bus drivers and chaperones)

All Programs

Cancellation Fee (less than 4 weeks written notice), PER PROGRAM $25.00
No-Show Fee, PER PROGRAM $35.00

ACADEMIC STANDARDS

All student programs are aligned with South Carolina and Georgia academic standards. Each lesson is designed to actively engage students in hands-on, inquiry-based learning, and many of our programs are interdisciplinary. South Carolina and Georgia academic standards correlations are available on our Student Programs page.

ADA STATEMENT

Please indicate if you need any special services, assistance, or accommodations to participate in our programs by contacting us in advance at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (803) 641-3313.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Ruth Patrick Science Education Center
University of South Carolina Aiken, 471 University Parkway, Box 3, Aiken, SC 29801

Telephone: 803-641-3313

Fax: 803-641-3615

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.