Museum of York County

Focusing on the natural history of the region in which we live, learners are invited to experience the Carolina Piedmont and its connections to the rest of the world. The Museum is home to the Naturalist Center Lab with more than 2,000 specimens, the Settlemyre Planetarium featuring out-of-this-world programs, changing exhibitions and more.

Program Availability:  Tues – Fri; Programs may begin at 9 AMAdmission: $3 per person for groups of 15 or more Program Cost: $2 per person per programProgram Length: 30-50 minutes


Tours & Programs

Tours include several galleries in the museum; programs take place in a classroom space and may use the hands-on Naturalist Center Lab where more than 2,200 specimens are kept. 

Pre K–K5 & 2nd  Grade  •  30—50 min       
Designed to introduce young visitors to the main galleries of the museum and its amazing natural history collection, this tour uses short stories and poems to share how animals use their body parts to obtain food, protect themselves and move about. 

2nd, 3rd, 5th & 7th Grade*  •  50 min
Observe how interactions within the ecosystem, such as climate, human activity and availability of food and water affect plants and animals in five distinct environments. 

1st & 4th Grade  •  30 – 50 min 
Orbiting, bending, and tilting, children will learn about the movements of Sun, Earth and Moon as they create a human model of the inner Solar System and learn how technology has allowed us to study space.  Additionally, fourth graders will model the regular and predictable motion of objects in the inner Solar System, learn about the gas giant planets and more.

Classes with a Naturalist Center Lab

Classes include a hands-on, interactive lab exercise with real specimens. Please plan extra time to visit the rest of the museum’s galleries and exhibits. 

K & 2nd Grade  •  50 min
This interactive class encourages students to examine hands-on specimens while comparing how animals use teeth, wings, claws, shells, fur and other body structures to survive. Students will learn how scientists classify animals by describing their physical characteristics.

1st & 3rd Grade  •  50 min
Earth materials are natural resources. Using maps, students learn about watersheds in South Carolina.  Through demonstration, students observe how water movement shapes and changes the land and investigate differences between mineral and rock specimens, discovering that things they use every day come from the Earth.  

2nd, 4th & 6th Grade*  •  50 min 
Explore the structural adaptations that allow animals to obtain resources and survive in their distinct environments. Students investigate nocturnal animals’ super-senses; use critical thinking skills and animal characteristics to classify specimens as vertebrate or invertebrate; and encounter the diversity of mammal tooth structure.  

3rd & 5th & 8th Grade*  •  50 min
Fossils, minerals, rocks and energy fuels are often found buried down deep in the Earth. Review or introduce these topics as students observe live earthquake data, discuss the rock cycle and use tests and tools to identify minerals or fossils.

Featured Settlemyre Planetarium Programs

All planetarium shows include a look at the current night sky and identification of celestial objects. This live presentation can include content that will reinforce classroom activities, so be sure to let the scheduler know what your students are studying when you make reservations. For the main part of the planetarium experience, choose between these recorded programs. For additional programs beyond our featured ones and for applicable SC and NC Academic Standards, contact the scheduler. Max: 50 total per show

Preschool – 1st Grade
Big Bird, Elmo and their friend from China, take viewers on a journey of discovery to learn about the Big Dipper, the North Star and the Sun. Take a trip to the Moon and see how it’s different from Earth. 

K – 3rd Grade
Follow the adventures of Cy and Annie as they embark on an unexpected journey into space. Explore the Earth, Sun and Moon system with a wise-cracking spaceship computer. See an asteroid crash into the Moon. Bounce on the lunar surface and gain a new appreciation of our home planet.

2nd – 6th Grade
Discover our Solar System through a new set of eyes – a family from another star seeking the perfect vacation spot.  Fly over the surface of dwarf planet Pluto, sail through the rings of Saturn and walk on the surface of Mars.

3rd – 12th Grade
We follow a group of Victorian time travelers as they learn about the origins of atoms. Witness the formation of the first hydrogen atoms after the Big Bang and then watch how those hydrogen atoms gather into galaxies and stars. Learn how the stars forged all the atoms needed to make life. We see the creation of planet Earth and follow the atoms and molecules through evolution, back to where the time travelers started their journey.

4th – 8th Grade
Take a journey across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Discover the many reasons for color - like why the sky is blue and why Mars is red. Investigate x-rays by voyaging to a black hole and then back to your doctor's office. Get ready for an amazing adventure under a rainbow of cosmic light.

4th – 12th Grade
This show explores fascinating weather phenomena found on planet Earth. Topics include the water cycle, seasons, clouds and cloud types, thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, space weather and more.

Mammoth changes underway! Due to construction, the Elephant Hall will close in early 2019 and self-guided opportunities may not be available. 

Planetarium programs are made possible in part through the generous support of: Comporium, The Humanities CouncilSC, the Guild of the Museum of York County and Westinghouse Foundation.