Welcome to Horizons Unlimited

Welcome to Horizons Unlimited

Special Public Opening August 16th

Join us during the summer at 11:00 am for free lunch served through RSS Summer Meals (school age students) and a star talk and movie from 11:30 am - 1:30 pm. Questions - call 704-639-3004


 PDF iconhorizons_permission_for_summer_camp_2017.pdf


Horizons Unlimited

Horizons Unlimited is a unique facility that houses a planetarium, aquaria, rain forest habitat, Native American artifacts, an 1842 log schoolhouse and 32 acres of natural wetlands.

All instructional programs are aligned with the North Carolina Essential Science and Social Studies Standards and the Common Core Standards.

Horizons Unlimited provides special programs and workshops for teachers, community groups, special populations and higher education.

2017-2018 Program Offerings

(Contact us for availability )

Elementary School Field Trips

Kindergarten (Available May 17th – June 6th)

Optional for all Rowan-Salisbury School System kindergarten classes. Any kindergarten classes outside of the Rowan-Salisbury School System may contact Shannon Ellsworth (Shannon.Ellsworth@rss.k12.nc.us ) or Kathryn Ender (Kathryn.Ender@rss.k12.nc.us ) to schedule a visit.

2 ½ hours

Introduction to Horizons Unlimited

Diane Folk: Garden Life

Shannon Ellsworth: Animals Everywhere

Kyle Whisenant and Neil Pifer: Make, Play and Learn

A visit to the planetarium is included for all Kindergarten classes.Contact Shannon Ellsworth (Shannon.Ellsworth@rss.k12.nc.us ) or Kathryn Ender (Kathryn.Ender@rss.k12.nc.us ) to schedule your school.

1st Grade (Available October 2nd – November 20th)

2 ½ hours

Neil Pifer: In My Backyard (Planetarium full dome show – Horizons Grounds/Gardens)

Shannon Ellsworth: Setzer Mercantile (Setzer School)

Standards highlighted 


1.E.1 Recognize the features and patterns of the earth/moon/sun system as observed from Earth.

1.E.1.1 Recognize differences in the features of the day and night sky and apparent movement of objects across the sky as observed from Earth.             

1.E.1.2 Recognize patterns of observable changes in the Moon’s appearance from day to day.

Social Studies

1.E.1.1: Summarize the various ways in which people earn and use money for goods and services.

I.E.1.2: Identify examples of goods and services in the home, school and community

1.E.1.3: Explain how supply and demand affects the choices families and communities make.

1.H.1.1: Explain how and why neighborhoods and communities change over time.

2nd Grade (Available October 2nd –November 20th)

2 ½ hours

Diane Folk: Life Cycles (Horizons Grounds/Gardens)

Kyle Whisenant: Good Citizens Academy (History Room)

Standards highlighted


2.L.1.2 Compare life cycles of different animals such as, but not limited to, mealworms, ladybugs, crickets, guppies or frogs.

Social Studies

2.C&G.2.1 Exemplify characteristics of good citizenship through historical figures and everyday citizens.

2.C&G.2.2 Explain why it is important for citizens to participate in their community.

3rd Grade (Available February 1st – March 14th)

2 ½ hours

Neil Pifer: Earth, Moon and Sun (Planetarium Show and Makerspace Landform Lesson)

Diane Folk: Plants and Pollinators (Horizons Grounds/Gardens and Laboratories)

Standards highlighted


3.E.1.1 Recognize that the earth is part of a system called the solar system that includes the sun (a star), planets, and many moons and the earth is the third planet from the sun in our solar system.

3.E.2.2 Compare Earth’s land features (including volcanoes, mountains, valleys, canyons, caverns, and islands) by using models, pictures, diagrams, and maps.

3.L.2.1 Remember the function of the following structures as it relates to the survival of plants in their environments:

• Roots – absorb nutrients

• Stems – provide support

• Leaves – synthesize food

• Flowers – attract pollinators and produce seeds for reproduction

3.L.2.2Explain how environmental conditions determine how well plants survive and grow.

4th Grade (Available March 16th – May 8th)

3 ½  hours – Bag lunch required 

Kyle: The “Making” of North Carolina (Makerspace Lesson)

Shannon: Bows, Arrows and Angles (History Room and Horizons Grounds)

Diane Folk: Rocks, Minerals and Matter (Horizons Grounds and Laboratories)

Standards highlighted

Social Studies

4.C&G.1.1 Summarize the key principles and revisions of the North Carolina Constitution.

4.C&G.1.3 the influence of the colonial history of North Carolina on the governing documents of our state.                                                                       

4.C&G.2.1 Analyze the preamble and articles of the North Carolina Constitution in terms of rights and responsibilities.


CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.MD.C.5: Recognize angles as geometric shapes that are formed wherever two rays share a common endpoint, and understand concepts of angle measurement:

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.MD.C.5.A: An angle is measured with reference to a circle with its center at the common endpoint of the rays, by considering the fraction of the circular arc between the points where the two rays intersect the circle. An angle that turns through 1/360 of a circle is called a "one-degree angle," and can be used to measure angles.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.MD.C.6: Measure angles in whole-number degrees using a protractor. Sketch angles of specified measure.


4.P.2.1 Compare the physical properties of samples of matter (strength, hardness, flexibility, ability to conduct heat, ability to conduct electricity, ability to be attracted by magnets, reactions to water and fire).

4.P.2.2 Explain how minerals are identified using tests for the physical properties of hardness, color, luster, cleavage and streak. 

5th Grade – Onsite STEM Bus visit upon request. Contact Kyle Whisenant (Kyle.Whisenant@rss.k12.nc.us ) or Neil Pifer (Neil.Pifer@rss.k12.nc.us ) to schedule the STEM Bus for your school.

Choose from the following lessons

  • Establishing outdoor education on school grounds to support Science standard 5.L.2.2 Classify the organisms within an ecosystem according to the function they serve: producers, consumers, or decomposers (biotic factors).
  • Physical science Breakout Lab based on standard 5.P.2 Understand the interactions of matter and energy and the changes that occur.
  • Understanding genetics based on standard 5.L.3 Understand why organisms differ from or are similar to their parents based on the characteristics of the organism. Students will participate in a lab on the bus that provides a variety of plants and animals.

Optional (School provides transportation)

Self-guided* Deciduous Forest and Woodland Swamp Tour to support standard 5.L.2 Understand the interdependence of plants and animals with their ecosystem.

*All materials needed for this experience will be provided by Horizons Unlimited. If for any reason a trail guide is needed, please request one with initial booking of the trip.

Contact Kathryn Ender (Kathyrn.Ender@rss.k12.nc.us ) to schedule your visit.

Middle School Field Trips 

6th Grade (Available January 3rd – January 30th)

5 hours – Bag lunch required

"Exploring China’s Culture and Creativity"

Neil Pifer: Chinese Constellations in the Planetarium

Shannon Ellsworth: Gallery Walk with Art Make

Kyle Whisenant: Chinese Commerce, Conquest and Culture

Diane Folk: Structure and State Changes of Matter

Standards highlighted


6.E.1 Understand the earth/moon/sun system, and the properties, structures and predictable motions of celestial bodies in the Universe.

6.E.1.1 Explain how the relative motion and relative position of the sun, Earth and moon affect the seasons, tides, phases of the moon, and eclipses.             

6.E.1.2 Explain why Earth sustains life while other planets are not based on their properties (including types of surface, atmosphere and gravitational force) and location to the Sun

6.P.2.1 Recognize that all matter is made up of atoms and atoms of the same element are all alike, but are different from the atoms of other elements.

6.P.2.2 Explain the effect of heat on the motion of atoms through a description of what happens to particles during a change in phase.

6.P.2.3 Compare the physical properties of pure substances that are independent of the amount of matter present including density, melting point, boiling point, and solubility to properties that are dependent on the amount of matter present to include volume, mass and weight.                           


6.CX.1.1: Understand the visual arts in relationship to the geography, history, and culture of world civilizations and societies from the beginning of human society to the emergence of the First Global Age (1450)

6.CX.1.2: Analyze art from various historical periods in terms of style, subject matter, and movements.

Social Studies

6.G.1.1 Explain how the physical features and human characteristics of a place influenced the development of civilizations, societies and regions (e.g., location near rivers and natural barriers, trading practices and spread of culture).

6.G.1.2 Explain the factors that influenced the movement of people, goods, and ideas and the effects of that movement on societies and regions over time (e.g., scarcity of resources, conquests, desire for wealth, disease and trade). 

7th Grade (Available November 27th - December 13th)

5 hours – Bag lunch required

"Our Impact on the World"

Kyle Whisenant: Virtual Vietnam

Shannon Ellsworth: Walk in Their Shoes

Diane Folk: Inheritance

Neil Pifer: Breath of Life

Standards highlighted

Social Studies

7.H.2.2 Evaluate the effectiveness of cooperative efforts and consensus building among nations, regions, and groups (e.g. Humanitarian efforts, United Nations, World Health Organization, Non-Governmental Organizations, European Union and Organization of American States).

7.H.2.1 Analyze the effects of social, economic, military and political conflict among nations, regions, and groups (e.g. war, genocide, imperialism and colonization)

7.H.2.1 Analyze the effects of social, economic, military and political conflict among nations, regions, and groups (e.g. war, genocide, imperialism and colonization)


7.L.2.3 Explain the impact of the environment and lifestyle choices on biological inheritance (to include common genetic diseases) and survival.

7.L.1 Understand the processes, structures and functions of living organisms that enable them to survive, reproduce and carry out the basic functions of life.

8th Grade  (Available September 6th – 28th)

Program held off-site at Old Stone House (770 Old Stone House Rd, Salisbury, NC)

Organized by Horizons Unlimited and Rowan Museum staff

5 Hours with bag lunch required

"History Meets STEM" 

Standards highlighted 

Social Studies

8.H.1.2 Summarize the literal meaning of historical documents in order to establish context.

8.H.1.3 Use primary and secondary sources to interpret various historical perspectives.

8.H.2.1 Explain the impact of economic, political, social, and military conflicts (e.g. war, slavery, states’ rights, and citizenship and immigration policies) on the development of North Carolina and the United States. 

8.H.3.1 Explain how migration and immigration contributed to the development of North Carolina and the United States from colonization to contemporary times (e.g. westward movement, African slavery, Trail of Tears, the Great Migration and Ellis and Angel Island).

8.H.3.4 Compare historical and contemporary issues to understand continuity and change in the development of North Carolina and the United States. 


8.E.1.3 Predict the safety and potability of water supplies in North Carolina based on physical and biological factors, including:

  • Temperature 

  • Dissolved oxygen 

  • pH 

  • Nitrates and phosphates 

  • Turbidity 

  • Bio-indicators 

8.E.1.4 Conclude that the good health of humans requires:

  • Monitoring of the hydrosphere 

  • Water quality standards 

  • Methods of water treatment 

  • Maintaining safe water quality 

  • Stewardship 

The Staff Directory lists contact information for all staff at Horizons Unlimited. To contact staff members, click on the email link below.

Planetarium Information

Horizons Unlimited - Educational Exhibits

Horizons Unlimited - School Programming

Horizons Unlimited - Teacher Resources

Horizons Unlimited | 1636 Parkview Circle | Salisbury, NC 28144
704-639-3004 phone | 704-639-3015 fax
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Horizons Unlimited is owned and operated by the Rowan-Salisbury Schools

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