Whenever people ask if I like living in Washington, D.C. over the San Francisco Bay Area where I grew up, all it takes is a mention of the wealth of activities that go on in our area that make them realize that I truly love living in the DC Metro Area. We’re truly fortunate to have incredible museums, cultural events, and also amazing free festivals that our family looks forward to such as the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival, Smithsonian Folklife Festival, National Cherry Blossom Festival, and a personal favorite:
The USA Science & Engineering Festival that is being held this weekend- April 26 and 27- at the Washington Convention Center!
As a former teacher who wrote grants funding hands-on science opportunities for my first graders and a parent who knows how much kids can learn by thinking and acting like scientists, the USA Science & Engineering Festival provides opportunities like no other for DC area families with kids of all ages.
The 2014 USA Science & Engineering Festival aims to celebrate science and engineering by re-invigorating “the interest of our nation’s youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by producing and presenting the most compelling, exciting, educational and entertaining science festival in the United States.”
If you’re thinking that the Festival is going to be boring, you couldn’t be more wrong!
With two packed days of exhibits, over 3000 hands-on activities, 150 stage shows that include music, comedy, and more, a Career Pavilion and College Fair geared towards high-school students, and a book fair with more than 25 author, there is an incredible variety of topics and activities to excite attendees from toddlers to adults.
As you walk among the booths, you’ll find hands-on activities, experiments, and lots of scientists and engineers to talk to. According to the Festival organizers, “Most hands-on activities will take about 15 minutes to complete. This is not show and tell… it’s show and do!” Exhibits range from flight simulators, virtual reality environments and surgical robots to making virus structures with marshmallows and toothpicks so there’s truly is something for every member of your family whether you’re a STEM advocate, teacher, science professional, or just plain curious.
To get a sneak peek at this year’s offerings, visit the USA Science & Engineering Festival website. It’s full of amazing information that’s helpful if you want to plan your day ahead of time. If you visit and feel overwhelmed, use the helpful filtering tool on the exhibit page to sort by age range to make a schedule that’s just right for you and your family!
Or go with the flow and wander the floor that will be organized by pavilion categories for easy navigation and exploration.
Themed pavilions include:
- Natural Sciences
- Earth Sciences
- Astronomy/Space Exploration
- Health and Medicine
- Social Sciences
- Math/Computer Sciences
- High Technology
- Kids Pavilion (for children under 7 years of age)
Either way you can’t go wrong because you’re guaranteed to have a great time by simply attending and chances are if you go on Saturday, you’ll find that there’s more stuff you can do in one day so plan to return on Sunday especially since there will be different stage shows on each day.
I am a USA Science & Engineering Festival media partner and was not compensated for this post or any social promotion of the Festival. All opinions are my own and based on our family’s experience and a love of STEM subjects! Images courtesy of the USA Science & Engineering Festival.