10 Discoveries to Make at the World Science Festival

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All kiddos are natural born scientists. Why else would they constantly be dropping things, knocking things over, breaking things, spitting things out, and coating themselves in things? They want to know how everything works and why it works. Remember the fun-filled “Why?” phase?

If you ever get tired of answering questions, head to Lower Manhattan for the annual World Science Festival, held May 29 through June 2, 2013. There’s a lot to see at this festival, including plenty of hands-on, kid-friendly activities, so we’ve scoured the schedule to determine the top ten discoveries you should make there. Keep reading to check out our must do and see list as well as find important know-before-you-go info.


1. Moths Are Cool (and they’re not just Butterflies’ uglier, hairier cousins, either): Drop by The Moth Story Hour What Lies Beneath: Stories of Discovery, where each story must be true – and no longer than 10 minutes. That will keep tiny attention spans from wandering.

2. How Soon Until I Get a Computer Brain?: That subject will be covered in Architects of the Mind: A Blueprint for the Human Brain (a.k.a. Silicon isn’t just for fake breasts anymore). There are also robots galore – even some you can play catch with!

3. When Will This Be Over? Or a chat about Infinity. Which doesn’t, in this case, refer to toddlerhood. No matter how much it may feel like it.

4. Singing About Science! The Rap Guide to Evolution. What Darwin would have rapped if he could have rapped.

5. What Should I Be When I Grow Up? Games, Food, Robots, and More: These Are Some of the Coolest Jobs Around. Nope, this isn’t just for kids. Maybe you’ll get inspired, too!


6. It’s The Ultimate Science Street Fair! One day only, on Sunday, June 2 from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm in Washington Square Park. This street fair absolutely, positively, cannot be missed by any self-respecting science-loving family in the tri-state area. It features activities and performances including an appearance by NBA and science all-star Kareem Abdul Jabbar. There will be a variety of themed science centers to explore ranging from Biology Block and Energy Avenue to Space Place and Brain Boulevard. You can even earn an Ultimate Scientist certificate by logging experiences throughout the day.

7. Microscopes through which you can look at lots of icky, slimy things – some dead, some alive – thanks to exhibits by the American Museum of Natural History, the Hudson River Museum, Carmelo the Science Fellow, The New York Botanical Garden, Solar One and more!


8. Protect the environment. Plant a garden, learn about composting, produce energy via a soccer ball (you knew all that running around had to be good for something), visit a bus that runs on grease and find more eco-friendly fun activities.

9. Play CSI: Junior Edition as you get your fingerprints taken and extract DNA from a banana (in case said banana ever decides to commit a crime), and reenact the opposite of London Bridge is Falling Down as you construct your own habitats from rods and hoops.

10. Meet Sid the Science Kid! (And get lots of cool other swag from Nickelodeon and Disney!)


Know Before You Go

1. Make sure you get a map as soon as you come in.  They’re usually being handed out on every street, and you’ll need one to find out which shows (like Math-a-Magicians, Science Storytellers and Darwinian Dramatists) are playing where and when, so that you can structure your day accordingly. Make sure you structure your day accordingly. Depending on chance to ensure you see everything you want to see isn’t very scientific. And leads to whining.

2. Lines for some things (like face painting) can get exceedingly long, so bring water and snacks, and if you know your child is prone to melting down when forced to wait, just skip those activities. There are plenty more, such as the hands on interactive stations, that can accommodate more children at a single time.

3. Bathrooms are available within many NYU buildings.

4. Your kids will be touching many displays – and live animals – that have also been touched by literally thousands of others.  Bring hand sanitizer.

5. Start saving money now.  MIT isn’t cheap.

What are you most looking forward to at World Science Festival?

–Alina Adams