By Dan Majka
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For nine days, beginning April 24, budding scientists of all ages will have the opportunity to unleash their nerdy sides and discover the science happening across the region at The Franklin Institute‘s fifth annual Philadelphia Science Festival.
“The Philadelphia Science Festival is one of the nation’s best festivals that is out there,” says Larry Dubinski, President and CEO, The Franklin Institute. “It’s just a way in which a community can come together and celebrate the importance of science and technology, and really inspire people to learn more about science and technology, the region in which they live and how science and technology is all around them every day.”
Dubinski says Philadelphia is a science city and it’s a big part of what we’re all about.
“This is a city that lives and breathes science, and this is a way in which we can celebrate it for all ages,” he says. “No matter how old or young you are, there is something in this festival that is going to appeal to you.”
And there should be. The Festival includes more than 100 different events throughout the region, including at bars, restaurants, the Free Library, and the Mutter Museum — even into South Jersey.
“There are 72 events for families, 16 adult programs and 19 educator workshops,” Dubinski says. We really look to cover the gamut.”
Beginning with Science After Hours 8-Bit Night at The Franklin Institute, a 21-and-over event devoted to classic video games.
“You’ll discover the science behind video games like Frogger, dissect an arcade machine,” Dubinski says. “You’ll also learn how to play music on your old Game Boy. And one of my favorite things is you’ll be able to play Galactica on the dome of the Fels Planetarium.”
The evening will also include a beautiful view of the starry night sky.
“It’s the biggest star-gazing party in the region,” Dubinski says. “There will be local astronomers at 25 different sites throughout the region. We’ll provide a tour of the cosmos for folks.”
And families are sure to find something fun to do at a number of free outdoor science extravaganzas during Discovery Day, April 25.
“You can participate in an exercise session in Chestnut Hill. It will work your muscles as well as your brain,” says Dubinski. “You’ll meet local scientists and STEM students in Clark Park in West Philadelphia. You can create your own fizzy rockets in Hunting Park, and you can celebrate an Earth Day celebration at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education and, also, one of my favorites, Mess Fest for the entire family at Smith Memorial Playground.”
The Festival also offers a variety of events for beer drinkers, including Science on Tap Quizzo at National Mechanics, Beer Lab at Yards Brewing Company and one that takes bar hopping to a whole new level.
“We have a Fishtown Science Crawl on Sunday, April 26 at various locations,” Dubinski says. “Drink specials, enjoy your favorite Fishtown spots. But at each one you’ll experience science activities from distilling to painting with squid ink.”
The Festival closes on Saturday, May 2 with its signature event, the Science Carnival on the Parkway.
“There are more than 150 exhibitors offering family-friendly experiments, games and a packed line-up of live entertainment,” says Dubinski. “Gaze safely at the sun, meet zoo animals, explore the science of sports and grab a bite from your favorite food truck, and all the time celebrating science, technology, engineering and math.”
So whether your building your own robot, solving a murder mystery at the Mutter Museum or enjoying Science Night at the Ballpark, Dubinski says The Philadelphia Science Festival is sure to inspire and amaze.
“If someone comes to an event earlier in the week they are hooked,” he says, “and they make plans to come back to another event, at least one, if not more, later in the week.”