What’s new about the 2016 N.C. Science Festival? Look outside.
The statewide event – April 8-24, and now in its sixth year – has grown to include more than 400 events, most of them free and open to the public. The mixture of fun and learning is designed to collectively appeal to all ages and its offerings can be found from the Outer Banks to the mountains, usually in museums, schools, colleges and universities.
And now in parks, too. The N.C. State Parks system turns 100 this year, and while many centennial celebrations are scheduled for late summer, all 41 parks will offer hands-on science programming in April as part of the science festival.
Mike Murphy, director of the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation, said, “Our 200-plus park rangers are trained naturalists and outdoor scientists themselves and are a natural fit for this effort. On a daily basis, they conduct outdoor research, including cataloging rare species of birds, plants and insects, as well as leading educational programs.”
Here’s a look at some of our area’s highlights – indoor and outdoor – scheduled for the weeks ahead. Unless otherwise noted, they are free to attend.
Technology of Trash. Come out to the Wilder’s Grove Solid Waste Services facility on Beacon Lake Drive between 1 and 4 p.m. to learn how Raleigh uses technology to safely and efficiently collect waste. Learn how a trash truck is tracked as it moves through the city. Kids can also sit inside a collection truck. Details: www.raleighnc.gov (type event name in search window).
State of the Sciences: Museum Takeover. Students and faculty at N.C. State’s School of Sciences will occupy the Nature Research Center at the N.C. Museum of Natural Science from 6 to 8 p.m., offering family-friendly lab tours, interactive experiments (and local craft beer for adults). Details: www.sciences.ncsu.edu (type name of event in search window).
Statewide Star Party: Eno River State Park. Weather permitting, there will be stargazing offered at state parks and various nature preserves across North Carolina this evening and April 9. (Check the festival website’s calendar for times and locations.) The one at Eno River State Park, Durham, is 7:45-10 p.m.; sky-scanning activities feature telescopes and binoculars. Details: www.ncparks.gov.
UNC Science Expo. Cameron Avenue in Chapel Hill is the site of a science street fair with more than 100 demonstrations, hands-on experiments, stage entertainment and more, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Details: www.moreheadplanetarium.org.
Brewery tour. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the science of beer at Carolina Brewing Co. in Holly Springs. The walk-through one-hour tour begins at 1 p.m. and include samples for adults. (Tours also offered at 1 p.m. April 16 and 23). Details: www.carolinabrew.com.
Engineering STEAM at New Hope Valley Railway. At the railroad attraction in New Hill, see an operational steam engine and hear talks and demonstrations from 1 to 4 p.m. Docents will show you around the grounds and will be on hand in restored train cars. There’s a cost for train rides; tour the grounds free of charge. Details: www.triangletrain.com.
Get Hooked! At the lakeshore at Durant Nature Preserve on Camp Durant Road, your family can learn about fishing – how to cast a spinner rod, bait a hook and maybe catch a fish. Admission: $1 per person. Preregistration required at www.raleighnc.gov/parks (type “RecLink” in the search window; it’s course 183418).
Science on the Campaign Trail. How do candidates explain such issues as climate change, clean energy, vaccines and GMOs? What are candidates getting right? What are they getting wrong? A 6-9 p.m. journalist/scientist roundtable looks at the situation, at The Frontier in Research Triangle Park. Details: www.ncsciencefestival.org.
Earth Fair on the Brickyard. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the N.C. State Brickyard, dozens of exhibits and demonstrations will foster ideas on how you can help our planet. Details: https://sustainability.ncsu.edu/get-involved/events/earth-day.
2016 Koh Lecture: Tadashi Tokieda. Tokieda, director of studies in mathematics at the University of Cambridge and a world-famous speaker, will give a kid-friendly lecture, “A World From a Sheet of Paper,” using origami and other creative uses of paper to explore science. The one-hour presentation begins at 4 p.m. at SAS Hall at N.C. State. Details: https://sciences.ncsu.edu/events/kwangil-koh-lecture-tadashi-tokieda.
Lean In, Women in Science. High school and college students can hear, dine with and meet accomplished women in scientific fields, 5-7:30 p.m. at the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics, Durham. (Pre-registration required for 6 p.m. dinner.) Details: www.ncssm.edu/events.
STEMville Science Symposium. This science conference at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, Chapel Hill, is an all-ages event aimed at fourth- through seventh-graders, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Participants meet scientists and researchers, participate in workshops and conduct experiments. Admission charged. Pre-registration required: www.moreheadplanetarium.org/programs/special-activities/stemville-science-symposium.
Citizen Science Fest. Learn how to get involved in real science by way of projects that need field work by the public. It’s 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Prairie Ridge Ecostation, Raleigh. Details: www.naturalsciences.org (click “Events”).
Living on the Edge: Life in Boiling Water, Hot Acid, and Possibly Other Planets. N.C. State professor Bob Kelly will speak about hyperthermophiles – organisms that live in extremely hot environments. Hands-on demos follow. It’s 6-8 p.m. at NCSU Centennial Campus Engineering Building 1, Raleigh. Details: www.mrsec.duke.edu.
Triangle SciTech Expo. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh will host more than 50 hands-on exhibits, games, crafts, activities and presentations. Meet scientists and technical pros from universities, organizations and businesses. Details: www.naturalsciences.org (click “Events”).
Want to know more?
Full schedule of 2016 N.C. Science Festival events: www.ncsciencefestival.org.