More than 130 events throughout the two-week festival are “designed to be in everybody’s backyard throughout the metro region,” she said, adding that topics run the gamut. Guests can expect a variety of opportunities – drones and nano-tattoos, panda yoga, archeological digs, nature walks, ice cream tastings, art, trivia, curling, superheroes, beavers, newts, bees and more.
At the Exploration Expo March 23, the opportunities for attendees are many: pet a python, squeeze into a mock MRI scanner, look up your own nasal passages, and even touch a human brain.
Decatur resident Kristina Morris – who has attended the event in previous years with husband, Chris, and their two daughters — recalls touching the human brain and laughs at the recollection.
“There’s fun things and gross things,” Morris said. “This year, there’s an ‘insects as sources of protein’ event, for instance.”
She added that it’s given their daughters “a chance to see science in a different light … and, it’s cool to experience it with your kids and see it through their eyes.”
Morris feels one of the most important aspects of the festival is that it “celebrates all the different companies here in our community that are involved in some way, shape or form with STEM activities and lets them showcase what they do right here in our backyard.”
For instance, the Center for Puppetry Arts – one of more than 100 partner organizations participating during the two-week festival – will offer eight performances over four days.
And, what might puppetry have to do with science, technology, engineering and math? Center for Puppetry Arts Education Director Aretta Baumgartner is glad you asked.
“In addition to hosting a puppet show about a Galapagos tortoise and a special amphibian-centric opportunity (science), all the center’s shows are produced with “state of the art technology – lights, microphones, our ticketing system. With regard to engineering, we use simple machines and pulleys. And, (participants) will get to come up and build at the center, using math skills.”
Baumgartner said “because the science festival encourages kids to be creative thinkers, it’s essential … and, for us, it connects the center with people we never would have met. We get to connect with more of the general Atlanta community of patrons and guests, as well as other program partners at the festival.”
Salaita said the festival’s vast gathering of partners offers young attendees the opportunity “to meet the actual doers of the science that interests them. It’s a chance to meet real-life scientists and engineers. These are important jobs that need to be filled one day, and we hope to spark an interest early.”
Added Salaita: “We’re not expecting that every child who comes to our festival is going to become a scientist or go into the tech field, but we hope they will gain an appreciation for science and for evidence-based thinking, which is extremely important in the way we make decisions for ourselves, our family and our planet.”
For a complete listing of events, visit atlantasciencefestival.org.
Atlanta Science Festival
Various times. March 9-23. Prices vary.
Event culimates 10 a.m.-4 p.m. with March for Science and Exploration Expo, Piedmont Park.