Math & Science Family Fun Fair
University of Minnesota’s Coffman Union
Saturday, November 16, 2013
10am – 4pm; FREE!
So it looks like I’ll be solo-parenting it this weekend. And if there’s one reason alone to be bummed out about it — the U of M’s annual Math & Science Family Fun Fair is scheduled for this Saturday, November 16, at the Minneapolis campus. Our family had so much fun attending last year that I swore we’d be back in 2013. But here’s my hang-up: Coffman Union is so packed with hands-on activities, exhibits and shows for this fair that it’s an event best tackled by a team of at least two caregivers (in my case, anyway. I’ve got a spirited bunch of four young ones.). As of press time, I’m still deciding whether to go at it without my co-pilot.
The pros to attending: a staggering number of exhibits designed to let your children’s inner scientist come out to play. That’s my 3-year-old (above) building molecules out of marshmallows and toothpicks. My 7-year-old son was crazy about the robots. Well-known UMN traveling science shows “Physics Force” and “Energy and U” perform. Try out the Bell Museum’s ExploraDome for free! Fun activities for kids introduce them to such fields as (deep breath) astronomy, chemistry, neuroscience, rocketry, electrical engineering, geology, genetics and a host of other STEM vocations I hope might spark some interest in my daughters. (Just because I was allergic even to the words “math” and “science” as a kid doesn’t mean I want to pass it on to my own.)
The only cons to attending the Fair: the exhibits are spread throughout several floors and spaces within Coffman Union. If you’re unfamiliar with the building it’s almost impossible to navigate the exhibits without a map. Be sure to pick one up at the registration table. That’s also the spot to secure free (but required) tickets to the “Physics” and “Energy” shows. Also, be prepared for a crowd. Not an overwhelming one, but certainly a healthy number of families excited about math and science.
University of Minnesota
Coffman Memorial Union
300 Washington Ave. S.E., Minneapolis
“Physics Force” shows at 10:30am & 12:30pm
“Energy & U” shows at 11:30am & 1:30pm
$6 event parking in the East River Parkway Garage. There is also a limited amount of street and metered parking around the Minneapolis campus.