Wondering where to take your small fry to experience STEM fun through hands-on science? Here are seven ideas of places that offer education programs for a wide range of ages, many of them ongoing, and two upcoming events you won’t want to miss!
Upcoming Events featuring STEM Fun
Thursday, August 22, 2019 • STEM Day at the State Fair • 8am-5pm • More than 30 exhibitors with hands-on activities and interactive demonstrations. Visitors can drive robots, watch a Physics Force show, try computer coding, explore bioremediation, build model rockets and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, construct a model that survives an earthquake simulator, and more.
Tuesday, August 30, 2019 • Family Fun Night: The Science of Me • 6:30pm-9pm • The Bakken • Hang out with a heart expert, buddy up with a blood scientist, or dive into digestion with leading scientists and engineers who know all about the science of YOU! Hear about what they do, try out activities, and ask questions. This program is sponsored by GSK and offered in partnership with The Franklin Institute. Children Free; Adults Regular Admission
Friday, September 6, 2019 • Star Party: Gas Giants • 8:30pm-10pm • Bell Museum • Learn more about Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune and enjoy hands-on activities with the Minnesota Astronomical Society. Galleries are not open during Star Parties. • FREE, Advance registration required. ($5 donations requested)
Saturday, September 28, 2019 • Amazing Animal Robotics Workshop • 1pm – 4pm • Snapology Discovery Center • Build a robotic zoo featuring models with working motors and sensors! Work in teams under guided instructions to build and program LEGO® models. We’ll build 2 different animals as well as their habitats! Great for ages 6-12. • $30 (Snapology is a FFTC Partner company)
8 Places for Anytime Hands-on Science with Kids
When: Every half hour, 10:30am-3:30pm, Tues-Fri & 12:30 pm-3:30pm, Sat/Sun
Details: Bring kids of any age for a fun and educational visit to the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center. Check out their remodeled raptor habitats, and get up close to bald eagles, kestrels, owls and falcons. The Raptor Center treats about 800 injured birds a year with the goal of releasing them back to the wild. Read more about taking kids to the Raptor Center here.
3537 Zenith Avenue South, Minneapolis
Cost: $10/adults, $8/students & seniors, under 4 FREE
Details: Whether you go on your own schedule or for a special program, The Bakken always has hands-on science fun to explore. Read more about it here.
9740 Grand Ave, Bloomington
When: Hours vary throughout the year
Details: Dig into the guts of machines and electronics and figure out how those gadgets work! All supplies provided.
Science Museum of Minnesota
120 W. Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul
When: Open Daily. Sun-Wed 9:30 am-5:00 pm; Thurs-Sat 9:30 an-9:00 pm
Cost: $12.95-$18.95 (additional for Omni-Theatre).
Details: Three stories of permanent and traveling science exhibits. Find find hands-on science activities to go with whatever you are studying.
Kroening Interpretive Center
4900 Mississippi Court, Minneapolis
When: Hours vary throughout the year
Cost: Free (Some special activities have a fee)
Details: Explore on your own or in a special activity. Find this are more ideas for nature play here.
The Bell Museum of Natural History
2088 Larpenteur Avenue West, Saint Paul, MN, USA
When: Daily 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Cost: Ages 21-64: $12; 65+: $10; 3-21 $9; Under 3: Free
Details: The newly re-built and updated Bell Museum re-opened in the summer of 2018 and has brought back its popular planetarium along with natural history exhibits.
Hands-On Science At Home
For more fun hands-on science activities, Gianna has found some great activities you can try at home:
More to Look Forward to Throughout the Year!
Invent it. Build it.
Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Ave S., Minneapolis, MN 55403
When: Look for this event in October.
The Society of Women Engineers 9th annual Invent it. Build it. event is an experience designed to encourage middle school and high school girls to choose a career in engineering. Registration Required.
- Physics Force Show. Physicists demonstrate their science with crazy stunts. (State Fair).
- Cool Chemistry. For girls in grades 7-8 features interactive workshops, chemistry “tricks,” and new skills. (TBA Spring)
- Public Lectures—College of Science and Engineering. For grades 9-12. Public lectures on scientific discoveries (November 2019)
- Public Energy and U Show For grades 3-8. An interactive show incorporating explosions, flames, flying pop bottles, music, and dancing and teach thermodynamics, world energy use, and energy challenges. (Dates for the January 2020 shows are Jan. 9 & 10, and Jan. 13-17. Shows will be at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Dates for the May 2020 shows May 18-22..)
- Public telescope viewings. All ages. Presentation followed by outdoor observing. (Fridays during the Spring and Fall Semester!)
- Robot show. All ages. Public show featuring robots built by more than 200 engineering students (Next show: December 2019)
- Universe in the Park (Weekends all summer)