Wisconsin Science Festival

wiscifestWisconsin Science Festival
Celebrate curiosity and creativity!

Science festivals can introduce you to people, places and programs you can tap into year-round to discover how science is changing the way we look at and lead our lives.
Wisconsin Science Fest includes activities for all ages and interests and features nearly 250 events at more thaan 90 venues in over 30 communities across the state during October 20-23, 2016.

Free! Some activities may have a nominal charge for materials or meals, and some partner locations charge their regular admission fees.

What can you do at the festival? All kinds of fun stuff! From games to gadgets, robots to researchers, storytelling to stargazing, the festival has something for everyone.


Check out the variety of events taking place at locations throughout Wisconsin at the 2016 festival. Use the filters to find events that match your interests, are in a city near you, take place on the day you plan to attend the festival and more. Or Download the 2016 program guide in PDF form.


Here are a few highlights for #WiSciFest 2016:

Snapshot Wisconsin is a partnership to monitor wildlife year-round, using a statewide network of trail cameras. The project is a great way to get students outdoors and learn about local wildlife!  This workshop provides educators with all the information and equipment needed to deploy and monitor a trail camera, as well as resources to help teachers use Snapshot Wisconsin in the classroom.

The Artistry of Innovation: WARF Patent Drawings Through Time With WARF’s help, hundreds of professors, researchers and students have transformed their discoveries, napkin sketches and prototypes into real-world innovations. These patents, and thousands like them, contain drawings or figures to illustrate the invention. This exhibition shares some of the visual gems buried in the WARF patent collection and introduces a breathtaking array of inventions. In one sweep, visitors will be exposed to nine decades of genius.

UW–Madison Geology Museum
Explore the geology museum and take a peek into Wisconsin’s deep history! On your visit you can touch rocks from a time when there were volcanoes in Wisconsin; see corals, jellyfish and other sea creatures that used to live and swim where we now walk; and stand under the tusks of a mastodon while imagining yourself in the ice age. Also on display are rocks and minerals that glow, a model of a Wisconsin cave, dinosaurs and meteorites. The mineral, rock and fossil collections have the power to educate and inspire visitors of all ages. See for yourself!

Birds in Art 2016
Since 1976, the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum has organized “Birds in Art,” the museum’s internationally renowned, flagship exhibition. The 41st annual fall exhibition will be on view September 10 through November 27 and features fresh interpretations of avian marvels by 112 worldwide artists, including 2016 Master Artist Karen Bondarchuk.

Building with Biology
Celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Madison Science Museum! Daily hands-on activities will allow you to get messy and ask real scientists your questions about synthetic biology. Become a “Bio Bistro” in a card-based personal choice activity, where you decide what synthetic biology-based food products you would or would not eat.
Or, practice creative engineering by first designing a superhero to rescue a person falling from a tall building. Then, design a single-celled organism to clean up an oil spill. See how designing a superhero is similar to or different from designing a microorganism. And much, much more!


Discovery Expo 
features more than 20 interactive hands-on stations with science, technology, engineering, arts and math activities that you can explore at your own pace, as well as other UW–Madison activities. See some of the groups and organizations that will be at the Discovery Expo


D.C. Smith Greenhouse
Take a self-guided tour through D.C. Smith Greenhouse and explore the fascinating world of plan…

Flight Simulation Demonstrations 
Experience the thrill of flight in the UW Flight Simulation Laboratory! Guests of all ages are welcome to try their hand at flying both rotary-wing and fixed wing aircraft simulators, including an FAA-approved, motion simulator! Walk-in groups are welcome. This event is located in room 3014 of the Mechanical Engineering Building (Flight Laboratory). Visit website

Help share the excitement about the 2016 science festival, happening on October 20-23. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and tag events you’d like to share with #WiSciFest.

“I took my daughters to the festival on the first day. They had so much fun we went back the next day, and the next day, and the next. My favorite moment was hearing my daughter sing out, “Yay! More science!” — A 2014 Wisconsin Science Festival attendee

Science Arcade is a hands-on science event that connects all ages to the science, technology, engineering, math and, of course, the fun behind games! The evening will showcase vintage arcade games, virtual reality with the Living Environments Laboratory’s Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, augmented reality, DIY cardboard games, multiplayer games, place-based games, board games and so much more! 
This event is family-friendly and open to the public, but best of all, it’s FREE!  Fri, October 21: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
UW–Madison Discovery Building, Madison WI

Science Storytellers Jam!
An evening of science storytelling supported by Nerd Nite Madison and Moth storytelling. The stories will intertwine science with more personal experiences and will definitely prove to be both educational and entertaining. Expect to laugh, cheer and learn! The event will feature a mix of presentations by both Nerd Nite all-stars and local science storytellers providing stories about journeys through their field from campus researchers. And while you’re at this laid-back event, we encourage you to participate by asking questions and submitting ideas. Attendance at this event is free. A cash bar will be available throughout the night.
Learn more about Nerd Nite Madison and The Moth in Madison.
Sat, October 22: 8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
UW–Madison Discovery Building, Madison WI


Big Ideas for Busy People – Madison
Back by popular demand for a third year at the Wisconsin Science Festival, Big Ideas for Busy People is a one-of-a-kind event that is also a centerpiece of the Cambridge (MA) Science Festival. Featuring five of the best and brightest in their respective fields, the event includes five minute talks by each with five minutes of Q&A. To keep the event moving, anyone going over five minutes will be gonged. Join us for the fun and hear from this year’s lineup of world-renowned speakers.
Sat, October 22: 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
UW–Madison Discovery Building, Madison WI


Follow Wisconsin Science Festival @WiSciFest

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The mission of the Wisconsin Science Festival is to inspire and engage us all in the enterprise of science and discovery; to cultivate curiosity and communicate the power of knowledge and creativity to change our world view; to promote innovation and to cultivate the next generation of global citizens. The Wisconsin Science Festival is presented by a growing coalition of the science and arts community from across Wisconsin.

Learn more about science festivals all across the country at sciencefestivals.org.

The Wisconsin Science Festival is made possible without taxpayer dollars due to private funding and corporate support.


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