The annual festival will also focus on diversity in STEM fields, while MarineQuest will celebrate 25th anniversary.
One of more than 150 hands-on, interactive activities that will be at the festival this year. Photo by Lia Nydes.
(Oct. 10, 2019) – The St. Petersburg Science Festival and MarineQuest will offer thousands of people throughout Tampa Bay a chance to be inspired, engage their curiosity and get involved with science and art on Saturday, October 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Scientists, environmental organizations, cultural institutions and the public will once again transform the waterfront of USF St. Petersburg and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute into an immersive experience and hands-on experiment under the sun.
The festival has become a fixture in the community and a must-see event for families around the region. This is the 9th annual St. Petersburg Science Festival, while MarineQuest will celebrate its 25th anniversary. As always, both events are free and open to the public.
“With more than 150 hands-on, interactive science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) activities, we hope to demonstrate how all these subjects are so relevant in our everyday lives.” said E. Howard Rutherford, St. Petersburg Science Festival Co-Chair. “The excitement is contagious when you see the ‘aha’ look on a participant’s face when they ‘get it.’”
Attendees will enjoy the thrill of discovery via energetic activities and experiments representing STEAM fields. This year exhibits come from such institutions such as the Florida Aquarium, the Dali Museum, USF College of Marine Science and many, many more. Participants can interact with a 360-degree multi-touch, interactive system from NASA dubbed the “PufferSphere,” explore what it’s like to be in an extreme storm at the Bay News 9 hurricane simulator, engage with robotics at USF St. Petersburg’s STEM INQ lab and check out a glass-blowing demonstration.
A unique part of this year’s festival is the exhibit, “This is what a scientist looks like,” a celebration of diversity, and diverse careers, in STEAM fields. This program will feature young professionals from the local community recounting their journey of how they got interested and pursued a career in science.
“Career opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math are continuing to increase, but youth in our community may have a certain perspective of who works in those fields that causes them to have difficulty seeing these careers as viable options,” said Alison Barlow, director of St. Petersburg’s Innovation District. “In reality, today’s STEM professionals are young, possessing diverse backgrounds and often working outdoors. It is imperative that we introduce children to STEM opportunities and provide access to explore possible careers.”
Photo by Lia Nydes.
More than 800 school children will be treated to a sneak peek of the St. Petersburg Science Festival during organized school trips on Friday, October 18. The growing interest in STEAM subjects and career opportunities for students and in the community was a major reason for establishing the Festival.
The joint event with MarineQuest provides visitors a larger geographic footprint with more activities and exploration for everyone. The two festivals together attract between 15,000-20,000 attendees each year.
“This year marks the 25th anniversary of MarineQuest. We look forward to continue promoting science with the St. Petersburg Science Festival during this educational community event,” said Gil McRae, Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.
Along with more than 100 hands-on activities, a festival stage will feature live music, shows and interactive entertainment throughout the day. Entertainers include Mad Science, Funky Fresh 49, the Joe Milligan Project and more. If you get hungry, stop by some of St. Pete’s most popular food trucks and other local food vendors for a bite to eat.
Leading up to and after the Festival, several key public events will get the community geared up for science. On October 15, a Coastal High Hazard Stakeholder Meeting is hosted by the City of St. Petersburg; on October 16, Taste of Science: What’s New in St. Pete Science takes place at Green Bench Brewery; on October 20, a SciCafe kicks off at the Dali Museum; and on October 22, Nerd Night “Like a Ted Talk with Beer” comes to the Iberian Rooster.
For more information, visit www.stpetescifest.org.
This year’s Festival sponsors include:
- USF St. Petersburg
- City of St. Petersburg
- NOAA Fisheries
- National Marine Sanctuary Foundation
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
- USF College of Marine Science
- Duke Energy
- National Science Foundation
- Science Festival Alliance
- Eckerd College
- Albert Whitted Airport Preservation Society
- Mad Science of Greater Tampa Bay
- St. Petersburg College
- St. Petersburg Innovation District
- Pinellas County School Board
- Visit St. Petersburg Clearwater
- Jessie Peter Design
- USFSP Environmental Science & Sustainability Club
- Space Machine & Engineering Corp.
- Fearless Mobile Climbing
- Speak Up for Blue Podcast
- Marine Conservation Happy Hour
- Absolutely Smashing Events and Consulting
- Ocean Conservancy
- Tampa Bay Times
- Spectrum/Bay News 9
- Clear Channel Outdoor
WUSF Public Media – WUSF 89.7 | By Alysia Cruz