Annual Family Science Festival

Strap on your goggles and slip into your lab coat for Kid*Vention, the Virginia Discovery Museum’s annual celebration of everything science! Every spring, this community event inspires children to explore the world around them with all their senses. Meet dozens of local exhibitors as you investigate biology, chemistry, environmental science, engineering, physics, zoology, and more through fun, hands-on demonstrations, experiments, and games.

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2024 Event

Saturday, April 27
9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
(Ting Pavilion)

Suggested Event Parking


Children 2 to 10
(With Adult Caregiver)

General Event Policies


$15 Donation
(Per Family)

Frequently Asked Questions

Thank You to Our 2024 Sponsors

2024 Featured Exhibitors

Local exhibitors are at the heart of Kid*Vention, which is celebrating its 24th year, and the Museum is excited to welcome 50 diverse groups to this year’s festival. Meet our 5 featured exhibitors for 2024 below as we take a sneak peek at some of the things you’ll see at the event!

Blue Ridge Boost

Activity: Coding & Robotics

Ready, set … robots! Kid*Ventors will learn the basics of building and coding different ’bots, including Lego WeDo, Lego SPIKE, VEX 123, VEX GO, VEX IQ, and Sphero BOLT.


Activity: Label Detectives

Can you crack the case and find the healthy snack? Kid*Ventors will identify the sugar content and artificial ingredients found in popular cereals as they learn to read nutritional labels and discover what’s good (and not so good) for our bodies.


Activity: Where Is It Now?

Can you foresee the future? Not quite, but sometimes we can use special tools to help us make an educated guess! Kid*Ventors will use a motion model to help them understand how an object is currently moving and predict where it will end up on a map, then create their own Pix Brix map icon to take home as they learn how cartographers use symbols, shapes, and colors to convey meaning and represent places and things.

Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline

Activity: Popsicle-Stick Catapults

Ready, aim … launch! Kid*Ventors will build their own catapults using simple household items like popsicle sticks, rubber bands, and cotton balls as they learn about a simple machine called a “lever”, distinguish between potential and kinetic energy, and explore Newton’s laws of motion.

Rivanna Conservation Alliance

Activity: Exploring the Rivanna River Watershed

Kid*Ventors will create paper watershed models and simulate a rainstorm as they learn about runoff; search for aquatic critters in a simulated stream as they discover different Rivanna River species; and discover how local scientists and volunteers monitor, protect, and improve stream and river health in our area through conservation and restoration efforts.

General Policies

Event Participants
  • Event participants with any of these symptoms are asked to refrain from attending Kid*Vention.
  • Kid*Vention will take place outdoors at the Ting Pavilion, and masking is optional for this event.
  • All event participants must Check-In before participating in any activities.

Check-In & Check-Out
  • 9:30 a.m.: Event Starts
    • Although activities start at 9:30 a.m., event participants may arrive and check in anytime during the event.
    • Check-In takes place at the Ting Pavilion’s main entrance.
    • Kid*Vention will take place rain or shine.
  • 9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.: Festival Activities, Experiments & Games
  • 1:00-1:10 p.m.: Event Ends
    • Exhibitor tables close. The Virginia Discovery Museum, located just a short walk down the pedestrian mall from the Ting Pavilion, will be open until 5:00 p.m. for playtime. Any event participants who visit the Museum are asked to pay general admission.

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID Concerns

Are masks required at Kid*Vention?

Kid*Vention will take place outdoors at the Ting Pavilion, and masks are encouraged but optional for all event participants.

How many people are expected to attend Kid*Vention?

Kid*Vention typically draws about 1,000 visitors throughout the day in addition to VDM staff, exhibitors, and event volunteers.

Event Admission

How much does it cost to attend Kid*Vention?

Event admission is a suggested donation of $15 per family. All donations directly support the Virginia Discovery Museum, which is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, including exhibit creation and maintenance, educational programs, and VDM’s Sponsored Admission Program.

Does my Virginia Discovery Museum membership grant me free admission to Kid*Vention?

No. Membership only applies to general admission visits to the Museum but does not include free admission to annual events hosted by the Museum.

Do I need to purchase or reserve tickets in advance?

No. Kid*Vention takes place outdoors at the Ting Pavilion, and there is no maximum capacity for the event. Families are welcome to show up anytime during the event from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Does my $15 entry donation include free admission to the Virginia Discovery Museum?

No. Due to limited capacity inside the Virginia Discovery Museum, we are not able to offer free admission to Kid*Vention attendees. Event participants are still welcome to visit the Museum, but they are asked to pay general admission.

Parking & Directions

Where can I park for Kid*Vention?

VDM validates parking for Kid*Vention participants at the Market Street Garage and Water Street Garage. Both locations provide the first hour of parking for free, and event attendees receive an additional hour of free parking – for a total of two hours – when they request a validation ticket at VDM’s front desk. Ting Pavilion, where Kid*Vention takes place, is also located next to the Downtown Transit Station, and Charlottesville Area Transit offers a Free Trolly that stops at the station as it travels through Downtown and the University of Virginia. Click to learn more about parking downtown or more about public bus routes and fares.

Click the icon in the upper left corner for map legend and details.

Contact Us

Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? To learn more about VDM’s Kid*Vention family science festival, contact Director of Operations Lindsay Jones at or (434) 977-1025 x102.