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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Saturday, April 29
9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Children 2 to 10
(With Adult Caregiver)
Thank You to Our 2023 Sponsors
2023 Featured Exhibitors
Local exhibitors are at the heart of Kid*Vention, which is celebrating its 23rd year, and the Museum is excited to welcome 50 diverse groups to this year’s festival. Meet our 4 featured exhibitors for 2023 below as we take a sneak peek at some of the things you’ll see at the event!
Apex Clean Energy
Activity: Wind Blade Workshop
Take a spin through the world of renewable energy! Kid*Ventors will design and construct model wind turbines using simple materials and basic engineering principles, then test how long it takes their turbines to pull a toy car across the finish line. Discover how wind blades capture and convert mechanical energy into electrical energy, and use the scientific method to test, modify, and improve your turbine design.
Activity: Map It!
Maps are useful tools: They help us know where we are in relation to other places, how to get where we want to go, and how to find things. But how are maps designed? How do you take big things like cities, buildings, mountains, lakes, or trees and show them on a small map? Kid*Ventors will brainstorm and design their own map icon using Pix Brix as they learn how cartographers use symbols, shapes, and colors to convey meaning and represent places and things.
Rivanna Conservation Alliance
Activity: Exploring the Rivanna River Watershed
Make a splash! Kid*Ventors will create a watershed model as they discover how streams and rivers form, search for aquatic critters in a virtual stream, and learn how local scientists and volunteers monitor and protect water quality in our community.
Activity: Patterns & Predictions
How high can you jump? Is jump height affected by age? How many colors are in a bag of Skittles? Are there more of one color than another? Kid*Ventors will contribute to a scatter plot of ages and jump height throughout the event and create a bar graph to show the color distribution in a bag of Skittles as they learn how data visualization can be used to communicate complex information in a simple way.
- 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
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.
How much does it cost to attend Kid*Vention?
Event admission is a suggested donation of $10 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 $10 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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (434) 977-1025 x102.