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Eckerd science faculty, students heading to 5th Annual St. Pete Science Festival

Eckerd College science faculty and students will converge on Poynter Park along Bayboro Harbor in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday for the 5th Annual St. Petersburg Science Festival.

Eckerd students talking to kids at the annual St. Pete Science Festival

Eckerd will once again have the biggest tent of hands-on activities at the festival, which is free and open to the public.

The exhibits include World of the Worm: The Genetics of C Elegans; Kool Kaleidoscopes: Build Your Own; Imagining and Creating Molecules; Slime Made Simple; Mirror, Mirror on the Flask; History in a Bottle; the Sedimentary Record and the Environment; Marine Science: Touch Tank; Observe the Invisible Using Candy and Light; Nano-rainbows: See Them Shine; and Ecosystem in a Bottle.

The festival is intended to get kids excited about the wonders of science. The festival draws thousands of elementary, middle and high school students and their families.

The festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday on the waterfront campus of USF St. Petersburg. Eckerd will be in a large white tent along 3rd Street. The festival is held in conjunction with Marine Quest, which is next door on the grounds of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.

On Friday, Eckerd will also participate in a sneak peak for more than 1,700 school children. The Science Festival is held in conjunction with Marine Quest, the annual open house for the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.

For Eckerd, it is a chance to show students some of the wonders of a science education. “It’s always fun to interact with these young kids and see their excitement,’’ said Professor of Chemistry, David Grove, Ph.D., who oversees the Eckerd exhibit. “Science is hard work, with a lot of failures along the way, but it’s also a lot of fun.”

Other Eckerd faculty involved in the festival are: Marine Science and Geosciences Professor Laura Wetzel, Assistant Biology Professor Denise Flaherty, Physics Professor Anne Cox, Assistant Chemistry Professor Crystal Young-Erdos and Visiting Assistant Environmental Studies Professor Dominique Lazarre.

The collaboration with MarineQuest means more people, a bigger geographic footprint, and more science education for everyone. The two festivals together attracted close to 20,000 attendees last year.

Along with hundreds of hands-on activities, the festival will have a main stage featuring live music and entertainment by the New Generation Branches Steel Orchestra, the Dead Ichthyologists, Mad Science, MOSI Steampunks, Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, Funky49, and DrumQuest. And if you get hungry stop by one of St. Pete’s most popular food trucks and other local food vendors for a bite to eat. Find more information at or on Facebook.

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