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Wee Wonk Fest

Fun science and a robotic dinosaur.


Every so often a new festival comes along that clearly should have happened before. And it sticks. We’re predicting that scenario for the first World Science Festival, a celebration of science for science’s sake that is “geared toward wonks and embraces everyday folks,” says Robin Reardon, the festival’s managing director. Lovingly overprogrammed, the four-day extravaganza is the brainchild of physicist Brian Greene and journalist-producer Tracy Day. On May 31, most of the family-centric fun takes place around Washington Square Park, which Reardon says will be “a mini-museum of science and technology, full of interactive science demos, performances, and exhibits.” Expect music, dance, theater, robotics demos, live science experiments (cow-eye dissection, anyone?), and Disney’s Lucky, a nine-foot-tall and twelve-foot-long animatronic dinosaur who signs autographs. The Liberty Science Center, the New York Hall of Science, and the American Museum of Natural History will stage exhibits and experiments. For the younger set, Scholastic is sending Ms. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus. Nearby auditoriums will host programs targeted at 8-to-13-year-olds, a key demographic, according to Reardon: “That’s when we lose them. Up until age 8, science is everyone’s favorite subject, and then something happens. We want to keep them excited and keep that sense of curiosity, imagination, and discovery.” They’ll do this with Brain Tricks (a magician and a neuroscientist team up), a Mathemagician (a human calculator performs mathematical gymnastics), and more. It’s a nonstop day. Walk away in awe. Repeat next year.

5/31, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Washington Square Park (212-280-1602 or; free for outdoor festival; price varies for indoor programs.


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