Annual festival celebrates STEM in San Diego

Posted at 5:59 AM, Mar 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-31 11:49:53-04

The worlds of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) make a jump out of classroom textbooks and office buildings into an interactive playground at the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering, which runs from March 5-13 at various locations around the county.

For the first time in the event’s eight years, EXPO Day is the official “kick-off” for festival week, where adults, kids and teens can anticipate an exciting start to festivities. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 5, PETCO Park transforms into community-wide science fair where visitors are encouraged to get hands-on and ask questions. EXPO Day admission is free.



More than 130 businesses, corporations and organizations will feature demonstrations, experiments and presentations created to generate excitement in STEM initiatives for budding pre-school through grade 12 science lovers. Previous years’ activities include:

  • Exploring chemistry by building a 3-D molecule models

  • Learning about genetics through creating a DNA helix with pool noodles, then finding similarities and differences between the DNA of two different species.

  • Studying different types of magnets, discussing how they work and interact with not only other objects, but with one another.

  • Observing how electrical energy can be contained and released with enough force to launch projectiles (including soda cans) into the air at great speeds and heights.

  • Learning to memorize multiplication facts with music, including rap.

  • Inviting students to build small-scale buildings, cities to help understand the concepts of engineering.

Festival debuts new 21+ Science Series

The San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering isn’t just for the younger set. For 2016, organizers present the 21+ Adult Science Series, a collection of events for those looking for more adult entertainment, but still have a “kid at heart” interest in science and technology.

What can the older science and technology fan expect from the series? Sessions include:

  • Learn about “beer-ology” at the Think, Drink, Science at Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits, 9045 Carroll Way from 6-9 p.m., Thursday, March 3. Presenters discuss the science behind the brewing process and guests have an opportunity to enjoy Ballast Point beers and appetizers.

  • A sky watching and “Cosmos” viewing party. Wavelength Brewing opens its doors from 6-9 p.m. on Sunday, March 6 for a screening of episode 4, “A Sky Full of Ghosts” of the “Cosmos: A Space Odyssey” TV series. Then, the party shifts to the real night sky as a telescope live feed is shown and an astronomer discusses current space news.

  • A combined progressive art show, wine tasting and science presentation makes up the “Brushes and Beakers” event from 7-9 p.m. along Prospect Street. Participants will enjoy touring four art galleries, sipping wine and chatting with local scientists, neuroscience, marine biology and cell biology.

  • On Friday, March 11 from 6:30-9:30 p.m., adults can enjoy the Fleet Night of Science, a quarterly after-hours event for “chic geeks” ages 21 and over. You get the science center all to yourself (no kids allowed!) to explore exhibits, sip cocktails, enjoy edibles, listen to music and get your geek on with science experiments, clever chats and delightfully nerdy experiences. You might learn the physics of beer pong (while playing the game, of course) or ask an astronomer your burning questions about Mars. You could enjoy a science comedy show or design a stomp rocket. Your ticket gives you access to all of the Fleet's exhibits and the evening's science-infused fun. Food and beverages are available for purchase, and proceeds support the Fleet's nonprofit mission of inspiring science learning. For more information, visit

A full schedule of the 21+ Science Series can be found on the festival’s official website.

Festival organizers expect more than 75,000 kids, parents, teachers, industry leaders and community members to attend the nine-day event, which strives to ensure the San Diego community’s growth potential and quality of life by sparking excitement in local youth for science, technology, engineering and math topics and careers. Most events are free or low-cost. For the entire 2016 schedule to plan your EXPO Day and Festival Week activities, visit