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Science Family Day

2012-03-17 11:00 am - 3:00 pm


Balboa Park

(619) 239-0512


San Diego—Over two dozen Balboa Park institutions and community partners will once again put their heads together to demonstrate how much fun learning science can be at the Science Family Day. The park-wide Family Day on March 17 will kick off the weeklong San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering 2012, as various museums and cultural institutions feature science-related hands-on activities and special programs for kids of all ages. In addition, a DNA Moving Performance, featuring one of the world’s longest DNA models (created by area science students), will be paraded down the Prado at 11:15am.

Children 12 and under will be admitted free with a paid adult admission at participating museums (some restrictions apply). In addition, a free drawing at the Balboa Park Visitors Center will give away, among other items, a Family 4-Pack of Balboa Park Passports, tickets toHonk! at the San Diego Junior Theatre, and Old Town Trolley/Seal Tour tickets.

From March 17 to 24, the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering 2012 will present programs throughout the county, culminating in the free Science & Engineering EXPO DAY at PETCO Park on March 24, which will feature more than 135 hands-on exhibits and 16 stage performances. The event will take place from 10:00am until 5:00pm. For a complete schedule, visit

All Balboa Park Science Family Day activities take place on March 17 from 11:00am to 3:00pm unless otherwise noted in the schedule below. For updates, visit

Balboa Park Family Day Activities/Offers:

Children 12 and under are free with paid adult all day unless otherwise noted. General admission does not include special exhibits.

Japanese Friendship Garden—Celebrate the 6th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival in the newly expanded garden area with delicious Japanese food, arts and crafts, entertainment, and cultural demonstrations. The festival is free with paid admission to the Garden and children 12 and under receive free entry with a paid adult admission. Tickets for food and games will be sold separately.

Marston House—Free admission for children 12 and under with paid adult admission.

Mingei—In the “Science of Polymer Clay” activity, kids will blend their own polymer clay and create a unique project to take home.

Museum of Man—Kids of all ages can experience what it’s like to be a real physical anthropologist as they compare and contrast bone features using replica bones and artifacts. Learn how forensic scientists identify bones and what they tell us about people, their age and gender, and then test your own knowledge of human bones.

Museum of Photographic Arts—Walk into an oversized (9 x 7 foot) camera obscura, a device that led to the invention of photography, in front of the museum. Also, drop off a new or used, English or Spanish, children’s book in the donation bin next to the camera for the museum’s book drive.

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center—Catch an IMAX® film – BORN TO BE WILD or RESCUE – then take the IMAX Trivia Challenge. Explore BLACK HOLES, the new hands-on exhibition and new planetarium show. Visit the new Tinkering Studio to make Shrinky Dink keychains. Preschoolers are invited to make “litter bugs” in Kid City. All ages receive free gallery admission, $9.50/ea IMAX, $9.50/ea planetarium show, from 10am – 5pm.

San Diego Air & Space Museum—At the Paper Airplane Festival, learn to create different types of paper airplanes while gaining insight into the science of flight. Then enter your creations into competitions for farthest flight distance, longest air time, and flight accuracy. Be sure to stay for the group launch in front of the museum at 3:00pm! Children 12 and under are free with paid adult; adult discount coupons available on website. Does not include admission to How Things Fly.Discounted opportunities for children and adults to see How Things Flywill be available that day to festival attendees. Please ask at the admissions desk for more information.

San Diego Automotive Museum—Discover your inner car designer with coloring sheets on futuristic cars in the Children’s Art Gallery.

San Diego Floral Association—A special “Joy of Butterflies” event in the Zoro Garden includes butterfly crafts for younger kids, butterfly face painting, and a butterfly release at 1:00pm.Free admission for everyone all day.

San Diego Hall of Champions—Children 12and under FREE with paid adult.

San Diego History Center—Discover how tree rings help historians date wooden objects in a Science of Dendrochronology activity. Learn the art of counting tree rings on wood samples, and then find historical events that correspond to those ring dates; also, create a simple dendrochronology craft to take home.

San Diego Model Railroad Museum—Learn how the world’s fastest train uses the basic principles of magnets! Explore the science of gravity and magnetic fields with a Magnetic Levitating Train!

San Diego Museum of Art—In the Suminagashi: The Japanese Art of Marbling activity, learn the science and art of fluid mechanics and intermolecular bonds, which is a fancy way of saying that water and oil don’t mix! And in the Paint Splash Box: Exploring Color Theory activity, discover the results of creative color mixing and the visual impact of specific color combinations.

San Diego Natural History Museum—Become a junior botanist and learn the science of plants, sow seeds, and make flower-inspired crafts just in time for spring’s annual renewal. Also, pop in for a Ms. Frizzle performance (1:00pm) where we’ll talk plant pollination!  Children 12 and under free with paid adult does not include admission to Titanic or 3-D Films.

San Diego Youth Symphony—Listen to free open rehearsals (classical favorites) from 8:30am to 6:45pm in Room 207 of the Casa del Prado.

Spanish Village—Spanish Village artists will demonstrate how science is used to alter or enhance different art forms. There will be hands-on experiences for all ages in the art tent and clay tent. Free admission for everyone all day.

Timken Museum of Art—In “Family Storytelling: The Science of Sunlight and Sour Milk,” at 11:00am only, Harlynne Geisler weaves magical tales around the Timken’s painting A View of Haarlemand Bleaching Fields, describing the science of how the Dutch people bleached their linen with sunlight and sour milk. Ages 5 and up welcome. Admission is free, no reservations necessary.

UNA International Gift Shop—Choose one free flag from a wide variety of countries (while supplies last).

Booths outside the Visitors Center (some activities may be canceled if there is rain)

Fiesta de Reyes/Old Town Historic State Park—Participate in a craft activity for children that explores the region’s heritage.

Metropolitan Transit Systems (MTS)—Punch out cardboard bus and trolley banks, coloring books, and other fun items for kids, and pick up MTS Bus & Trolley route and schedule information.

San Diego Civic Youth Ballet—Pick up information about spring performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and about the SDCYB’s school and organization.

San Diego Natural History Museum—Get a sneak peek and play a matching game with nearly 200 of the weirdest, wildest, and all-around most fascinating skulls from the research collections . Experience real specimens, real science, and nature’s diversity in all its stunning variety.

San Diego Youth Symphony Orchestra—Activities explore sound frequencies produced by string instruments.

XEWT Channel 12,Club Infantil and El Trompo, Museo Interactivo Tijuana—TV station mascots, Tebeo and Trompobot, will present cool experiments for kids young and old.