Philadelphia Science Festival: The best events to check out in 2018

There’s no better time to pull out that lab coat and put on your safety goggles than at the annual Philadelphia Science Festival, sweeping the city with nine days (April 20-28) of scientifically proven fun. More than 80 events are set to unfold, meaning there are plenty of options from which to choose, lab attire optional.

From stargazing parties to family-friendly “be a doctor!” teddy bear clinics to beer-filled “fizzics” classes, we’ve outlined some of the highlights below, including the not-to-be-missed Science Carnival on the festival’s final day — this year back at its original location on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Tickets and a full itinerary of events can be found online at

Take part in a celebration of the cosmos at one of 20-plus locations spread out across the area.

Citywide Star Party

All eyes will turn to the sky on Friday, April 20. Choose from one of more than 20 locations to partake in the cosmos celebration. Local astronomers will bring out telescopes for the free event, inviting you to contemplate the constellations once the sun goes down. The various events start as early as 6:30 p.m. and run as late as 10:30 p.m.

Be a Scientist! events

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a geologist? Or maybe a paleontologist? Or a sound engineer, or a wildlife biologist? Explore all of these science-based professions and more during the festival’s “Be a Scientist!” day on April 22. Experts at 21 locations will chat about their jobs. Families with little ones may want to check out Jefferson Health’s “Be a Doctor! Teddy Bear Clinics” unfolding from 1 to 3 p.m. in Torresdale, Abington, and Washington Township, where children can experience what it’s like to be a doctor or nurse with teddy bear in hand.

Camera icon Photo J Fusco for GPTMC
Learn about the science of beer, distilling, and other beverages and foods during an array of delicious festival events.

Food and Drink Events

Dive into delicious scientific discoveries during an array of food and drink events taking place during the festival. These include a Beer Brunch “Fizzics” Class with Yards Brewery (11:30 a.m. April 22) that explores the fundamentals of foam, a Future of Food discussion at Drexel University (6 p.m. April 23), a science-infused bar crawl across Fishtown (2 to 5 p.m. April 22), an after-hours event at Reading Terminal Market featuring food science demos and 20 interactive activities (7 to 10 p.m. April 26), and a handful of other appetizing options.

Science in the National Park

Take in some fresh air as well as an educational, history-meets-science lesson on April 26 at the Independence National Historical Park, where the festival is teaming up with 20-plus partners for a free event that runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Activities and demos will be led by the Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia Zoo, National Constitution Center, 500 Women Scientists, Riverbend Environmental Education Center, The Clay Studio, Bartram’s Garden, and other organizations.

On April 28, the Science Carnival takes over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for a free and gigantic, all-day street festival.

Science Carnival on the Parkway

On its final day, the festival culminates in a gigantic Science Carnival, taking over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway April 28 for a free, outdoor celebration full of games, hands-on science experiments, and live performances. Last year’s carnival attracted more than 50,000 attendees. This year’s bash is expected to be bigger, with more than 150 sponsors helping to pack the day with all sorts of entertainment. Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Philadelphia Science Festival: April 20-28, locations vary per event, prices vary per event but many are free, 215-448-1200,