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Kid*Vention uses fun and experiments to ignite passion for science

For every scientific discipline from astronomy to zoology, there’s someone who got caught up in wonder at an early age and never looked back. The 23rd annual Kid*Vention, the Virginia Discovery Museum’s science festival and celebration, aims to bring the fun and fascination of science to Charlottesville children.

The festival, geared toward children ages 2 to 10 and their families, is set for 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Ting Pavilion, near the museum at the east end of the Downtown Mall. Organizers hope to see attendance approach pre-pandemic levels of about 1,000 visitors, all savoring the marvels of science in its many forms.

"Last year, we had kids dancing with robots," said Lindsay Jones, the museum’s director of operations. "This event is just so much fun. It’s exciting to see the children’s faces light up, and just to see that look of inspiration."

Air power will be a featured interest in this year’s festival, giving young scientists a chance to build windmills and see how they work. Charlottesville Astronomical Society members also will be on hand with telescopes to train on limitless skies, weather permitting. During the rain-or-shine event, "we’re going to be covering the entire Pavilion" with options, Jones said.

Want to learn more about the Rivanna River, clean energy or wildlife? Hope to launch a rocket, conserve water or find out how acid affects people’s teeth? Fifty exhibitors will be on hand to present hands-on experiments, demonstrations, games and activities in six different categories: chemistry; the environment; physics; engineering; the human body; and robotics.

"We get a lot of kids who are excited about robotics and coding," Jones said. "If it’s a sunny day, they’ll get to look through a telescope."

Kids who already have a passion for animals, volcanoes and other scientific topics will enjoy themselves, but there’s always room for discovering something completely new. The scientific specialty your child doesn’t yet know he or she loves is out there, too.

"We want everyone to come to this event and see what they connect with," Jones said.

Young visitors aren’t the only ones who come away excited about science. "Each year, even the returning exhibitors bring something new," Jones said.

A suggested donation of $10 per family will help support the museum’s Sponsored Admission Program and educational programming, but don’t let it keep you from attending. Older siblings and friends always are welcome. Parking will be available in the Market Street Parking Garage. For details, go to


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