Get your geek on at the Philadelphia Science Festival

There’s nothing nerdy about the annual Philadelphia Science Festival, kicking off Friday and traveling to museums, libraries, bars, breweries, restaurants, the ballpark and the Parkway for nine days.

“Philadelphia really is a science city,” says Frederic Bertley, senior vice president of science and education at The Franklin Institute, the main organizer of the fest. “The Franklin Institute and its collaborators created this festival to illuminate the wonders of science. You can’t get up in the morning and get through the day without being impacted by science — so let’s make science accessible.”

Bertley says the festival is geared to anyone of any age: “From the womb to the tomb.” (The tomb part also comes in at a cemetery in North Philly, where an astronomer will discuss how to look at the night sky.)

Bertley told us about three major events not to miss. For the full lineup, go to

Science After Hours 8-Bit Night

Friday, April 24, 7 to 10 p.m.,The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St.,$15 non-members/$10 members

“This is our kick off, here at the mothership,” Bertley says. The theme is classic video games: play Galaga on the planetarium dome, learn the science behind Oregon Trail and Frogger, and dissect an arcade machine — all while sipping the official Yards Brewing Company’s Science Festival beer, Parallel Brewniverse.

Discovery Day

Saturday, April 25, from 10 a.m.,Various locations,Free

Discover science outdoors at spots all over the city, including Clark Park and the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. We’re particularly intrigued by Mess Fest at Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse, which will have Alka Seltzer rockets, a Mentos and Coke experiment, a massive soap monster and slime-making.

Science Carnival

Saturday, May 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,Ben Franklin Parkway

The Parkway will be lined with over a 100 “tents and kiosks doing everything from computers, to infomatics, to robotics, to the science of food — you name it, everything is there,” Bertley says. He left out the zoo animals, recreated forensic crime scene and helicopter.

Bertley also promises an “explosive finale” — but says you’ll have to show up to see what it is.

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