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Science Festival Trail Brings Fun and Learning for Father’s Day


Des Moines, IA – Non-profit Science Iowa’s Science Festival Trail returns to West Des Moines’ Raccoon River Park, 2500 Grand Avenue, on Father’s Day, June 18, from 1-4 p.m. The free, family-friendly event will host stations designed to help Iowans have fun while learning about science.

Science- and environmental-related organizations will be on hand at the park, giving families opportunities to learn about science literacy, conservation and volunteerism. Several local FIRST robotics competition teams also will be there to demonstrate their roving devices.

Julie Meachen, Des Moines University anatomy professor, will speak about her quest for  Ice-Age fossils. She leads research into the Natural Trap Cave, a Wyoming pit cave where paleontologists are gathering fossils of ancient animals.

Another highlight: live music, with vocalist Aviana Gedler and a jazz ensemble.

Science Iowa will provide free popcorn, hot dogs and bottled water. Ice Cream purveyor the Outside Scoop will be on hand. Kids can try a take-home craft and STEM activities while gathering passport stamps to earn a bag of fun gifts and coupons.

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This is the third time Science Iowa, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group advocating for science in the public interest, publicly supported research and evidence-based policy, has staged the Science Festival Trail.

“The festival is a celebration of science,” said Science Iowa Treasurer Ruth Henderson, a longtime West Des Moines science teacher. “Learning is more fun and meaningful when it’s interactive. Kids will love the robotics demonstrations, STEM and craft activities, and earning a gift bag.”

More than a dozen organizations are expected to participate in the Science Festival Trail, including the Blank Park Zoo, Heartland Rewilding, The Rain Campaign, Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge and many more. A complete list is below.

Science Festival Trail 2023

Participating organizations as of April 28, 2023

  • Blank Park Zoo
  • Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination, University of Iowa
  • Conservation Districts of Iowa
  • Heartland Rewilding
  • Iowa Immunizes
  • Iowa Rivers Revival
  • Polk County Conservation
  • Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
  • The Rain Campaign
  • Trees Forever

FIRST Robotics teams:
Circuit Breakers
Disco Duckbots
Deus Ex Machina
Quad Six

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