View Full Version : 2014 STEM expo in DC

01-09-2014, 12:15 AM
For those who are within commuting distance of D.C., here's a link to the STEM Expo in April:

USA Science and Engineering Festival - America's Largest STEM Education Event (http://www.usasciencefestival.org/)

We've registered. Anyone else going??

01-09-2014, 12:30 AM
We've been both other times. The Friday preview is excellent. It's worth the trip if you're with a couple hours drive, definitely.

01-21-2014, 08:49 PM
WOW! This looks awesome. We live in NY a good 7-8 hour drive from DC but might be worth it! Would this be good for my 8 year old's or would it be over there heads?

01-21-2014, 09:15 PM
I don't know personally, but we're going anyway. It gets me off the shore. :p Our kid is 8, but I figure it's like everything else...she won't understand or appreciate all of it, but it will register with her on some level that we can build off of later. Oh, and it gets me off the shore.

01-21-2014, 09:18 PM
No, there's a huge amount of stuff for kids.

01-21-2014, 09:20 PM
Hmmm. Not sure if its enough to overcome my inertia.

01-21-2014, 09:24 PM
2 hour drive each way. What makes the friday better than other days?

01-21-2014, 09:27 PM
Sounds good! I did just look at hotel prices and will need to convince my hubby that it will be worth $200 a night plus parking cost!

01-21-2014, 09:40 PM
I think we will go. I hope someone will remind me a little closer to the date. I would love to meet up with others there.

01-21-2014, 09:44 PM
Sounds good! I did just look at hotel prices and will need to convince my hubby that it will be worth $200 a night plus parking cost!

If you're willing to forego the downtown hotel experience and rough it a bit, there's a decent Red Roof near BWI (airport) that we've gotten for $65. The Metro station isn't too far from there...maybe a 5-10 minute drive. IF you go on a Sat. or Sun. parking's free at the Metro station. ;)

01-21-2014, 10:34 PM
I'm pretty sure the closest Metro to BWI is more than a 10 minute drive. No clue how far exactly though, but it would be the end of the Red line (ETA: I looked it up, and I was right about longer - to New Carrollton (orange line) it's 30 minutes, more in traffic - but since you would want the Green line for the Convention Center anyway, you could also do Greenbelt (better parking anyway), also 30 minutes from BWI, also more in traffic... the ride is longish, but maybe not so bad, but being a Green line afficionado, at least you wouldn't be on the Red line...) But maybe you mean the commuter train, Carolyn? I've taken the train to BWI several times.

But I agree that staying out in the burbs is maybe a better deal. Still, I have no clue where. Sometimes people ask me this stuff and heck if I know. I have a house.

I can't say 100% for sure, but because you have to pre-register for Friday, I think the crowds will be much better. That's certainly how it seemed two years ago (it's an every other year event - the first year they had it, it wasn't at the Convention Center, but on the Mall and very different...). It was really packed around 10ish and all the special things filled up, but by the time we left near the end of the day, the place was comparatively empty, no wait to do things or talk to people.

To give people an idea of what it was like (and I assume it will be quite similar this go around), the Convention Hall is ENORMOUS. There were tables everywhere from universities, museums, science magazines, scientific organizations, science education organizations, etc. They almost all had hands on activities going on. There were real scientists and grad students and so forth there to talk to you and discuss and guide. There was also a stage with lectures, performances, etc. There were people in costume as famous scientists walking around that you could interact with (we met Ben Franklin). Some activities my kids did included: worked with their friends and built a windmill to see what design would generate the most electricity, found preserved organisms like plants embedded in ice from Alaska from thousands of years ago, experimented with candy, played around to make a design for a submersible, helped dissect a giant squid, played with a giant ball contraption that you could add onto, got to touch a ton of fossils, and did a million other things I can't even remember anymore. We were there from when it opened until almost when they closed up and we didn't do everything, definitely.

01-22-2014, 01:06 AM
My faux pas. We just call it the Metro because we follow the Metro signs going to the Metro station and get on the big thing that has Metro written on the side...but it probably is a commuter train given that it's New Carrollton. DH is usually in charge of that stuff anyway. I drive, he navigates. We drove into DC once and found out how expensive it is to park and get around. Oy. If we're doing the Nat'l Mall, it's just easier to grab the Metro thingy and go straight there. I saw that the convention center was several blocks away...definitely could walk it, cab it, or grab another Metro. IF I was sitting on a spare $300, though, I'd definitely opt to stay downtown. :o

I've pre-registered for both Fri. and Sat. I'm not sure yet if we're going both days. I figure if the thing sucks, we can always head to the Nat'l Mall and look for something we haven't done yet. I'd still love to make it to the Nat'l Archives.

01-22-2014, 03:03 AM
And many times I envy your solitude. :)

01-22-2014, 08:49 AM
I mentioned it to Raven, and he said he wasnt sure he'd like it. then I said its a 2 hour drive each way, and he said NO! lol. 4 hours of driving really is too much for us.

01-22-2014, 10:28 AM
Thanks for posting this, just pre-registered for the weekend. How did you handle the Friday pre-registration (the school/school district stuff?)

01-22-2014, 01:38 PM
it had an option for homeschool

01-22-2014, 01:47 PM
Ah, OK, thanks. I didn't scroll far enough down the page....

01-22-2014, 01:47 PM
Part of me is tempted; we've been looking for an excuse to get back to DC. But it sounds too big and overwhelming for us I think. DS sort of shuts down if there's too much going on, and the hands on stuff wouldn't interest him. The career options and universities would, though.

01-22-2014, 02:14 PM
Since the event itself is free, I'm not too concerned if we don't stay at the convention center the entire day. We'll stay until DD's had enough. If it's early enough, we'll most likely walk the neighborhoods and maybe stroll back toward the museums on the mall. There is lots to do elsewhere if things get overwhelming inside the expo. We just don't get anything remotely like this out here...oh, and it's free. :) And it's off the shore. Civilization. Sometimes I miss it. :p

01-22-2014, 05:48 PM
It is big and overwhelming. But also good. My kids also shut down after too much big and overwhelming, but they have a thrive time for it as well, if that makes sense. They can fill their cups for awhile. Two days would be too much though, I'm sure.

If anyone is thinking to themselves, gee, I wish we could do a big event like this in DC but we just can't make this work, a totally different big event that's worth visiting for is the National Book Festival in the fall, which is also moving off the Mall to the Convention Center next year. It's always an amazing affair and we've had some great experiences seeing writers, meeting writers, getting books signed, etc. Of course, there's also the ubiquitous and declining in value Folklife Festival in the summer. But I don't think I'd ever recommend anyone visit for that.

01-22-2014, 06:01 PM
We've been talking about trying to make a DC trip work for this spring. We might try to go for this.

01-23-2014, 07:49 PM
My 8yo would be thrilled by this. I suppose since my husband works nearby we'll take advantage of his parking spot and surprise the boy. Spring is a fantastic time to be in DC, anyway.

04-04-2014, 10:47 AM
Bumping the thread because I got my event confirmation today! Looking forward to getting off this peninsula and into civilization. :D

Not positive, but I think folks can still pre-register for the expo. Lots to see and do!

04-04-2014, 03:33 PM
No, the Friday sneak peek is full - I know a family who tried to register and couldn't get in. Not sure about the weekend.

04-04-2014, 06:48 PM
Wow. I can see needing to put a cap on the # of people who can attend on a given day, but it's hard to imagine that it's full. Crazy. What's really weird is that, when we registered, they only asked for the number of kids attending...not the number of adults.

04-04-2014, 06:52 PM
Last time, it was really full. I can easily imagine it. :) The weekend you can just walk in though, so beyond the cap on the number of people in the building, I think there's no cap.