A remarkable year-long science celebration — which has reached 300,000 Chicago-area residents — goes out with a bang Friday, as Science Chicago  holds its final Labfest in Millennium Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Kids and families will participate in hands-on activities, craft projects and games exploring sciences “from astronomy to zoology.” Among the wide range of activities, participants will design, build and race solar-powered model cars, build robots and windmills, and work with an architect to construct a 15-foot replica of the Willis Tower out of Legos.
Science Chicago’s Labfest  has travelled to schools, parks and libraries throughout the area over the past year, part of a year-long initiative which started last September and is thought to be the world’s largest science celebration. Science Chicago has included Science Saturdays , with behind-the-scenes tours of research labs, engineering and technology companies and nature preserves, as well as science forums  including Junior Science Cafes (upcoming: “Imagining Cures for the World’s Diseases” on August 24 at the Lake Zurich library, and “A Century of Change on the Chicago River” at the Chicago River Museum on August 27).
Funding for the coming year will support Science Chicago’s online efforts, which include a directory of local science and engineering professionals  who are available to lead demonstrations and experiments, and a toolkit for teachers .
“Science Chicago has inspired hundreds of thousands of Chicago residents of all ages to awaken their inner scientist and explore the many scientific resources of the region,” David Mosena, president of the Museum of Science and Industry and vice chair of Science Chicago’s advisory board, said in a statement. “It is our hope that cities and organizations across the nation will look to Science Chicago as a model for the development of similar initiatives aimed at inspiring the next generation of American scientists.”