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‘Science everywhere’ at popular Las Vegas festival

Updated April 24, 2018 - 8:03 pm

Aside from the Golden Knights, the Las Vegas Science and Technology Festival may be one of the most sought-after tickets in town.

Organizers began taking reservations Friday for various limited-entry events associated with the festival, and everything filled up within 15 minutes.

But festival director Chris Palladino said there’s still plenty to see and do at the eighth annual event — free of charge and no reservations required.

“There are 45 events in nine days, with 120 different organizations involved. It’s kind of a behemoth,” Palladino said.

It all gets underway at 9 a.m. Friday with the College of Southern Nevada’s Science and Tech Expo, a collection of exhibits and demonstrations at the college’s North Las Vegas campus at 3200 E. Cheyenne Avenue.

At 8 a.m. Saturday, Las Vegas Natural History Museum paleontologist Josh Bonde will lead a walking tour of fossils and historic dig sites at Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, while the Clark County Wetlands Park will host a “bio blitz” for amateur scientists interested in helping the park identify the plants and animals living there.

Additional events will be held daily next week, including guest lectures by artificial intelligence expert James Barrat and NASA astronaut Don Thomas and a discussion by a distinguished panel of women in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics).

Among the offerings that filled up the fastest this year were behind-the-scenes tours of the Fountains of Bellagio, the Neon Museum, the trauma center at University Medical Center, Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, the Shark Reef Aquarium, the High Roller observation wheel, the roller coasters at Adventuredome, the water slides at Wet ‘n’ Wild and NV Energy’s operations center.

Other “Science-Is-Everywhere” tours are still available at the National Atomic Testing Museum, the Nevada State Museum, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, the Bellagio Conservatory, the Silverton Casino Aquarium and UNLV’s Howard Hughes College of Engineering.

The festivities culminate May 5 with a giant science expo for kids and families from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at World Market Center.

“Every booth has a hands-on ‘something’ about science,” Palladino said.

All events are free.

The festival was launched in 2011 to help math and science teachers engage their students and to “show kids that science is everywhere,” Palladino said.

Roughly 10,000 people took part that first year. Attendance this year is expected to approach 50,000, he said.

The festival is put on by the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, a committee of community volunteers and major collaborators such as the Clark County School District, CSN, the Desert Research Institute, the National Park Service, Switch, NV Energy, Vegas PBS and MGM Resorts International.

More information, including a complete schedule of events, is available on the festival’s website at www.scifest.vegas.

Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Follow @RefriedBrean on Twitter.

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