Credit: Alex Kondratiev

Visitors of all ages can launch rockets, participate in Civil War medical reenactments and use a telescope to safely peer at the sun during Science Day, April 23 at Montgomery College’s Rockville campus. The free annual event, which drew more than 3,000 attendees last year, will feature more than 100 science-related exhibitors including government agencies such as NASA and NOAA, local nature centers and robotics groups.

The Rockville Science Center, which is arranging the event, is a nonprofit that hosts activities and classes for all ages—including summer camps, chess and math clubs and a career exploration program—out of its Rockville Town Square location. The annual Science Day, in its 32nd year, is “kind of the Science Center’s yearly baby,” according to volunteer coordinator Ulisses Santamaria.

“Our philosophy is to be able to provide our attendees with something interactive and memorable for the day,” Santamaria said. “We define ‘scientific’ in very broad, creative terms in order to reach more exhibitors and engage more folks. In this context, ‘scientific’ can include physics, robotics, engineering, linguistics, psychology, energy, space, maritime.”

Science center marketing associate Alison Chacon said an emphasis of hands-on learning is the key to Science Day’s continued success.

“It really runs the whole gambit of activities,” she said. “There will be robotics exhibits where you can program and run your own robot, rocketry where you can build and launch your own rocket and even telescopes you can use to safely look at the sun.”

Ethan Goldberg and Ella Lipscomb are looking forward to participating in the event as members of Explorer Post 1010, a local engineering exploration program that meets twice a week at the science center and gives students the opportunity to create and launch rockets. Goldberg, a sophomore at Wheaton High, said the group will be showcasing their rockets and hopes to recruit new members on Science Day.


“I enjoy teaching people about rocketry,” Goldberg said. “I’m interested in long-term mentoring.”

Lipscomb is a freshman at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High and has been involved with Explorer Post 1010 since September.

“Everyone there is super nice and inclusive,” Lipscomb said. “It’s a great way to learn a lot about aerospace.”


This will be her first time attending Science Day, and Lipscomb said she’s looking forward to meeting people and sharing her team’s love of rocketry.

While the science center’s activities normally skew toward robotics and engineering, this year Santamaria said he’s excited to see Science Day feature more biology-focused exhibitors. He recruited the Potomac Riverkeepers Network, a local nonprofit that specializes in water quality testing for the Potomac River. The group’s data is uploaded to a website that tells users which parts of the river are safe to swim in every day.

“Please come out. The science center is here, and we love being part of the community,” Santamaria said. “You could look for another large-scale scientific event like this in the area—you won’t find it.”


The event will take place from noon to 5 p.m. April 23 at Montgomery College’s Rockville campus. Admission and parking will be free for attendees. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. The event is rain or shine.