If you’ve ever been to the Virginia Discovery Museum and enjoyed the host of great hands-on, interactive exhibits they pack into that little building, then wished for more, you’re in luck. This Saturday the museum, along with WVPT Public Television and Z95fm radio, is hosting its third annual day-long science fair Kid*Vention at Piedmont Virginia Community College.

This year’s theme is the environment, and kids ages 4 to 104 can go wild over more than 15 displays and exhibits from a wide variety of organizations interested in environmental issues. Folks can make tracks with the Virginia Museum of Natural History, try out a kayak with Blue Ridge Mountain Sports, test the water with Rebecca’s Natural Foods, twist some twine with the Living Education Center for Ecology and the Arts, and taste some fabulous homemade organic pesto from Planet Earth Diversified. Smokey the Bear will be wandering around just waiting to shake hands with visitors and talk about preventing forest fires.

Among the most interesting activities is the one on vermiculture… that’s a polite way of saying worm composting. Michael Jones from UVA’s Saturday enrichment program will bring buckets of the slimy critters and explain how they eat garbage and turn it into terrific soil. He’ll even help adventurous types make a starter set so they can try this at home. 

VDM’s own StarLab portable planetarium offers a series of shows that demonstrate the effects of light pollution. Fans of VDM’s Tremendous Trees exhibit, featured as a Back Gallery exhibit last year around this time, won’t want to miss this extra chance to learn about photosynthesis with an animated, interactive computer game created just for that exhibit. 

Gregarious performers will have the chance to act up with Kid*Vention’s radio and TV partners. In an activity called “Create a Creature,” kids can explore aspects of biological adaptation as they craft a critter of their own design out of recycled materials, then demonstrate its adaptive body features on camera. They’ll even get to take home the tape of their performance. 

In a special performance at 11:30am, Jim Gagnon brings a variety of natural musical instruments from African and Native American cultures. He’ll play, demonstrate, answer questions, and give participants the chance to try their hands at making music too.

All this and door prizes! Dozens of them (all earth-friendly, of course) will be given out every half-hour. And the whole thing is totally free. Kid*Vention is a fun-filled adventure that families won’t want to miss. 

And listen, if you haven’t been to the Discovery Museum yet, why not?



Kid*Vention takes place in the main building at PVCC on March 16 from 10am to 2pm. For more information, call the museum at 977-1025 or visit

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