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Hands-on science activities abound at World Maker Faire

Aspiring inventors take part in hands-on science activities and admire quirky creations at the New York Hall of Science on September 29 and 30.

World Maker Faire

World Maker Faire Photograph: World Maker Faire

Known as the greatest show-and-tell on earth, World Maker Faire brings more than 500 inventors to the New York Hall of Science for a weekend of interactive innovation celebration. Since the sheer number and diversity of inventions, performances and hands-on science activities borders on daunting, we've culled some highlights that are bound to appeal to makers of all ages. Here are some activities to keep on your radar.
 
Investigate new creations
One of the main reasons to come to Queens this weekend is to see the fruits of inventors' innovation, from rockets and robots to artisanal foods and wordworking. Some of this year's standouts include a pancake-making Lego bot, a life-size mousetrap and 3-D printers that can churn out humanoid robots and car parts.
 
Experience science firsthand
With more than 400 interactive projects and experiments to explore, kids won't be spending too much time on the sidelines. In the NYSCI Village, future tinkerers can take part in hands-on science activities like a forced-perspective photo booth, genetics gaming and underwater roving; they can also attend how-to workshops in such practical topics as soldering and lock picking. Several hands-on workshops are Disney-inspired: Toddlers can fashion swords with swashbucklers Jake and the Never Land Pirates, while older kids make kites in the style of contraption connoisseurs Phineas and Ferb.
 
Take a peek at the cars of the future
Although some of the alternative transportation inventions on display may not catch on with the general public, tykes won't want to miss the pros showing off cupcake-shaped vehicles and racing against each other in souped-up Power Wheels kiddie cars. Plus, in the NYU-sponsored Nerdy Derby, kids harness their ingenuity to build and race their own vehicles la Boy Scouts pinewood derbies.
 
Watch bicycle and big-top acts
Although it's known primarily as a showcase for gadgets and gizmos, several performing arts groups also take center stage at Maker Faire. Don't miss Austin Bike Zoo, which delivers two-wheeled theatrics using human puppetry and unique cycling contraptions. Plus, Queens' own Circus Warehouse presents aerial stunts and lets kids try a few flips of their own.
 
Anticipate the future of inventing
In the Young Maker Pavilion, kids come face-to-face with the next crop of inventors—their own peers. These under-18 creators show off their pet projects, from the kid-pleasing (think genetically coded balloon animals and marshmallow shooters) to the slightly more sophisticated (like DIY computers and devices for the visually impaired).

World Maker Faire takes place on Sat Sept 29 10am--7pm and Sun Sept 30 10am--6pm at the New York Hall of Science. $27.50 per day, children ages 2--17 $12 per day, children under 2 free.

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