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World Science Festival 2012

Tap into your family's curiosity about the world around you at this five-day celebration of all things science.

  • Photograph: Courtesy of the World Science Festival

    World Science Festival

  • Photograph: Courtesy of the World Science Festival

    World Science Fair

  • Photograph: Courtesy of the World Science Festival

    World Science Festival

  • Photograph: Courtesy of the World Science Festival

    World Science Festival

Photograph: Courtesy of the World Science Festival

World Science Festival

The esteemed World Science Festival, which aims to bring the amazements of science into people's lives, is back in New York City for its fifth year. All across the city, fairs, engaging workshops and interactive presentations are poised to regale New Yorkers big and small. Here are six events sure to sate every member of your inquisitive family.

Icarus at the Edge of Time
This multimedia show puts a 21st-century twist on the Icarus story, telling the tale of a boy who confronts a black hole head-on to journey through time and space. The work features an animated film accompanied by a live orchestra playing an original Philip Glass score, plus a live narrator. Wed May 30 7--8pm. United Palace Theatre. $18.

Science-on-Site: Explorations in Brooklyn Bridge Park
The East River is home to all sorts of hidden marine life, like mummichogs and sand shrimp, creatures that kids have a chance of seeing firsthand through a lesson in seining, an ancient fishing technique in which a vertical net is dragged through the water toward the shore. Families can then follow an entomologist through the park in search of creepy-crawlies to examine or take part in a tutorial in the art of sun gazing led by NASA scientists. Stick around for stargazing later in the evening, set to the ambient music of DJ Spooky (see below). Sat June 2 10am--6pm. Brooklyn Bridge Park. Free.

Robot Petting Zoo
After taking in all the inhabitants of this menagerie, kids won't be asking for a pet goldfish anymore, but for one of the flying mechanical birds or snake bots on display. Don't miss the elegant SmartBird as it soars over your family's heads, the station where kids children use an iPad to control robotic fish, or the humanoid, soccer-playing robot called DARwin-OP. Sat June 2 noon--7pm. NYU Polytechnic Institute, MetroTech Plaza, Bridge St at Lawrence St, Downtown Brooklyn. Free.

Cool Jobs, Cool Kids, Hot Contest
Teaching kids not to play with fire just got a little more interesting: Alan Alda hosts the Flame Challenge, in which a number of international scientists try to come up with the best kid-accessible explanation of how a flame works. Then, families can meet biomedical engineers, zoologists and psychologists at Cool Jobs, where they'll learn about a day in the life of various scientists. Whether tykes have a penchant for galagos or are fascinated by a machine that can read people's thoughts, there's an expert role model for everyone. Sat June 2 1--2:30pm. Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College . $15.

From the City to the Stars
Astrophysicist Mario Livio and cosmologist Lawrence M. Krauss lead this evening of citified stargazing. Dozens of telescopes will be available for families to use, ensuring that everyone has the chance to stare into the night sky and contemplate the cosmos. Sat June 2 8--11pm. Brooklyn Bridge Park. Free.

The Ultimate Science Street Fair
This crowd-pleasing fair functions like a science lab itself, with interactive stations where kids can create a personal fragrance, learn about crime-scene-investigation techniques, blow giant bubbles and find out what it takes to be an orangutan researcher. A telepathy lab where scientists-in-training can control a computer with their thoughts and a workshop taught by a Guinness Record holder on the physics of shooting a perfect free throw aren't likely to disappoint either. Sun June 3 10am--6pm. Washington Square Park. Free.

The World Science Festival runs from Wed May 30 to Sun June 3 at various locations around the city. Visit the website for more details. 212-348-1400, worldsciencefestival.com.

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