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Ongoing activities in Nichols Hall

Learn about the natural world at four activity stations with more than 30 ongoing drop-in programs, plus timed demonstrations in Nichols Hall.

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Experience pollinators like you never have before!

  • Watch scientists tag live bees; be a scientist and observe native bumblebees in the bumblebee “arena” to find out which flowers they like best.
  • Play pollinator basketball to find out what’s more effective—wind pollination or animal pollination.
  • See like a pollinator—put on your pollinator glasses to see what flowers look like for different pollinators; go under the black curtain to see how flowers that bloom at night look to pollinators.
  • See honeybees in action in our indoor display, try on a beekeeper's suit, and learn how honeybees are raised at home. Taste honey, too.
  • And much more...

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Learn how water works with demonstrations and activities.

  • Test water quality in our two aquariums to discover what makes for healthy water. See examples of macro and micro invertebrates—who’s living in the water.
  • From the shortest grass to the tallest tree, how does water move in plants? Learn about capillary action in this always-fun experiment with carnations.
  • Test surface tension: How many drops of water can you make sit on a penny? How does this relate to a favorite aquatic insect—the water strider?
  • See a host of demonstrations on the live stage, including Water Wonders with Mad Science, and pH Magic with UL Water Lab manager Stephen Woyernowski.
  • And much more...

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Building Blocks of Life
DNA and Carbon

  • Explore genetics with our Mendel pea display in Krehbiel Gallery; learn about heredity with interactive games.
  • Do some real-time data logging: Use probes to find out what is going on in a plant leaf in this carbon lab.
  • Learn about carbon building blocks. Assemble carbon atom puzzle pieces with other elements to build diamonds, sugar, charcoal, and plant material.
  • And much more...

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Fruits & Seeds
Discover the strategies of successful seeds.

  • Experiment in our mini seed lab. Dissect seeds and learn about the parts that make up a future plant.
  • Make your move in a seed dispersal adventure. Which seeds travel farthest? Which are most successful, and what are their characteristics? Try your hand at making a successful seed and explore how seed dispersal distance can affect species genetic diversity and survival.
  • Experiment with fruit pectin—what is it, and why is it important to plants? 
  • And much more...

Want more? Sign up for a free class in the Regenstein Center, contribute to a crowd-sourced poem, and be a part of the sky. Learn about everything from soil science to surviving the zombie apocalypse.

Admission is free for the Unearth Science festival. Regular parking fees apply; Garden members park free every day.
Unearth Science festival is generously supported by the following:

BaxterITWNorthshore University Health SystemUL