St. Petersburg Science Festival and MarineQuest goes virtual

Event provides immersive online experience for public science and art

The St. Petersburg Science Festival and MarineQuest will offer thousands of people throughout Tampa Bay a chance to be inspired, engage their curiosity and get involved with science and art on Saturday, October 17. This year, the immersive experience connecting scientists, environmental organizations and cultural institutions with the public will be held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The festival, along with MarineQuest, has become a fixture in the community and a must-attend event for families around the region. The virtual St. Petersburg Science Festival can be accessed here on October 17. The virtual MarineQuest can be seen here.

“Being able to pivot this year’s St. Petersburg Science Festival to an online virtual platform is an innovative, engaging and evergreen approach to public science education,” said E. Howard Rutherford, St. Petersburg Science Festival co-chair. “The need for understanding how science is relevant in our everyday lives is more important than ever, given the events of this year.”

Attendees will enjoy the thrill of discovery via live demos, unique behind-the-scenes tours and interactive activities. This year, virtual exhibits come from institutions such as Mote Marine Laboratory, SeaWorld, USF College of Marine Science and more. Participants can discover how hurricane hunters track storms, learn how to identify fish and protect Florida endangered species.

The festival continues to devote a day organized to school children, with more than 600 expected to tune into live demos and pre-recorded activities during a sneak peek of the St. Petersburg Science Festival on Friday, October 16. During the sneak peek, students will learn about getting involved in STEAM (Science, Technology,, Engineering, Art and Math) fields and different career paths. The growing interest in STEAM subjects and career opportunities for students and in the community was a major reason for establishing the Festival.

“Career opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art and math are continuing to increase, but youth in our community may have a certain perspective of who works in those fields that causes them to have difficulty seeing these careers as viable options,” said Alison Barlow, director of St. Petersburg’s Innovation District. “In reality, today’s STEAM professionals are young, possessing diverse backgrounds and often working outdoors. It is imperative that we introduce children to STEAM opportunities and provide access to explore possible careers.”

The joint event with MarineQuest provides the public with more science activities and exploration of the natural world. The two festivals together typically attract between 15,000-20,000 attendees each year.

“For more than 20 years, MarineQuest has been an opportunity for Floridians of all ages to learn about Florida’s fish, wildlife and their habitats. This year, we invite you to join MarineQuest from the safety and comfort of your home,” said Gil McRae, Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. “Throughout Saturday’s event, we will be visiting virtually with some of our research programs. While we will miss seeing you in person this year, we are excited to share MarineQuest with you, virtually.”

For more information, visit www.stpetescifest.org.

This year’s Festival sponsors include:

  • City of St Petersburg
  • Duke Energy
  • Florida Wildlife Commission Fish & Wildlife Research Institute
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Nielsen
  • Spectrum Bay News 9
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • USF College of Marine Science
  • USF St Petersburg campus
  • WEDU