Clark Park hosts Science Discovery Day

Clark Park

Greg Johnson

The famous Clark Park bowl, popular among dog owners and soccer players.

West Philadelphia’s beloved Clark Park, at 43rd Street and Chester Avenue, will be transformed into a science-themed playground on Sunday, April 29, as part of the Philadelphia Science Festival

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the park will play host to Science Discovery Day, a free event during which science lovers of all ages can learn and have fun at the same time.

Participants can meet local scientists, pick up the physics of basketball, learn the science behind why everyone should wear a helmet when riding a bike, better understand the smells of the outdoors, explore the basics of bird-watching, and discover creepy, crawly creatures underneath the earth.

Like the Science Festival’s Science Carnival, Science Discovery Day is a family-friendly, outdoor affair showcasing a host of opportunities for hands-on learning. More than 20 activity stations will have an outdoors and sustainability theme. Hosts include the Monell Chemical Senses Center, Bartram’s Garden, the Philadelphia Horticultural Society, and the Please Touch Museum.

Park Clark

Greg Johnson

The recently renovated “A” section of Clark Park between Baltimore and Chester avenues.

Penn, the Penn Museum, Drexel University, the University of the Sciences, The Woodlands, and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia collaborated to create the event.

One of the featured presentations is the Penn Museum’s “Pharaoh's Flowers,” allowing visitors to see, smell, and learn about the plants buried in the tomb of King Tutankhamen.

Also, a naturalist from the Riverbend Environmental Education Center will bring snakes, turtles, invertebrates, and other creatures for children to learn about and observe.

Bartram’s Garden will teach children about barn owls, how they hunt, and what they eat. Monell will enlist the help of participants in making a “smell map” of the park. And the College of Physicians of Philadelphia will present a hands-on activity describing Civil War medicine (Clark Park is on the former site of one of the Union Army’s largest hospitals).   

In addition to the Clark Park events, there also will be a satellite event at the nearby Woodlands Cemetery, which will host a science scavenger hunt and other activities, such as a mock archeological dig and a beekeeping exhibit.

For more information, email Gina Lavery at ginalla@upenn.edu.

Originally published on April 26, 2012