Another fun science day in Richmond

On Saturday we rode the Amtrak to Richmond for the day. We boarded the train in Alexandria, and the ride took about two hours.

From Richmond’s Main Street station, we hopped on the Pulse bus and headed to the RVA Makerfest at the Science Museum of Virginia. At this annual gathering, Richmond-area businesses and groups set up interactive displays to inspire kids to tinker, create, and build. We attended this event last year and had a great time—and so we were really excited to visit again.

The coolest thing about Makerfest is that the robotics clubs from the local high schools share their creations. Noah got to “direct” this remote control robot that was built by the Mech Tech Dragons. The robot picks up and tosses crates—very cool!

Here’s a short video of Noah and the robot too. As a quick reminder: If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.

We saw a robot that tossed balls too. This robot was built by the Blue Cheese Robotics club. The kids in this club also showed Noah how to build a circuit using copper tape, an LED light bulb, and a button battery.

Noah also got to test this small remote control robot, and we spent a few hours creating gadgets and gizmos with Vex gears too.

And of course, no building event would be complete without Legos…

When we finished with Makerfest, we stopped for a quick snack—Oreo gelato!

Because we spent most of the day at Makerfest, we didn’t have too much time left to explore the museum—but we did a whirlwind tour of our favorite exhibits from our last trip.

We started in the “Boost” area. We timed our biking speed to see how long it would take to ride to New York City and Bangor, ME. The answer? Way too long, though probably faster without three scoops of gelato. Ha.

Then we stopped by the cool exhibit that measures your height and weight to determine what you should be able to fit inside. Just like last year, Noah can fit into a garment bag.

Next we headed to the science lab to check out the beehive. There are more 10,000 bees in the hive, but the staff person helped Noah find the queen bee—pretty cool!

Our next stop was the rotunda to watch the Foucault pendulum, which demonstrates the Earth’s rotation. It takes 19 hours and 43 minutes tor the pendulum to knock down all 79 pegs around the circle, and it takes 39 hours and 27 minutes for the pendulum to rotate 360 degrees.

Ryan took this short video of the crowd waiting for the pendulum to knock over a peg; the grand finale is at the one minute mark.

Our last stop in the museum was the “Speed” area. Noah got to play air hockey against a robot (the robot won) and stand in a wind speed simulator to experience 80 mph winds, which is a category 1 hurricane.

Noah also rearranged gears and giant rubber bands to create the best setup to maximize the rotation of the main gear.

Outside the museum, Noah joined other kids in spinning the big stone ball.

Then we headed back to Richmond’s Main Street station for our train ride home.

Here’s a short video of the train pulling into the station too…

It was a quick trip to Richmond, but we had a lot of fun! We hope to make it to Makerfest again next year.

Categories: Fun outings, Legos, Science, Trains | 1 Comment

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