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18 August, 11am - 3pm

Living Laboratory - a free Outdoor Festival of Science

Join us for a huge outdoor event to celebrate the environmental sciences!
Explore the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney to get hands-on with science experiments, explore behind-the-scenes, visit state-of-the-art science facilities and use scientific equipment!

Don’t miss the Closing Party for Wild Thing exhibition at Lion Gate Lodge, part of Living Laboratory where we'll be celebrating all the feathered, fluffy, scaled, and slimy creatures within the Botanic Gardens with a range of activities for the whole family, including hands-on propagating for kids, music, face-painting, and more.

When

18 August, 11am - 3pm

Where

Lawns near the Learning Centre
Closest Garden Gate: Woolloomooloo Gate.

Transport

Public transport recommended. Limited parking available on Mrs Macquaries Rd

Talks and demonstrations

  • Aboriginal Science with Didgeridoo Performance

  • Frogs and Tadpoles

  • Bat Chat with Sydney Wildlife

  • Australian Wildlife – meet and learn

  • Kids DIY science fun

  • Bees and other beneficial pollinators

Meet our Scientists 

Amazing Algae

Meet Royal Botanic Garden algae experts Stephen Skinner and Dr Yola Metti and see amazing algae up close! Peer through microscopes, touch local Sydney Harbour species and learn what algae is what and why its important!

Fun Fungi

Ever wondered what those black patches and pink spots were on the banana you left in the bottom of your bag? Learn about rots, mildews and moulds that may be closer to home than you think! Get hands-on viewing different types of macro fungi and micro-fungi through microscopes. Plus, bring in a photo or sample of a diseased plant and Dr Ed Liew will do his best to identify the culprit.

Crazy Cryptogams

Mosses, liverworts, hornworts and all: Come and take a close look at the true dinosaurs of the plant Kingdom, the Bryophytes. Check out these ancient beauties super close up using our amazing video microscope. Learn about where they live and how they survive. You can even help us water our mini Bryophyte gardens. Watch them swell up, and change colour right before your eyes.

Plant Explorers Passport

Pick up a Plant Explorers Passport and take yourself on a quest around the Botanic Garden with challenge stops by Macquarie University science students as well as Botanic Garden scientists and other science experts.

Find the 6 hands-on science adventure stations around the Garden to:

  • Learn about the first flower and make your own flower out of recycled materials to “plant” at the festival
  • View a selection of plants demonstrating plant development across millions of years
  • Learn about the amazing “mint family” of plants. You may have heard of chocolate mint or Vietnamese mint but did you know there are many species of Australian native mint?

 
Food and beverage
Food vans will be on site for your morning coffee, lunch or afternoon ice cream so you can fuel up and get serious into your science all day long.
Plant sales
Visit the Growing Friends stall for a wide range of potted plants including many plants propagated from the Garden’s living collection. Ask these experienced gardeners your questions about successful planting and propagating a huge variety of plants.
Face painting
Especially designed for Science Week… join the que for a free cheek print or hand designs (small items only, designs strictly limited).

Free activities

Meet a butterfly

Get up close and enjoy a memorable moment with a range of different butterflies. Enter the butterfly tent to feed the butterflies – the lucky ones could even have one land on them for once in a lifetime photo opportunity!

Aboriginal weaving workshops

Join Botanic Gardens Aboriginal educators for a yarn and a weave as they show you natural fibres and the skills to weave with them.
 

Fossil Frenzy

Make your own replica fossil to take home with fossilised dinosaurs and plants that were around in dinosaur times.
 
 

Science Encounters

Engage your inner scientist and ask "Why?!” Test, predict, explore…. a biological trick of the eyes reveals the unreal, mathematics is the key to escaping being chained in manacles, and knowing the odds explains the predicable role of dice…curious yet?
 

Bugs About

What is an entomologist? What makes a bug an invertebrate? They may be small but these fascinating animals make up approximately 80% of all animals on earth and without them humans couldn’t survive. Have your photo taken with a stick insect or a giant cockroach if you dare!
 

Australian Wildlife

​Ever wanted to pat a python or cuddle a crocodile? Children can to get up close to some of Australia's wonderful and fascinating native animals and could meet pythons, lizards, birds, marsupials, amphibians, mammals, invertebrates and crocodiles!

 

Traditional Medicinal Plants

Do you know the healing properties of a tea tree or a humble paperbark? Learn how Aboriginal people have been using plants for medicines for thousands of years.

Stallholders

 
  • Australian Wildlife Displays 
Ever wanted to pat a python or cuddle a crocodile? We’ll let you get up close to some of Australia's wonderful and fascinating native animals.
 
  • Through the Nano Lens
The Nano Lens explores what it means to look closely. The Nano Lens will offer hands-on activities, to examine botanical specimens ‘like a scientist’ – under the microscope – and ‘like an artist’ - by drawing and stamping.
  Learn how you can support science and conservation by becoming a member of the Gardens!
 
  • Fighting Fire with Science
Meet Dr Robert Sawyer, an injured bushfire fighter turned scientist. Join him to learn about what bushfires, planned burning, and climate conditions mean for the global carbon cycle.
 
  • St Johns First Aid and Ambulance
Meet trained paramedics, watch CPR demonstrations on resus mannequins and learn how to lie a bandage or sling.
 
  • Geological Society of Australia
Discover ancient Sydney volcanoes and the geology of Minecraft.
 
  • The Secret Life of Trees
Have you ever wondered how trees breathe? Or how they get water to their leaves?  Did you know we get medicine and food from trees? Join tree enthusiasts in this fun interactive workshop!
 
  • Australian Pollinators Display
Sydney area hosts over 200 amazing native bee species, vital for pollination and ecosystem function. Learn about these amazing pollinators in this fun display!
 
  • Zebrafish and Motor Neuron Disease
Lear how Macquarie University researchers use zebrafish to better understand Motor Neuron Disease and learn about microscopy techniques to visualise proteins in a living cell!
 
  • Through the Nano Lens
The Nano Lens explores what it means to look closely. The Nano Lens will offer hands-on activities, to examine botanical specimens ‘like a scientist’ – under the microscope – and ‘like an artist’ - by drawing and stamping.
 
  • Fighting Fire with Science
Meet Dr Robert Sawyer, an injured bushfire fighter turned scientist. Join him to learn about what bushfires, planned burning, and climate conditions mean for the global carbon cycle.
 

Media:

Scientists available for interview
Media opps behind the scenes in laboratories, herbarium both before and on the event day. Science Communication Officer: Vanessa Fuchs, Vanessa.fuchs@bgcp.nsw.gov.au, 0438 892 594


Supporters:

This event is supported by the Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens and Inspiring Australia as part of Sydney Science Festival in National Science Week.

       

   

 

 
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