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Science went wild at Wakehurst

The first Science Festival at Wakehurst took place on 22–23 July and was an enjoyable and educational weekend for everybody!

Children and adults alike (scientists included) had a great time getting hands-on and learning about Kew’s scientific work at Wakehurst, where the Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) is located, as well as around the world. The turn-out was high and the engagement brilliant. There are too many highlights to list, but below is a wide range of activities that represent what a diverse and exciting weekend it was.

We opened up the plant germination labs and families were thrilled to be able to see what happens in a ‘real lab’. It was a great way to show off the facilities of the MSB which currently stores the seeds of more than 37,000 species. It also showed that kids are excited about learning and doing science work!

The younger ones were enthralled by the seed dispersing leaf-blower which simulated how some seeds are dispersed by the wind. It was a great way to communicate key concepts about plants to kids and demonstrate them with an engaging technique. Having the chance to design their own seeds really grabbed the attention of the children and kept them invested throughout the process.

The virtual reality activities were a fantastic way to get hands-on with some state-of-the-art technology whilst learning about our giant redwoods. Both children and adults could climb a tree from the comfort of the ground, and this was very exciting as many people had never had a VR experience before – and this one was educational!

The tours were a hit with families and especially adults; they were consistently fully booked throughout the weekend and we had fantastic feedback. Many adults said that it was the highlight of their trip to see what goes on behind the scenes and learn about the vital science and conservation work that Kew does. It was a real privilege to obtain access to the Millennium Seed Bank and the labs and it was clearly much appreciated – not forgetting that it was the knowledge and approachability of our scientist tour guides that made this experience the success it was.

Kew Science Festival 4–6 August

If you missed out – don’t worry, the Science Festival is coming to Kew Gardens on 4–6 August.

Find out more about the Kew Science Festival

This weekend at Kew is set to be even bigger and better than last year – and there is a lot to look forward to.

Our pollinator bat, which was a real draw for kids to come and learn about enset at Wakehurst, will this time be accompanied by enset food samples to try. We will have some new laser tree-measuring technology to demonstrate and families can get hands on with measuring some of the largest trees at Kew. Tours of the herbarium are sure to be a success and, once again, kids will have a chance to explore some real molecular labs in the Jodrell.