SCI hosts "steam-themed" Labor Day weekend

SCI hosts "steam-themed" Labor Day weekend

Activities include steam engine train tours and the Des Moines Mini Maker Faire

  • Monday August 23, 2021

It’s all about steam this Labor Day weekend at the Science Center of Iowa (SCI) – from steam engine train tours to a steampunk-themed Des Moines Mini Maker Faire.

"We had the opportunity to connect two really unique programs," said Curt Simmons, SCI president and CEO. "While these events feature steam in literal ways, they also showcase the acronym STEAM – science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics – and highlight how innovations in technology and in art can benefit communities."

Sunday and Monday: Steam engine train tours

The weekend kicks off on Sunday, with steam engine tours hosted in partnership with Central States Steam Preservation Association (CSSPA) and the Iowa Interstate Railroad.

Short train rides from downtown Des Moines to the Iowa countryside will offer passengers the iconic experience of riding behind a steam locomotive.

"Steam locomotives were vital in connecting and shaping the United States and were one of the greatest industrial advancements," said Ellen Lawson, CSSPA Head of Marketing and Publicity. "The 'QJ'-class locomotive specifically, which the CSSPA was founded to maintain and operate, helped to shape industry and life in the Midwest. For these reasons, the CSSPA believes steam preservation is just as much about education as it is providing the public with opportunities to experience and enjoy an iconic piece of our country's history."

In addition, railway safety will be at the forefront with a display from Operation Lifesaver, whose mission is to prevent collisions, injuries and fatalities on and around railroad tracks and crossings through public education.

The Iowa Bolt #6988 will make five runs on Sunday, September 5, between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, and four runs on Monday, September 6, between 9:00 am and 1:30 pm.  Each train ride will last approximately 50 minutes and will depart from 4th Street in front of the Science Center of Iowa.

Tickets are $12 per person (free for children under 2) and can be reserved online at www.sciowa.org/steamengine

The Iowa Bolt #6988 also will be on static display for the public (at no fee for visitors) on Saturday, September 4, between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm outside the Science Center of Iowa on 4th Street.

Monday: Des Moines Mini Maker Faire

On Monday, SCI will host its 7th annual Des Moines Mini Maker Faire. The all-ages festival celebrates those who tinker, build, experiment and collaborate.

This year’s theme – steampunk – highlights retro-futuristic automation and the path technology could have taken in the absence of electricity. Exhibitors will showcase creativity from across the state, and attendees will be able to participate in hands-on activities to discover their own inner maker.

"Being a maker isn’t about being an expert," said Jolie Pelds, SCI’s director of innovative STEM teaching. "It’s about using creativity and innovation to make things that are useful and have a purpose. The Des Moines Mini Maker Faire is a celebration of that mindset."

The festival atmosphere continues outside with food trucks available from 10:00 am-3:00 pm.

The Des Moines Mini Maker Faire will operate in two timeslots, consistent with SCI’s current schedule – 9:00 am-12:00 pm and 1:00-4:00 pm. All Mini Maker Faire activities are included with SCI admission ($11 for adults and children 2-12 and $10 for seniors 65+; free for SCI members). Advance tickets are available at https://bit.ly/3gjxnf9

View the event schedule and more at desmoines.makerfaire.com/

September 7-15: Annual Closure for Maintenance & Cleaning

SCI will be closed September 7-15 for regular maintenance and cleaning following a busy summer season. Beginning September 16, SCI will be open four days a week – Thursdays through Sundays – and ticketing for AM and PM timeslots will remain in place.

About the Science Center of Iowa
The Science Center of Iowa engages and inspires Iowans along their journey of lifelong science learning. The 110,000-sq. ft. facility located in Downtown Des Moines features dynamic experience platforms and daily interactive science demonstrations. Through daily visitors, a statewide educational outreach programs and the NAEYC-accredited SCI Preschool, the Science Center of Iowa serves more than 300,000 people annually. For more information, visit www.sciowa.org.

About Maker Faire
Maker Faire originated in 2006 in the San Francisco Bay Area as a project of the editors of Make: magazine. It has since grown into a significant worldwide network of both flagship and independently-produced events. The Des Moines Mini Maker Faire is independently organized and operated under license from Make Community.