Family Saturday

Family Saturday: Build Robots and Crush Cars at the World Maker Faire

We’ve got your weekend adventure planned. Pack snacks. And maybe protective eyewear.

Photo courtesy of Maker Faire

I’ve never been to the World Maker Faire, happening this weekend in and around the New York Hall of Science in Queens. But my kids and I have tried the down-and-dirty “science” experiment in which you drop a few Mentos into a two-liter bottle of Coke Zero to create a geyser of foaming soda. We were never entirely clear on the science behind it—something about carbonation and bubbles?—but it was a very satisfying reaction (the cleanup was decidedly less so). Which is why we’ll be heading to Maker Faire this Saturday. Every year at the event, the folks at EepyBird, the makers of viral science videos, create a giant fountain—with multiple geysers up to 30 feet in the air—from the simple 7-Eleven ingredients. It’s like a sticky, broke-down Bellagio. Sounds fun, no?

2018 maker faire
Photo by Mark Fong

The fountain erupts at 11 a.m., so we plan to head there first and then check out the Hand of Man, a 26-foot-long, fully articulated robot hand that can crush cars and flash the peace sign. The public is invited to don a glove device that controls it. On second thought, I’m not sure I trust my adolescent sons to try that one.

After those two biggies, we will likely wander the grounds where it looks like you can attempt to make everything from robo cars and HAM radios to instruments and classic marshmallow shooters. Visitors can also add to a world made entirely of masking tape at the Tapigami Tape City, cheer on weaponized lawn mowers fighting each other, watch dance battles, and test their sincerity. Needless to say, there’s a lot happening. When it gets overwhelming, and it will, our bailout plan is to drive 10 minutes to Temple Canteen, a South Indian cafeteria-style restaurant in the basement of an actual Hindu temple, and gorge on cheap and incredible dosas until maybe we explode. Take that, Mentos!

2018 maker faire
Photo courtesy of Maker Faire

Not Into Battling Bots? Here Are 5 More Fun Things to Do This Saturday:

  1. Get lost in the corn maize (get it?) and compete in a husking contest at the 36th Annual Queens County Fair. This is always a kid favorite.
  2. The lovely Chinese Scholar’s Garden at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden in Staten Island is worth a visit any day, but this Saturday it is celebrating the Autumn Moon Festival with performances, tastings, crafts, and more.

    2018 maker faire
    Photo courtesy of Anthony Rafferty/Facebook
  3. How can you deny the die-hard Elmo fan in your family a seat at the Sesame Street Live! Let’s Party interactive show at Barclays Center? I mean, how can you? No guilt or anything.
  4. If you don’t mind crowds and you love cannoli and ice cream in the shape of a realistic Shar-Pei puppy, the last two days of the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy might be right up your Italian-pastry-lined alley.
  5. Not all of the new pop-up, made-for-Instagram immersive experiences are created equal, but we have to admit: Candytopia is pretty freakin’ sweet.

    2018 maker faire
    Photo courtesy of Candytopia/Facebook

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