Science & Nature

Here comes the UNC Science Expo…

And there goes the sun as Morehead Planetarium’s April 6-8 weekend celebration also features an eclipse watch party.

Boston Dynamics four legged robot walking around campus with onlookers of all ages surrounding it.
Expect to see fun live science demonstrations like Spot, an agile mobile robot from Boston Dynamics, at the UNC Science Expo. (Morehead Planetarium)

Part of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center’s extended celebration of its 75th anniversary is a mega weekend filled with engaging and exciting activities April 6-8.

About 10,000 people are expected to attend this year’s UNC Science Expo, held 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 6 on the grounds around the planetarium, on nearby McCorkle Place and along Franklin Street.

The event features a range of free hands-on activities and science demonstrations:

  • Over 100 booths staffed by students, faculty, researchers and others, with lab tours available.
  • Live science demonstrations.
  • Stage performances, including the Bouncing Bulldogs jump rope team.

Morehead will be open, so attendees may buy tickets for a fulldome planetarium show. Food trucks will also be parked nearby.

The celebration continues April 8 with a total solar eclipse watch party 12:30-4:45 p.m. Weather permitting, free hands-on activities will be available outside, and science educators will help with eclipse viewing at outdoor sun-viewing stations. Eclipse glasses will be sold for $2 at a table outside and at Cosmic Goods inside.

For $10, eclipse fans may buy admission for Carolina Skies: Solar Eclipse, a 30-minute presentation providing information about the causes of solar eclipses. Tickets to the show also include admission to a livestream of the eclipse from totality on the Science Stage, activities in the Launch Lab and other exhibits. Tickets may be purchased in advance.

A similar eclipse watch party at Morehead in 2017 brought thousands to the grounds around the building, a memory Todd Boyette singles out as one of his favorite moments in his nearly two-decade term as director of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.

“From celebrating the largest Science Expo in the event’s history, to welcoming back old colleagues and friends, to experiencing a solar eclipse, April is shaping up to be an exciting and special time here at Morehead,” Boyette said.

The UNC Science Expo is a signature event of the North Carolina Science Festival 2024, presented by RTI International, which offers more than 400 science-themed events across North Carolina during April. To find events near you, check out NCSciFest.org.