Whether you call it STEM or STEAM, there is no doubt that it is (cool) to explore the worlds of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and art as a family. Today kicks off the Maryland STEM Festival, a week of dynamic, interactive, and fun events and activities throughout the state. The best part? This festival brings the (cool) to you.

The Festival runs November 6th through the 15th, 2015 and provides STEM opportunities to families all over Maryland without requiring that we pack-up and schlep the family to the next county – unless you want to, of course. Events you’ll find right here in Baltimore City include a robotics tournament at the B&O Museum, an Audubon guided bird walk through Patterson Park, and designing your own 3D printer holiday cookie cutters… um, how (cool) is that?

Here is a short rundown of what you’ll find around the city — but there is a ton happening around the state! For the complete list visit the Maryland STEM Festival events page.

First Friday STEM week kickoff at the Maryland Science Center

Friday, November 6th (TONIGHT)
5:00pm 8:00pm
Maryland Science Center
601 Light St, Baltimore, MD 21230

Celebrate STEM Week with discounted admission at the Maryland Science Center. Admission for First Friday includes the permanent exhibit halls, planetarium, and IMAX Theater. All visitors pay just $9 for admission during First Friday. IMAX presentations are at 7:00pm, Planetarium presentations are at 6:00pm, and you will encounter LIVE science during your visit.

Please note: The Kids Room, The Shed, and SciLab close at 6pm during First Fridays. Children under 3 are always free. Members are admitted to First Fridays free of charge. First Fridays hours are 5:00 p.m. – 8:00p.m. There are no advance ticket sales for this program.

Owl Prowl

Saturday, November 7th
8:00pm 10:00pm
Soldier’s Delight Natural Environmental Area
5100 Deer Park Rd, Owings Mills, MD 21117

Participants will follow a naturalist on a one-mile hike and listen for and try to call out to owls (not handicap accessible). We will also discuss basic biology, habitat, diet, and conservation. Captive owls from our aviary will be on hand for educational assistance (handicap accessible). Suitable for families and individual adult patrons alike. Meet at the Visitor Center. For ages 16 and up, unless accompanied by an adult. Please call 410-922-3044 to register.

Maker Faire at Fall Fest

Sunday, November 8th
12:00pm 4:00pm
Garrison Forest School – Searle Athletic Center
300 Garrison Forest Rd, Owings Mills, MD 21117

The Garrison Forest School community welcomes families and students from GFS and from greater Baltimore to join us in an afternoon of STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics — activities designed for all ages at Maker Faire at Fall Fest 2015. Gets hands-on with the “Build a Helicopter” challenge, the “Creation Station,” and “Group Sculpture” engineering and art activity. Mess around with circuits and motors, assemble a laser-cut keepsake, explore the GFS STEAM Showcase featuring robotics, 3D technology in action, STEAM prizes, and much more!

BONUS (cool) Maker Faire admission and all activities are free for everyone!

When Maker Faire fun is done, explore Fall Fest, GFS’s community-wide fair with activities and booths designed for Pre-K through Grade 12 students, parents, and guests, with food, entertainment, and activities sponsored by GFS student groups, including our student STEM and arts organizations.

Family Make Night: 3D Printed Cookie Cutters

Tuesday, November 10th
6:30pm 8:30pm
Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center
1045 Light St, Baltimore, MD 21230

Make your own custom cookie cutter with 3D printers. In this workshop, you will learn how to design and print a simple 3D object. In the spirit of holiday treats, they’ll will be teaching you how to make a custom cookie cutter. Using a free online tool, you will design your own custom cookie cutter and then the folks at Digital Harbor Foundation will 3D print them for you! This event is great for those 5 years old and up with an accompanying grownup.  Family Make Night is FREE, but they do ask that each family RSVP ahead of time via Meetup.

SPECIAL NOTE: While we plan to start printing the cookie cutters during the event, you should plan to pick up your cookie cutter on the days following the event any week day between 3pm and 6pm.

Audubon Guided Bird Walk at Patterson Park

Friday, November 13th
8:00pm 9:30pm
Patterson Park Audubon Center
2901 E Baltimore St, Baltimore, MD 21224

Over 200 bird species have visited Patterson Park, an important migratory stopover in Baltimore City! Audubon experts from Patterson Park Audubon Center and Chesapeake Audubon Society will lead us in search of late fall migrants! Bring the whole family! No experience necessary. If you would like to borrow binoculars, drop them an email at ppaudubon@gmail.com– they have plenty to share.

No RSVP needed for this one, just arrive ready to explore! All ages and abilities are welcome. Meet at the fountain in the northwest corner of Patterson Park, closest to the intersection of South Patterson Park Avenue and East Lombard Street.

For more info on the Maryland STEM Festival or to check out the list of events close to home or just down the road, visit www.marylandstemfestival.org. Share your (cool) photos of all this STEM awesome with us on Instagram by tagging #coolprogeny.