ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Science Center is kicking off the summer with a messy event. The event named “Mess Fest” is fitting.
The event is all about the gooiest, slimiest, messiest science experiments you can imagine.
Parents, listen up! You’ll definitely want your kids to get some place other than your home this sticky and messy.
You’ve probably tried the Mentos and soda experiment before, but the Orlando Science Center demonstrates the reaction on a larger scale. Using several bottles and sticks of Mentos, soda goes bursting several feet in the air.
“A lot of people assume it’s chemistry, but it’s actually a physical change. The carbon dioxide that makes up the carbonation in soda gets trapped in the tiny ridges of the Mentos. They’re called nuclation sites,” Public Program Manager Spencer Jones said. “In doing so, offering so much surface area on a Mentos, all those bubbles build up all the pressure and it releases outwards.”
The Orlando Science Center is bringing back one of its most popular events, Mess Fest. It’s anything but clean science. The last event was held in 2019, before COVID-19 caused the pandemic that canceled many events.
“We have foam, Diet Coke, paint, slime,” Jones said. “By the end of the day, I’ll be covered in all kinds of stuff.”
One of the activities causes an explosion of soap foam.
“It relates to temperature difference, really. The extreme temperature difference between boiling water and liquid nitrogen,” Jones said.
Boiling water and dish soap are put into a bucket then liquid nitrogen is added before it blows.
“There’s a 500 degree temperature difference between the two things. When we mix them together the attempts to neutralize that temperature is explosive. It releases all that energy and all that pressure upwards and outwards,” Jones said.
Mess Fest is all hands-on experiments, activities and shows. It’s all about learning the science behind, sometimes accidental, messes. Visitors also get to create their own slime to take home. What’s the science behind slime?
“It’s the right amount of Borax to water ratio,” science program interpreter Alyssa Flores said. “Borax is a cleaning agent, most often used in laundry or rest room cleaner. It’s going to act as an activating agent for the glue. It stiffens it.”
Experiments will take place inside the building and outside. Visitors are encouraged to wear clothes they don’t mind getting a bit messy with foam, blue and soda.
The “mess-tivities” include:
- Slip into the Mess Hall and learn about the science behind our favorite messy activities with spin art, Alka seltzer painting, and more
- Meet some creative local artists and makers who have turned being messy into a profession
- You’ll have a blast learning about the science of suds with foam-splosions on the terrace
- Flip out during WeFlip Entertainment’s incredible acrobatic show
- Our littlest learners are invited to join Messy Science StoryTime and MiniMaker Workshops in KidsTown
- Create your own custom slime in Dr. Dare’s Lab
“Making a mess requires you to take risks, to do different things and problem solve. It involves all the same skills you need for science,” Jones said.
The Orlando Science Center will be hosting Mess Fest on May 14 and 15.
It’s not a separate ticketed event, so you’ll just need to purchase a general admission ticket to the Orlando Science Center. The event is open to all ages.
This event is FREE for members, $21 for adults, $19 for seniors and students, and $15 for youth (ages 2 – 11).
SCIENCE FOR ALL – General Admission Access Program: If you have an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) or WIC card with a State-issued photo ID matching the name and state as the card, you qualify for a $3 admission per person for up to six individuals.