Calgary’s citywide Beakerhead STEM / STEAM festival is a must-see all-ages event, celebrating the need for creativity, engineering and science combined. If you’re in the area September 19 to 23, make sure you plan to take in as many of the free installations as you can, and budget for tickets to a few of the wild and exciting STEM events happening around town.

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Calgary Beakerhead STEM Festival VR Tower Space Station signage

A Look Back at Beakerhead 2017

Last year’s Beakerhead was chock full of awe-worthy installations and events. Here are some of my faves!

The Serpent Mother by Flaming Lotus Girls

Awe-inspiring Mother Serpent at Calgary's Beakerhead STEM / STEAM festival.

I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a pyro at heart. If you read my geek travel guide to Melbourne, Florida, you’ll know already that Disney’s Hallowe’en fireworks had reduced me to tears of utter joy.

The Serpent Mother was a sight to behold last year. Many stood near the fiery, interactive sculpture for close to an hour, waiting with baited breath for the serpent and its egg to scorch the darkened skies.

The 12-year-old, massive, fire-breathing, serpent body is a sight that entertained all ages. Especially those who visited at the right time to watch the Serpent Mother and her egg shoot flames 40 feet up into the air.

The Serpent Mother has travelled the globe, and hopefully continues to delight its fans even now. If you happen to come across this incredible bit of art, be sure to take time to appreciate its beauty.

Calgary’s Municipal Space Station

Calgary Beakerhead STEM Festival Calgary Tower Space Station

As far fetched as the concept sounds, “space elevators” are likely to become a viable method of transportation within the next 50 years.

Japan is conducting their first test of elevator movement in space as soon as next week. 

One of the leading reasons for space elevators to not exist today, is that we don’t yet have a material strong enough to tether a station to Earth.

What is a space elevator though?

It’s very much what it sounds like. Imagine travelling up, up, UP, out of Earth’s atmosphere until you can nearly touch Orion’s belt. That would be a cool name for a store in a public space station, am I right?

Calgary Beakerhead STEM Festival Calgary Tower Space Station VR

The Calgary Municipal Space Station installation at the Calgary Tower did a remarkable job of giving event-goers a taste of how the elevator experience would feel through use of VR.

With those LG VR goggles, we were tasked to sit on those benches while sitting inside an elevator that would take us to the top viewing area of Calgary Tower.

Thanks to the VR video that was synced to the amount of time it takes to go up the long elevator, we were in for a physical rush, feeling as if we truly left Earth in an elevator that would take us to the municipal space station high above.

And, thanks to the actors employed for this project, it very much felt as if we were a group of tourists setting foot on a station the likes of Deep Space Nine (that’s Trekkie reference for you non-nerds.)

The experience is something that I will remember forever.

I’ve been up tall towers on numerous ocassions. CN Tower? It’s a neighbour of mine. With that said, it is an entirely different experience altogether when you have VR goggles strapped to your head, and the motion of the elevator convincingly moving you higher, beyond the stratosphere.

Must-See Beakerhead 2018 Events

Calgary Beakerhead STEM STEAM Festival Centre and Steven

Check out the full list of Beakerhead’s 2018 events of fun STEM activities for everyone to prepare your schedule, and be sure to download the PDF to your smartphone too.

I would be all over these events in particular if I could find my way to Calgary later this month!

Sextant Tesla Coil FREE
September 19 to 23
Fort Calgary – 750 9 Ave SE, Calgary

If you haven’t seen the beauty of tesla coils dancing around, playing a rhythmic beat, you definitely need to watch this show. What makes this interactive experience even more awe-worthy is the chance to play a keyboard that activates the coil spark!

Calgary Beakerhead STEM Festival Bubbles Memorial

Build Your Own Cell Phone Charger $75
Sunday September 23, 1PM
Light Up the World – 1121 14 Ave SW, Calgary

You’ve seen a charger a time or two. You may be using one now just to have enough juice to read this post on your tablet. But what’s inside? Find out exactly what makes these pocket size bundles of energy tick, while building your own charger. This may be epic knowledge to have for a post-apocalyptic world.

The Locked Library $42
Friday September 21, 7 to 10PM
Central Library – 616 Macleod Trail SE, Calgary

I have a bit of a thing for escape rooms. Can’t get enough of them. This is why I will be so very jealous of those that will take on the Locked Library.

Three hours and six storeys to figure out the key to unlock the old Central Library. Eeep!

Will you have what it takes to escape?

Hack the Flyer Racing Competition FREE
Saturday September 18 at 6PM
East Village RiverWalk

Watch the literal display of the little engine that could. Witness the amazing feats of hacked Radio Flyer wagons turned into speedy raceable cars that will tear up the streets of Calgary.

Will these hacked wagons make it to the finish line? Be there to find out!

The Intuition Project $21.69 – $32.04
Wednesday September 19 8PM to Sunday September 23 1:30AM
West Village Theatre – 2007 10 Ave SW, Calgary

Are you a believer? Open your third-eye and join Ghost River Theatre’s Six Senses Series in this hands-on immersive experience to observe and analyse, and maybe even change your perception on that controversial sixth sense.

Dreams Never Die FREE
September 19 to 23, all day
1405 4 St SW, Calgary

Remember that litteral uplifting Disney movie that focused on the passage of time and change? Where the once thriving neighbourhood of old slowly changes into the soon to be thriving urban development of the future.

Up is something that any urbanite can respect and appreciate as we’re constantly surrounded by coming-soon signs that promise large developments four years from now.

Entrepreneurial artist Maria Galura has created an installation to celebrate the mid-phase of redevelopment – it sounds like there will be a ton of balloons involved!

A Food Tour in Calgary

As part of my trip to Calgary, we stopped by a number of truly delicous locations for meals and snacks.

I absolutely love it when food becomes an experience, which is something you’ll enjoy in Calgary’s downtown.

Here are some of my faves that we were introduced to with Calgary’s Food Tours.

Ollia Macarons and Tea
810C 16 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0S9

If you’re a fan of pumpkins, they have a delicious macaron for you, YUM!

Cibo Ristorante
1012 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 0A5

Ooh, are you particular on pizza crust? Cibo’s has the right amount of soft & crunchy with every bite!

Made by Marcus Micro-Creamery
1013 17 Ave SW #121, Calgary, AB T2T 0A7

Come here for the lemon-blueberry ice cream. Stay for the beet & raspberry sorbet! This is a local favourite, so expect a line for their oh-so-yummy iced desserts.

Anju Restaurant
344 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0A5

Korean-Canadian fusions at its best, by Chef Roy Oh.

618 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0B4

A hidden room with great atmo for a glass of red/white with a charcuterie platter. Here’s a hint: Look for the puppy.

Calcutta Cricket Club
340 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0A8

Upbeat Indian flavour. They’ve taken your fave dishes and made them better! Ask for the papri chaat.

Will you be attending Beakerhead this year?  What are you looking forward to most??