Bay Area Science Festival at AT&T Park
By: Stephanie Hansen
On Saturday November 3rd at AT&T Park, was the annual San Francisco Bay Area Science Festival. I had the opportunity to be a part of this event through the Marine Science Institute. We started the day bright and early, putting two Leopard Sharks, three Barred Surfperch and one Starry Flounder into our Mobile Aquarium, along with loading up the truck full of fun Marine artifacts including: a Grey Whale vertebrae and rib bone, baleen from a Blue Whale, a Harbor Seal pelt, shark jaws, and many hardy shells. We started setting up our table at AT&T Park, just outside Marina Gate with our backs to the San Francisco Bay. We could hardly believe our luck, it was the perfect day to be in the City!
The Science Festival officially started at 11 O’clock, but since our table was just outside the gates, our sharks started attracting people around 10! Once the gates opened, there was a lot of hustle and bustle coming from within the park; excited children running around, parents trying to keep up, and teenagers looking to get extra credit for school by attending. There were over 30,000 people at this year’s event, some people staying the whole day, others stopping in just for a peek. With over 150 exhibits ranging from Technology, Engineering, Paleontology, Biophysics, Genetics, to Math and many more, there was something for everyone! Many of the exhibits were hands-on: creating slime, noise makers, making airplanes or rockets and seeing who’s flew the furthest! However, many people agreed that our table was the best; we had the only live animals at the park!
At our table we answered many questions about all of our animals. Our favorites were about the Leopard Sharks (no, they aren’t Tiger Sharks; yes, they are very nice) and the Barred Surfperch (no, those aren’t piranhas). Most people had no idea that Blue Whale’s Baleen was so rigid, or that it was made of the same thing human’s fingernails and hair is made of (keratin)! Overall, the day was a complete success; we shared information, piqued interest of impressionable minds, and broke stigmas about sharks being mindless eating machines to those young and old. I am so glad that I was able to be a part of the Bay Area Science Festival this year, and I know our Leopard Sharks were too!