Support Us Button Widget

Wisconsin Science Festival events in Madison


WSF logo on a mushroom | Photo by @wiscifest

Table of Contents

The Wisconsin Science Festival (WSF) is returning for its 11th year tomorrow, Thurs., Oct. 21, and running through Sun., Oct. 24. This state-wide festival features in-person + virtual events throughout Wisconsin for people of all ages and interests as they relate to the world of science. 🧪

Fungi is this year’s special focus, with events discussing the role psychedelic compounds can play in medicine + how to identify beneficial and harmful mushrooms in the wild. 🍄


By the numbers

  • Last year, the WSF had over 43,000 Wisconsinites participate — a 30% increase from previous years. Can we raise that number again this year?
  • Over 1,000 students from Wisconsin schools attended more than 100 WSF events as a part of school field trips. Is your child participating in one? We’d love to hear about it or see pictures from the event.

WSF events happening in Madison:

  • Big Ideas for Busy People: How Do We Know What We Know – The Role of Evidence in Advancing Understanding | Thurs., Oct. 21 | 7 p.m. | UW-Madison Discovery Building, 330 N. Orchard St. | Free | Listen and engage with a panel of scientists who will delve into the role evidence plays in scientific discoveries.
  • BioBlitz at the Arboretum | Every event day | 4 a.m.-10 p.m. | UW-Madison Arboretum | Free | Download the iNaturalist app on your device, find at least 10 species in the environment around you add your observations to the WSF Bioblitz project.
  • Wisconsin Book Festival: Revelations in Air | Sat., Oct. 23 | 4:30-5:20 p.m. | Madison Central Library, Community Room 302 | Free | Join author Jude Stewart as they teach you how to use your noses like experts.
  • Allen Centennial Garden Tour | Every event day | 8 a.m.-8 p.m. | Allen Centennial Garden, 620 Babcock Dr. | Free | Take a tour of the beautiful garden center that’s open everyday from dusk until dawn.
  • Q + A with WGNHS Staff | Sat., Oct. 23 | 11 a.m.-1 p.m. | UW-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve | Free | Head to the rock wall at the entrance to Picnic Point to meet up with Wisconsin’s geology experts and learn about the rocks found in the wall.
  • Washburn Observatory Open House | Thurs., Oct. 21-Sat., Oct. 23 | 8 a.m.-10 p.m. | 1401 Observatory Dr. | Free | Learn more about the building + observe interesting celestial objects through the 15.6 inch refracting telescope.
  • Learn to Identify Red Granite — Wisconsin’s State Rock | Every event day | Virtual | Free | This self-guided activity allows you to learn about the history and formation of red granite across Wisconsin.
  • DIY Quicksand | Every event day | Virtual | Free | Explore the physics of quicksand + the only materials needed are some cornstarch and water.

Check out the full list of events happening across the entire state + all of the virtual offerings for the festival.

The best part? The WSF is made possible by private funding and corporate support. No taxpayer money is used to present the festival.