University of South Florida St. Petersburg Campus



St. Petersburg Science Festival and MarineQuest goes virtual

Science Festival

Event provides immersive online experience for public science and art.

People throughout the Tampa Bay area and beyond can get inspired, engage their curiosity and deepen their knowledge of science and art at the St. Petersburg Science Festival and MarineQuest on Saturday, October 16. Like last year, the immersive experience connecting scientists, environmental organizations and cultural institutions with the public will be held virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The events have become fixtures in the community and must-attend occasions for families around the region. The virtual St. Petersburg Science Festival can be accessed here on October 16. The virtual MarineQuest can be seen here.

“The rise in COVID infections and the potential risk to children, our target audience, has led us to pivot this year’s St. Petersburg Science Festival to an online virtual platform. This was not an easy decision,” said E. Howard Rutherford, St. Petersburg Science Festival co-chair. “The need for understanding how science is relevant in our everyday lives is more important than ever, given the events of this year. Our hope is to hold a mini Science Festival live in the spring”

Attendees will enjoy the thrill of discovery via live demos, unique behind-the-scenes tours and interactive activities. This year, virtual exhibits come from institutions such as USF College of Marine Science, Mote Marine Laboratory, SeaWorld and more. Participants can discover how hurricane hunters track storms, learn how to identify fish and protect Florida endangered species.

The festival continues to devote a day organized to school children, with more than 1,200 expected to tune into live demos and pre-recorded activities during a sneak peek of the St. Petersburg Science Festival on Friday, October 15. MarineQuest will be holding a virtual school day on Thursday, October 14.

During the sneak peek, students will learn about getting involved in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) fields and different career paths. The growing interest in STEAM subjects and career opportunities for students and in the community was a major reason for establishing the festival.

“Career opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art and math are continuing to increase, but youth in our community may have a certain perspective of who works in those fields that causes them to have difficulty seeing these careers as viable options,” said Alison Barlow, director of St. Petersburg’s Innovation District. “In reality, today’s STEAM professionals are young, possessing diverse backgrounds and often working outdoors. It is imperative that we introduce children to STEAM opportunities and provide access to explore possible careers.”

The joint event with MarineQuest typically attract between 15,000-20,000 attendees each year.

“For more than 20 years, MarineQuest has been an opportunity for Floridians of all ages to learn about Florida’s fish, wildlife and their habitats. This year, we invite you to join MarineQuest from the safety and comfort of your home,” said Gil McRae, Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. “Throughout the event, we will be visiting virtually with some of our research programs. While we will miss seeing you in person this year, we are excited to share MarineQuest with you, virtually.”

For more information, visit

This year’s festival sponsors include:

  • City of St Petersburg
  • Duke Energy
  • Eckerd College
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
  • Nielsen
  • Spectrum Bay News 9
  • St. Pete Innovation District
  • Tampa Bay Times
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • USF College of Marine Science
  • USF St Petersburg campus
  • WEDU

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