WSU Makes Science as Easy as Play in the Park

OGDEN, Utah – Hundreds of Utah school children will create, invent and lean about science all while having fun at the park this summer.

Now in its seventh year, the annual Science in the Parks is set to get under way for six weeks in June and July.

The program partners with the Ogden School District summer lunch program. While students eat lunch, they participate in science projects from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Each day of the week offers a different theme and collection of activities. For example, on Mondays, families get to play with lenses and make rainbows; Wednesdays, they create magnetic structures and float aluminum boats; Fridays are “Feel It” days where students experiment with foaming chemical reactions and various slimes and goo.

WSU physics professor Adam Johnston, who envisioned and developed the program, said the idea of mixing play and science is getting increased attention. “Having kids tinker and create is something that is natural to children,” Johnston said. “Showing them that this is at the heart of science is exactly what we want them to understand.”

WSU alumnus Ryan Nixon worked as a student organizer with Science in the Parks for two years. He gained a great appreciation for the curiosity and inventiveness of children. After teaching three years in the Provo School District, he is now pursuing a doctoral degree in science education at the University of Georgia.

“I think Science in the Parks definitely helped me be a better teacher and helped me get a higher vision of what teaching can be,” Nixon said. “I learned to not worry about kids getting stuck on the way I did things. I wanted to send the message that exploration was safe. I got them started, and then they went off on their own. I adopted this philosophy in my own classroom.”

The dates and locations for this summer’s schedule are as follows:
  • June 10-14 Lorin Farr Park (769 Canyon Road, Ogden)
  • June 17-21 Liberty Park (751 21st St., Ogden)
  • June 24-28 Monroe Park (850 30th St., Ogden)  
  • July 1-3 Jaycee Park (2564 Fillmore Ave., Ogden) (Note the July 4-5 holiday break.)
  • July 8-12 Mt. Ogden Park (3144 Taylor Ave., Ogden)
  • July 15-19 West Ogden Park (751 24th St., Ogden)
In addition to Weber State and Ogden School District, the series is supported by Weber County RAMP (recreation, arts, museums, parks), the Val A. Browning Foundation and the Utah Families Foundation.

WSU’s Science in the Parks program was so successful, it led to the creation of “Arts in the Parks,” which offers experiences in theater, literature, dance, music and visual arts.  The two programs are at different parks each week

Thanks to sponsors and volunteers, the programs are free to children of all ages. For information about volunteering or to find a schedule for Science in the Parks, visit For more about Arts in the Parks, visit

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Adam Johnston, physics professor
801-626-7711 •
Allison Barlow Hess, director of Public Relations
801-626-7948 •