WSU Turns Parks Into Educational Hubs for Arts, Science

OGDEN, Utah – Children of all ages can engage in science experiments and art projects all summer long thanks to the interactive outreach programs Science in the Parks and Arts in the Parks.

The eighth annual Science in the Parks and the fifth annual Arts in the Parks programs are back for 2014. The programs will run for six weeks in June and July from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The programs partner with the Ogden School District summer lunch program. While students eat lunch, they spend an hour participating in hands-on learning activities.

WSU physics professor Adam Johnston, who envisioned and developed Science in the Parks, 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.”

Each day of the art-themed weeks, participants engage in a different activity. On Mondays, during the week of arts, children create learn the art of storytelling; Tuesdays and Wednesdays they get involved in music and dance; Thursdays are for puppets and theater; and Fridays allow time for the children to create their own works of art.

“The music day on Wednesday is probably the most popular year after year. The kids get to have an opportunity to learn about the instruments and try them out,” said Lydia Gravis, co-director of Arts in the Parks.

“It’s been exciting to see the growth in popularity, and it’s been exciting to see the same kids year after year,” Gravis said. She also expressed gratitude for student volunteers from the Jerry & Vickie Moyes College of Education, noting the summer programs benefits student teachers as much as it does the children. With the arts and science programs seeing an increased popularity year after year, more students and community members are encouraged to volunteer.

 “It’s a great experience for them to get hands-on experience working with a variety of children from different backgrounds who might not have had opportunities to engage in many art activities,” said Gravis.

During the science-dedicated weeks, children discover sensory experiments with volunteers. See it!, Hear it!, Build it!, Move it! and Feel it! are the themes for the new events planned for this year.

The dates and locations for this summer’s schedule are:

Arts in the Parks
June 2-6,  at Lorin Farr Park (769 Canyon Road, Ogden)
June 9-13, at Liberty Park (751 21st St., Ogden)
June 16-20, at Monroe Park (850 30th St., Ogden)
June 23-27, at Mt. Ogden Park (3144 Taylor Ave., Ogden)
June 30 - July 3, at Jaycee Park (2465 Fillmore Ave., Ogden)
July 7-11, at West Ogden Park (751 24th St., Ogden)

Science in the Parks
June 9-13 at Lorin Farr Park (769 Canyon Road, Ogden)
June 16-20 at Liberty Park (751 21st St., Ogden) 
June 23-27 at Monroe Park (850 30th St., Ogden)         
June 30-July 3 at Mt. Ogden Park (3144 Taylor Ave., Ogden)
July 7-11 at Jaycee Park (2564 Fillmore Ave., Ogden)
July 14-18 at West Ogden Park (751 24th St., Ogden)
Throughout the years, the programs have continued to adapt to the needs of involved students and their schools.
“We are bringing in Rachel Hedman, a professional storyteller. I’m very excited, I think the storytelling will be a much stronger event this year,” said WSU history professor and arts program co-director Kathryn MacKay. “We are very committed to being supportive of the public school system, and trying to pick up the slack from programs they’ve had to cut.” 

In addition to Weber State and the Ogden School District, supporters of the two series include Weber County RAMP (recreation, arts, museums, parks), the Alan E. and Jeanne N. Hall Endowment for Community Outreach, the Val A. Browning Charitable Foundation and the Utah Families Foundation.

Thanks to continued support from 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

For high-resolution photos, please visit the following links:

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Adam Johnston, director Science in the Parks
801-626-7711 •
Lydia Gravis, co-director Arts in the Parks
801-626-7689 •
Kathryn Mackay, co-director Arts in the Parks
801-626-6782 •
Raychel Johnson, University Communications
801-626-7948 •