Parking Lot Update

The UNC-owned Morehead parking lot is under construction. Weekday visitors must pay using ParkMobile (Zone Code 4468) or the Pay Station near our iguana. For more info, go to our Plan A Visit page.

UNC Science Expo

UNC Science Expo

Saturday, April 6, 2024 | 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Join us for one of the biggest science celebrations in the state!

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, in partnership with UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, students, and staff, will host a day of science learning and fun for our community. This year, Morehead will also celebrate its 75th anniversary by bringing even more excitement to the UNC Science Expo, including food trucks, stage performances, raffle prizes, and more.

The UNC Science Expo is a signature event of the annual North Carolina Science Festival and one of the biggest celebrations of science in the state. More than 100 booths staffed by UNC-Chapel Hill students, researchers, practitioners, and community volunteers fill the quads surrounding Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. From hands-on activities and games to science demonstrations and behind-the-scenes lab tours, the UNC Science Expo makes learning about science fun and engaging for people of all ages.

Spot, an agile mobile robot from Boston Dynamics, wows the crowd at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center as part of the UNC Science Expo on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Learn More

Join us to celebrate the amazing research, teaching, and learning that happens on UNC’s campus every day.

Expo Map

UNC Science Expo Parking

If you are attending the UNC Science Expo and plan to drive, please allow extra time for parking due to limited options caused by the Expo and other events in Chapel Hill. Please note that the parking lot in front of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center (250 E Franklin Street) will be closed on April 6.

For campus parking options, please visit https://maps.unc.edu/parking/. Parking is also available in town lots and on the street, but public parking fees may apply. For more information about Town of Chapel Hill parking options, visit https://parkonthehill.com/.

Accessible parking will be available on a first-come, first-served basis in the Old East lot, located on E Cameron Ave between the New East and Old East buildings. A drop-off zone will be available at the Morehead lot throughout the event.


Public Transportation

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center is accessible via Chapel Hill Transit, PART, and GoTriangle. Please note Chapel Hill Transit offers fare-free bus service between UNC, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro.


Directions to Morehead

From Raleigh and Eastern North Carolina

Take I-40 west to Exit 270 (US 15-501). Turn left off the exit and cross over I-40 onto US 15-501 south. Travel 1.5 miles. When the road forks, take the right fork to Franklin Street. Follow Franklin Street west for 2.5 miles and look for Morehead on the left.

From Pittsboro and the Sandhills Area

Take US 15-501 north to Chapel Hill. Cross Fordham Boulevard (this is the US 15-501 Bypass) and stay on US 15-501 Business, which is Columbia Street. Travel 1.5 miles and turn right onto Franklin Street. Follow Franklin Street east for a half mile and look for Morehead on the right.

From Durham and Areas Northeast of Durham

Take I-85 south to US 15-501. Travel south and cross I-40. Travel 1.5 miles. When the road forks, take the right fork to Franklin Street. Follow Franklin Street west for 2.5 miles and look for Morehead on the left.

From Burlington, Greensboro, and Western North Carolina

Take I-40 east to Exit 266 (NC Highway 86). Turn right onto Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Travel north 4.1 miles and turn left onto Franklin Street. Follow Franklin Street west for a half mile and look for Morehead on the right.

Main Stage Schedule

Time Act
11:00 UNC Science Expo Welcome
11:30 Duane Deardorff – Physics in Motion
12:00 Science Cheerleaders – 1 Million Acts of Science
12:30 Paperhand Puppet Intervention Parade
1:00 UNC Scientist Athletes – Mentos Explosion
1:30 75th Anniversary Ceremonial Remarks and Ping-Pong Eruption
2:00 Bouncing Bulldogs Jump Rope Team
2:30 Dropping Seeds in Motion – Science Through Movement
3:00 RTI International – Vortex Cannon
3:30 Giant Thunder Cloud Finale

Lab Tours

BeAM Makerspace Network

The Be a Maker (BeAM) network of makerspaces supports UNC students, staff, and faculty in the design and making of physical objects for education, research, entrepreneurship and recreation. BeAM offers training sessions, workshops, host classes and group activities in spaces equipped with emerging technologies like 3D printing as well as wood and metalworking shops. Recommended age is 12 and up. Visitors are not allowed to handle tools.

Wilkerson-Hill Lab

The Hill lab is an organic chemistry lab that specializes in the synthesis of novel pyrethroid insecticides. On the tour, you’ll learn about some of the equipment and techniques used to do advanced organic chemistry. If time allows, the tour may include a lab experiment. Suitable for children 10 and older.

Accessibility notice: The Lab is about a 15-20 min. walk from the Expo. This tour involves stairs and is not stroller/wheelchair friendly.

Physics & Astronomy

Physics demo show with 30 min. of demonstrations and a brief Q&A. Welcome to families of all ages.

Accessibility notice: The seating in Phillips 215 is in a tiered layout — wheelchair access is limited to the front row. All demonstrations are typically done in a classroom — there may be loud noises at time during the demos. 

CIRCLE Lab

The Child Imaging Research on Cognition and Life Experiences, or CIRCLE, Lab studies how different life experiences shape children’s brain development and behavior over time. At CIRCLE, child research participants play a lot of games while wearing
funky hats (an EEG cap) to measure how their brain responds and by blasting off into our cool “scanner spaceship” (MRI machine) to take pictures of their brains! During the tour, visitors will get a first-hand look at how these tools and techniques work. Welcome to families of all ages.

Innovate Carolina Junction

Join Blue Sky Innovations, led by CIO Steven King for an interactive showcase on artificial intelligence suitable for all age ranges. Our exhibit will allow students to create AI-generated art using the latest generative models and interact with AI-enabled robots, offering hands-on experience with a variety of AI technologies. This engagement aims to educate and inspire attendees about the practical and creative uses of AI.

Lab Tour Schedule

11:30

Wilkerson-Hill Lab

Innovate Carolina Junction

12:00 

Innovate Carolina Junction

12:30 

Wilkerson-Hill Lab

Innovate Carolina Junction

Circle Lab

1:00 

BeAM Makerspace Network

Physics & Astronomy

Innovate Carolina Junction 

1:30 

Wilkerson-Hill Lab

Innovate Carolina Junction

CIRCLE Lab 

2:00

Physics & Astronomy

Innovate Carolina Junction 

2:30 

BeAM Makerspace Network

Innovate Carolina Junction 

Located on Franklin Street, the UNC Science Expo is within walking distance of many restaurants and stores. This year, in honor of Morehead’s 75th anniversary, there will be even more excitement with a food truck rodeo, discounts and deals from participating businesses, and raffle prizes. Stop by the Info Booth to learn more.

Food Truck Rodeo 

Alsies Ice Cream 

Astro Dogs 

Cano Food Truck 

El Jefecito 

Finca Burger 

Kona Ice 

Poblano’s Tacos & More 

Sanders Southern Seafood 

Soul Forking Good 


Deals on Franklin Street

Pick up a 75th anniversary wristband at the Info Booth and use your wristband to score great deals at our Franklin Street partners.

Al’s Burger Shack – 20% discount Saturday, April 6, and Sunday, April 7 

Classic Carolina10% off your entire purchase 

Epilogue/Prologue – 15% off excluding alcohol and Rare & Collectible books 

Graduate Hotel – 15% off purchases in the Trophy Room restaurant

The Purple Bowl — 10% off your entire purchase

Shrunken Head – 50% off one item in store


Raffle Prizes  

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center  

  • An outreach visit for the class with the most students to enter the raffle!

Epilogue/Prologue

  • $50 gift card  

Graduate Hotel  

  • $75 gift certificate  

Classic Carolina  

  • UNC tumbler

The Purple Bowl

  • Purple Bowl hats

Educators can encourage their students to attend the UNC Science Expo and enter to win an outreach visit for their classroom.

Download our educator flyer here to learn more about how you can support the UNC Science Expo.

Download our promotional flyer here to share information about the UNC Science Expo with your students and their families.

Each year the Expo welcomes between 5,000-10,000 visitors from the Triangle region and beyond to the UNC-CH campus. More than 100 booths staffed by students, researchers, and other science-loving volunteers fill the quads surrounding Morehead. From hands-on activities and games to science demonstrations and behind-the-scenes lab tours, the Expo makes learning about science fun and engaging for people of all ages.

If your organization is interested in being a sponsor or exhibitor at the UNC Science Expo, please contact us.

Share your enthusiasm for STEM as a UNC Science Expo volunteer. Please contact Whit McMillan.

Will Freund | Community Education Specialist
wfreund@unc.edu
919.445.8434