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Don't Try This at Home! Exciting live science demonstrations at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

See all the experiments that are too messy, too loud and too shocking to try at home!

February 19, 2015

San Diego, CA—Don't Try This at Home is a series of new live shows at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center that explore science that's too messy, too noisy and too hair-raising to do at home!

Visitors can enjoy up to three different shows throughout the day, one show performed each hour, live, on stage, providing plenty of opportunities for Fleet visitors to experience Don't Try This at Home. The live science shows are included with admission, so there’s no extra charge to see multiple outrageous shows.

Attendees will witness the messy combination of a leaf blower and a roll of toilet paper, experience frozen water destroying a metal pipe before their eyes, see an epic explosion of ping pong balls, and—if they’re brave enough—participate in the Chain of Pain, to see how shocking science can truly be!

The best part about Don’t Try This at Home is it is so much fun the audience forgets that they are also learning about science!

In the Loud show attendees will learn about states of matter and how when matter changes from solid to liquid or liquid to gas it expands. If this expanding matter is put into a confined container the results can be explosive!

The Messy show will demonstrate how chemical reactions can also change the composition of matter, and how exothermic reactions combined with soap can trap the gas to create a wild mess of bubbles.

In the Shocking show a Van de Graaf generator is used to demonstrate how positively and negatively charged particles can repel one another, and how electric charges can travel through the air!

Shows last approximately 20 thrilling minutes and accommodate about 100 courageous viewers, who will be continuously reminded, Don’t Try This at Home!

Attendees can extend the show experience into the Tinkering Studio: Don't Try This at Home. Our popular Tinkering Studio is a place where visitors can imagine, explore and create. The Tinkering Studio provides inspiration, materials and assistance, and visitors provide the creative genius. Now, the Tinkering Studio has burst from its usual room at the Fleet and has taken over the main gallery. More mess, more tools, more materials, more science and more fun awaits Fleet visitors!

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To schedule a media preview or live, in-studio demonstration of Don’t Try This at Home, please contact Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Public Relations Manager Nathan Young at 619-685-5743 or nyoung@rhfleet.org.


Below are descriptions of demonstrations that can be performed specifically for television and other media outlets. Demonstrations can be performed in studio or here at the Fleet. All demonstrations can be conducted in under four minutes and participation from the on-air personalities will be encouraged. Our demonstrators will be able to explain the science behind each demonstration, too.

The Toilet Paper Gun: See what happens when a roll of toilet paper is combined with a leaf blower. I’ll give you a hint: it’s messy! This demonstration shows how air pressure can be used to have fun and make a mess. The demonstration can be conducted at the Fleet or in a television studio. It requires a power outlet and cleanup is easy.

The Cloud Explosion: Liquid nitrogen is mixed with hot water to create an explosion of liquid vapor, followed by a stunning cloud that will flow out of its container and spread an eerie fog all over your studio. This experiment can be performed safely indoors or outdoors. It may lead to some liquid splashing, so outdoors is preferable. Access to hot water is required. Clean up is minimal.

Elephant Toothpaste: An exothermic reaction creates a dazzling blast of colorful foam. This is a contained explosion and can be performed indoors or outdoors. It requires at least 10 feet of ceiling space and there is a risk that the foam could stain carpets or ceilings, so demonstrating this experiment outdoors or at the Fleet is preferable. Clean up is relatively easy but will require a sink or tub of water.

Ping Pong Ball Explosion: A two liter soda bottle containing liquid nitrogen is buried in a bucket of ping pong balls until the pressure in the soda bottle causes it to burst. There is a very LOUD explosion, followed by ping pong balls flying EVERYWHERE. This spectacular demonstration is the grand finale of our “Loud” show. It can be performed indoors, outdoors or here at the Fleet. Due to the noise and the mess it is suggested that news crews come to experience this demonstration at the Fleet.  


About the Fleet Science Center:

The Fleet Science Center connects people of all ages to the possibilities and power of science to create a better future. At the science center, you can explore and investigate more than 100 interactive exhibits that pique your curiosity and become immersed in an IMAX film adventure that shows the wonders of the planet--and beyond--in the Eugene Heikoff and Marilyn Jacobs Heikoff Giant Dome Theater. For young science enthusiasts, the Fleet offers science workshops both at the Fleet and at schools throughout San Diego County. For adults, we offer events like Suds & Science and Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar™ at locations all over San Diego. We support communities by leveraging science resources to meet local needs. Teachers are encouraged to join our Teacher Partner Program and take advantage of our professional development opportunities. Additionally, at the Fleet Science Center, visitors will find unique educational toys and games, books, IMAX DVDs and more in the North Star Science Store, and pizzas, sandwiches, salads and healthy treats in our Craveology cafe. Located in Balboa Park, at 1875 El Prado, two blocks south of the San Diego Zoo on Park Blvd., the Fleet is San Diego's science center. Science starts here and opens a world of possibility. For information regarding current admission prices, visit our website at fleetscience.org.
About Balboa Park:
Located near downtown San Diego, Balboa Park is the largest urbancultural park in the United States. First established by the City of San Diego in 1868, it is also one of the oldest city parks in the nation and is the most visited single destination in San Diego. Its 1,200 acres include 17 museums, many gardens and attractions, the San Diego Zoo, miles of hiking trails, and multiple athletic complexes to explore and discover. For more information, visit balboapark.org.