FAQs – Sneak Peek Friday

Friday, April 24, 2020: 9:00am-3:00pm

Saturday, April 25, 2020: 10:00am-6:00pm
Sunday, April 26, 2020: 10:00am-4:00pm

Yes, Sneak Peak Friday is free of charge but is ONLY open to school groups, homeschoolers and military families. No tickets are required but you MUST pre-register.

Pre-Register Here: https://usasciencefestival.org/attend/sneak-peak-friday/register/

The Expo will be held inside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C.

801 Mount Vernon Place, NW
Washington, DC 20001


Public Transportation:

Use http://www.wmata.com to plan your public transportation by metro or bus. The closest Metro stop is Mt. Vernon Square/7th St-Convention Center, but you can also arrive at Gallery Place/Chinatown and walk a few blocks.







Reserve your parking in advance and get there on time, stress free!

SpotHero is the nation’s leading parking reservation app to book convenient and affordable parking, whether it’s for an event, commute to work or even airport parking.

To reserve your parking spot for the USA Science and Engineering Festival, visit the Washington Convention Center SpotHero Parking Page and book a spot with rates up to 50% off drive-up. New to SpotHero? Download the SpotHero iPhone | Android app.

School Bus/Chartered Motor Coaches:
ARRIVAL BY SCHOOL BUS OR CHARTERED MOTOR COACH IS VERY DIFFICULT and can result in extended wait times for arrivals and departures, due to heavy commuter traffic and limited drop off areas at the Convention Center. We are working to develop a transportation plan for schools arriving by bus, however, please consider alternate public or private forms of transportation if possible. Due to construction in the area, the 2018 bus arrival and pick up procedure will differ from prior years.

If your registered group is arriving by a school bus or chartered motor coach, you will be notified with additional information regarding bus arrivals and departures.

IMPORTANT NOTE – Buses stopped in undesignated areas surrounding the Convention Center will be subject to fines by the police. Contact [email protected] with questions about bus guidelines.

No! There are exhibits for all ages and scientific knowledge, from the science professional to just the curious.

Attendees will be school-aged children from 1st grade up to 12th grade.

As you walk among the booths, you’ll find over 3,000 different hands-on activities, experiments, and lots of scientists and engineers to talk to. Most hands-on activities will take about 15 minutes to complete. This is not show and tell… it’s show and do! 

Back by popular demand is our STEM Career Pavilion with over 50 colleges and universities in the College Fair and over 20 companies showcasing STEM internships, mentorships and afterschool programs.


Visit our media kit here.

Contact Shawn Flaherty directly for media questions, [email protected].

There will be all kinds of exhibits, from flight simulators, virtual reality environments and surgical robots to making virus structures with marshmallows and toothpicks. The Expo is not a Science Fair static poster session but rather a dynamic, hands- on, interactive, fun and entertaining set of activities, displays and demonstrations. There is more stuff than you can do in one day so plan to come for both days as there will be different stage shows on each day.

There are no Stage Shows during Sneak Peak Friday, but come back on Saturday and Sunay to see the three major stages throughout the Expo! There will, however, be several exhibitors with stages set up in their exhibit areas that will feature interactive games, Q&A with scientists and engineers, and other cool science demos.

Either search the exhibit page on our website or ask at one of the information booths at the Expo. The long list of exhibits is searchable by organization name or keyword on our website. Once you find the exhibit you are interested in, make note of its booth number and then locate it on the Expo map. To make it easier for you to find your way around, we have divided the Expo area into different sections. The individual booths are numbered within each section.

Expo maps will be available on site at information booths and from Festival Representatives who will be placed throughout the Expo grounds.  You can also download an Expo Map (Click Here) or you can build your own Exhibit List via our website. Simply go to the Exhibits page and select the exhibits you are interested in. Then print your personal schedule.


Many of the 500 plus participating organizations exhibiting at the Expo will be prepared to talk about internships, scholarships, mentorships, after school programs and clubs, university programs, job opportunities and much more. Also, they can visit the Career Pavilion designated for high-school students. There you can find out about colleges, scholarships, internships and meet scientists and engineers to get all your career advice.

While we don’t have any designated quiet areas, there will be several seating areas within the expo for kids needing to take a break.

Your curiosity!!!

Strollers are permitted but due to the large crowds, NO student backpacks will be permitted inside the Convention Center. Small cinch packs and lunches are acceptable for students. Adult chaperones may carry a standard backpack.

Please note there will NOT be a secured location to leave any personal belongings. All attendees are responsible for their own belongings. Strollers will not be available for rent at the venue. There is no place to store personal belongings at the Convention Center.

No. Pets are not permitted inside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, unless they are a service animal. Service dogs must have proper identification (vest, documentation, etc.) to enter.

Yes, we encourage you to bring your camera. Make sure you post some to the USASEF Facebook page, on Instagram and Twitter @USAScienceFest! Use #SciFest and #STEM! 

Yes, Festival t-shirts will be for sale in both youth and adult size. Please bring a check or credit card, cash will not be accepted for office Festival merchandise. Food vendors and other retails may accept cash.

Concession carts will be available inside the Convention Center offering a wide selection of food and beverage options for purchase. All food must be consumed in the designated lunch areas and attendees must dispose of their own trash. If you have any food allergies or special dietary restrictions, we recommend you bring your own packed punch to avoid any on-the-day issues.

There are also numerous restaurants in the immediate surrounding area. Explore the Shaw Neighborhood Map to see restaurants close by.

Absolutely! Please be aware that all food must be consumed in designated lunch areas and that there is no place to store lunches or personal belongings at the Convention Center. Attendees are responsible for discarding their own trash before leaving the lunch areas.

Yes, there are ATMs located inside the Convention Center.  Look for the ATM signs or check the map while at the Festival.

The USA Science & Engineering Festival has partnered with onPeak to provide you with affordable hotel options for your trip to Washington, DC.  Available only through the official hotel reservation page, rooms are limited and available on a first come, first served basis.

Click here to view the official hotel reservation page. 

The Walter E. Washington Convention Center has several protocols in place to handle incident management. The building is equipped with monitored surveillance cameras and an in-house security firm, which provides officers at the main entrances and throughout the building. The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) are on site to assist with emergency situations. The Convention Center also has a 24-hour manned Control Center in direct communication with the Department of Homeland Security, Division of National Fusion Centers, Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies and DC Fire EMS. 

For the 2018 Festival, additional crowd management and access control staff will be present throughout the building, as well as, at main entrances. An Event Command Center will also be in place to monitor activity.  Representatives from MPD, DC Fire EMS, Security, Office of Public Safety and Transportation, as well as, Festival management will be present in the Event Command Center during Festival hours.

All lost children should go to an Info Booth where attempts to contact family will be made. All lost children will be escorted to the Lost Child Waiting Area should immediate attempt to reunited prove unsuccessful. Should you find a lost child, or lose a child, please contact the nearest Info Booth to radio for assistance.  Maps will be available on site which identifies the Info Booth locations. Parents/Guardians will be required to show ID when identifying a missing child.

We also offer the following advice and tips to prevent being separated from your group:

  • We recommend one adult chaperone per ten (10) child attendees.
  • Fasten your name and cell phone number to the clothing of any child aged 7 or younger; this can be anything from a sticker to a small card they have in their pocket.
  • Determine a meeting place and communicate that location to your children in advance, in the event that you/they are separated from your group.
  • If you plan to split up the group, be sure to pre-plan and communicate meet up times and locations.

Yes, items can be taken to, or found at, the Info Booth in Hall A.

For minor emergencies, please take the sick or injured person to an Info Booth or first aid location, in each Hall. Maps will be available on site which identifies the Info Booth and First Aid locations. For major emergencies, please send someone to the nearest Info Booth or alert a staff member, wearing a Festival t-shirt. Each staff member has a radio which connects them to emergency personnel. Please try to relay as much information about the situation as possible.

The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is committed to accommodating the needs of individuals with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
A curbside drop-off for wheelchairs and sidewalk curb cut-outs is located at each corner of the Convention Center perimeter. There are also ramps leading from the 9th Street and 7th Street corners to the doors at the Mount Vernon Place entrance. Automatic doors are located at the Mount Vernon Place, L Street and Metro (7th and M Streets) entrances. Inside the Center, meeting rooms, exhibit halls and public areas are all served by conveniently located elevators. Telephones, drinking fountains and restrooms throughout the building are wheelchair accessible. The taxi curbside cut-out located at Mount Vernon Place is available for wheelchair drop-off/transfers. ADA ramps are accessible from either end of Mount Vernon Place.

For more information click here.

There are lots of ways to join the fun right now!

Follow us on social media and join the conversation! We are on Facebook and use @USAScienceFest for Instagram and Twitter. Our hashtag is #SciFest (and #XSTEM for the X-STEM Symposium and #NiftyFifty for the Nifty Fifty Program). 

You can also join our Volunteer Outreach Team to spread the word about the Festival.

Thank you for your interest in volunteer at the Festival Expo. Click here to learn more about our volunteer outreach program. Groups and students are welcome!