Kids of all ages welcome at Fermilab’s annual Family Open House on Feb. 10

Media contact
  • Amanda Early, Fermilab Office of Education and Public Outreach,, 630-840-4165
  • Andre Salles, Fermilab Office of Communication,, 630-840-3351

Children attempt to make as many structures as they can while following the same kinds of rules particles use to combine. Photo: Reidar Hahn

Fermilab’s Family Open House is a chance for the whole family to spend an afternoon learning about science in a hands-on way and have fun doing it. Fermilab is America’s premier particle physics and accelerator laboratory, located in Batavia, Illinois. This year’s event, running from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10, will feature the Great Neutrino Hunt, the Cooler than Cool show in the auditorium, a memorial to former director Leon Lederman, and several activities for kids and their parents to enjoy.

The next 12 months promise to be important ones for Fermilab, with new projects breaking ground and new results from our world-class experiments, and the Family Open House is one way for the lab to keep neighbors informed and included, and to welcome new visitors to the lab. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about what happens at Fermilab, this is a great (and free) opportunity.

New to this year’s Open House is the Great Neutrino Hunt hosted by Fermilab Friends for Science Education. Use your detector to find the elusive neutrinos and become a part of the collaboration. The event will also feature a live event where participants will take part in a virtual visit of the Sanford Underground Research Facility, site of the future Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, hosted by Fermilab.

About a dozen scientists and engineers will be ready to answer questions in the exhibit area on the 15th floor of Fermilab’s Wilson Hall. There will be a panel discussion where participants can ask questions of STEM professionals and hear about their work and their backgrounds.

Children work together
to find the center of mass of various objects. Photo: Reidar Hahn

In the Wilson Hall atrium, there will be an exhibit commemorating the work and spirit of Leon Lederman, Nobel laureate and Fermilab’s second director. Stop by to view artifacts from our archives and hear stories from those who knew and worked with Lederman.

Families can enjoy a physics carnival, including interactive exhibits by students from seven different schools: Benet Academy (Lisle), Byron High School (Byron), Carl Sandburg High School (Orland Park), Northside College Prep (Chicago), Quincy Notre Dame High School (Quincy), UIC College Prep (Chicago) and West Aurora High School.

Fermilab’s two remote operations centers on the first floor of Wilson Hall will also be accessible for the Family Open House. The east center receives real-time data from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland, and you’ll have the chance to meet Fermilab scientists who work on the CMS experiment based at CERN. The west center is where many of Fermilab’s neutrino experiments are controlled and will feature a virtual-reality experience of the MicroBooNE neutrino detector.

Visitors will have the opportunity to take tours of the linear accelerator and the Main Control Room. Tickets for this tour are available on a first come, first served basis the day of the open house. The tour is restricted to people ages 10 and up and requires an extensive amount of walking. There will also be a driving tour of the Fermilab site, for which registration is required ahead of time.

“We want to engage our visitors in a way that they can see, learn, and get excited about Fermilab’s research, in addition to the wealth of opportunities available in STEM fields,” said Amanda Early, education program leader at Fermilab. “We know that the kids attending this event are the future STEM workforce, and it is incredibly rewarding to provide them the opportunity to see all that is possible by having a passion for science.”

The Family Open House is free of charge. More than 2,000 people are expected to attend this year’s event. It is made possible by a donation from the Helen Edwards Charitable Trust to the nonprofit organization Fermilab Friends for Science Education.

Fermilab is America’s premier national laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research. A U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory, Fermilab is located near Chicago, Illinois, and operated under contract by the Fermi Research Alliance LLC, a joint partnership between the University of Chicago and the Universities Research Association Inc. Visit Fermilab’s website at and follow us on Twitter at @Fermilab.

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