Local Outreach

DASEF offers a variety of innovative programs which can be brought to you.  These programs are a great option for after school engagement, weekend and summer library programs, or any occasions where fun meets learning!  On occasion some of these programs can be hosted at our Environmental Outpost in Smyrna, DE – just make sure to ask ahead of time. 

Length: 45mins

Fee: $6

A Day With Dinosaurs

Is your explorer ready for a trip through Jurassic Park – don’t worry, our dinosaurs are much more tame. Children will complete a dinosaur puzzle, make a dinosaur mask, imagine and build a dinosaur with Clicks building sets, learn about meat and plant eaters and meet our interactive Stegosaurus. Don’t miss out on these prehistoric pals!

Around the Coral Reef

Bring your undersea explorer to the library for a trip to a coral reef and learn about this fascinating ecosystem. Children will assemble a beautiful coral reef puzzle, use imaginations to create a reef using Shapescape building pieces, color fish and other exotic reef life, and take home a vibrant coral reef scene. No scuba gear required!

Butterfly Math

Butterflies don’t really do math, but young mathematicians can. Children will play the Butterfly Symmetry Game, decorate a coffee filter butterfly, practice grouping and counting with plastic butterflies, put on our kid-size wings, identify geometric shapes, and make pattern caterpillars. Flutter in for some fun with numbers!

Constructing Your Own Fun

Get right to it and construct something. Children will use our construction pieces to create a structure, make a roller coaster that will send a ball on a looping thrill ride, take the challenge to build the tallest tower before it falls, and also take home a picture of one of the world’s largest bridges to color. Build a great day with us!

Discovering Fossils

You don’t need a dig site to enjoy fossils. Students will learn how fossils are formed, assemble a model of a dinosaur skeleton, match fossil imprints to the mammal foot that made them, and see real fossils and petrified wood from our collections. Uncover and explore the world beneath our feet!

How Things Move

Give your young engineer some challenges in design. Children will build a structure with moving gears, assemble and test a model vehicle, build and experiment with magnetic gears, and make a climbing creature or tumble wing glider to take home. An adventure awaits – so get moving!

Insects Aren’t As Icky As You Think

Did you ever get “bugged” by an insect? Children will learn about the life cycle of a Ladybug and Monarch butterfly, inspect our collections of insects, work to create their own insect model, and take home a picture of an insect to color. Bookworms aren’t the only insects that can have fun learning!

Kaleidoscope Wonders

Have you ever taken apart a kaleidoscope? Children will explore kaleidoscopes and how they work using a tabletop model, build and reflect a geometric design into infinity, and make their own simple kaleidoscope viewer. What a dazzling way to spend the day!

Magnetic Tricks

Calling all students with a magnetic mind. Children will discover which materials magnets attract, test various magnet shapes to see their magnetic fields, play with attracting and repelling poles of circular magnets, go “fishing” in the magnetic fish pond, and make and a refrigerator magnet to take home. This science will stick with you!

Sounds like Science

Children will play our water glass piano, guess the mystery sound in a series of musical jars, see how water carries sound waves across our Dancing Water Bowl, test the differing pitches of our Boomwhackers, and make a rhythm shaker to take home. Important: All participants will need to bring an empty 2 liter plastic bottle. Sounds like a really good time!

Trees, If You Please

There is more to trees than meets the eye. Children will learn about all the parts of a tree we don’t see, use a hand lens to take a closer look at leaves to find their tree matches, make a model of a tree from real parts, then finish the day by “being” a seed as it goes from its hiding place in the soil to a tree with new seeds of its own. Tree-rific!

Up Up in the Air

It’s time for pilots to take flight. Children will learn about how objects move through the air by folding and flying amazing paper airplanes and helicopters, building a simple kite from paper and straws, making a straw glider, and testing our hover craft that can float on a layer of air. As they say, “The sky’s the limit”!

Wee Weather Watchers

Are you a mini-meteorologist, then get ready for wild weather. Children will “be” the liquid in a thermometer as they learn about temperatures and how to prepare, discuss and make a wind sock, then design and create a simple kite to experiment with wind at home. The forecast calls for science with a good chance of fun!


Eyes on the Skies

Would you like to get a better look at objects you see in the night sky, or perhaps share the excitement of star gazing with your family and friends? Then come to DASEF’s Mountjoy Observatory for one of our evening “Eyes on the Skies” sessions.  Weather permitting, guests can explore the universe in our observatory and learn about the moon, the planets, and constellations through activities and observation led by DASEF’s intermediate astronomer and instructors.  

Length: 2 hours, typically on a Friday evening

Fee: $6 per person 



For ages 6-13

Monthly adventures in exploration and discovery will be offered at the Environmental Outpost.  Guests will explore science and technology topics in a fun and educational way.

Due to weather and other conditions, we may, in some instances, have to substitute some activities.

Length: 2 hours, 9:30am – 11:30am on a Saturday morning

Fee: $6 per person

The fee for the 2019 August 6 hour Exploration is $35 per person.  

Exploration: Toys 
September 22, 2018

We’ve all played with toys at some point, but how much do we really understand about the science behind how they work? Come play with some toys and figure it out! Guests will play a hovercraft targeting game to explore air pressure, use the ancient art of origami to make a jumping frog that uses action/reaction and a balloon that employs friction, and see how well the friction between Lego bricks holds them together. Test the mysterious properties of the gyroscope and learn how they are used to guide various spacecraft. Make and take a sock puppet, using the vibrations of your vocal cords to give it a voice. Learn while you play!

Exploration: Electronics
November 10, 2018

Come to DASEF and connect with electrical circuits! Guests will work with “Snap Circuit” kits to construct working circuits like those we encounter every day. Discover materials that either conduct or insulate electrical current, and make a simple light switch. Build, test and take home your own “Steady Hand” game and electroscope. Your circuits will be humming with scientific discovery!

Exploration: North Pole
December 8, 2018

Join us for a scientific holiday adventure! Guests will learn about chromatography and make a decorative string of lights then puzzle over holiday optical illusions. Join in the Jet Balloon Rudolph Race, construct a toyshop from toothpicks and gumdrops, and make a parachute, in case Santa has to ditch his sleigh. And there just might be a visit from the jolly old elf himself! Ho, ho, ho!!

Exploration: Stars
February 10, 2019

A scientific journey to the stars awaits you! Guests will learn about the stars and the galaxy in our Star Lab, then make a star clock that can be used with the night sky. After getting an idea of the size of the known universe, make and project constellation images, and create a new constellation to honor a person of your choice. Finish the day with a tour of our newest exhibit: the outdoor Galaxy Garden! And, if you choose to, you can bring a space themed supper and then stay for the evening’s Eyes on the Skies observatory program. Expand your universe!

Exploration: Solar Mission
March 9, 2019

Learn about NASA’s newest data-gathering mission: the Parker Solar Probe, on its way to “touch the sun”! Guests will use our sun spotter, solar tower, and a filtered telescope to view the sun and track its movements as the earth turns. You will see how NASA receives images from space in the form of pixels, and be challenged to design a way to insulate a satellite from the massive heat of our closest star. Finish your visit by making and taking a bracelet of sunlight sensitive beads. Science is heating up at DASEF!

Exploration: Planets
April 7, 2019

NASA is racing toward new planetary discoveries. Come race along with them! Guests will get the most up-to-date information about Mars, via data from NASA’s Insight planetary lander. Design and build a model of a planetary rover and a robotic hand. Do a demonstration of how planetary impact craters form. Draw a scaled picture of the solar system, then go on a planetary walk that stretches from one end of the property to the other. Claim your place in space!

Exploration: Computer Code
June 9, 2019

Writing computer code is a skill that can begin your journey to becoming a software engineer. Start your trek to Silicon Valley with DASEF! Guests will play games and do activities that will introduce the basic principles of coding. One of you will become the programmer and the other will be the robot, accomplishing simple tasks like stacking cups, finding a hidden jewel, and spelling out a name. Learn about “looping” and how it makes it easier to repeat steps in a process. Learn about “debugging” an algorithm, or a set of directions that accomplish a task. Program some fun and learning!

Exploration: Motion Picture
August 6, 2019 – (6 hours)

Screen writers, directors, movie producers – time to make your first movie! Children will experience the technology and science of animation. They will start out by making thaumatropes to test the persistence of vision. They will move on to constructing flip books to create simple animation. Utilizing an excellent animated movies kit, they’ll make a praxinoscope to make still pictures come to life. Later they will see a few stop action animated short films and use software on a computer or smart phone to make a stop action movie, from storyboard to completed film. And they’ll plan and film a how-to video. Your young Steven Spielberg has to start somewhere!


Science for Scouts

Our science programs are designed to aid scouts in meeting requirements for the science merit badges listed in each section, below. Some independent research and additional observations by scouts will be necessary to meet all requirements. 

Length: 2 hours

Fee: $6 per scout (minimum 20 / maximum 30)

Scout Leaders and chaperones are free of charge unless they are also building or constructing their own. In that event they will be charged the price of the kit and materials.

Some programs are overnight or run longer than the standard 2 Hours.  Length and Fees are listed accordingly.  

Girl Scouts:

Movers Badge

Scouts will see a slide presentation about wind energy, from old-time windmills that pumped water and ground grain to modern wind turbines that produce green energy. They will make a pinwheel, then test it with a high-powered fan, and make a paper copter to see how air resistance can turn a propeller.  They will construct a ring wing glider and a straw glider to investigate unconventional wing designs. They will design a simple diamond kite and learn how flowing air keeps it in the sky.  Building and launching a seltzer tablet powered canister rocket will demonstrate how the action/reaction principle moves jets and rockets through the sky and into space!l to see where water can be found. They will complete a water layers investigation to learn about fresh and salt water properties.  On our stream table, scouts will explore the wave and ripple properties of water, and they’ll take the cargo floating challenge.

Science In Action Badge

Scouts will be surprised and delighted by the reactions and effects caused by mixing materials and combining light. They will make gluep to explore the properties of solids and liquids, mix baking soda and vinegar to see gases at work, and learn how a CO2 fire extinguisher works. They will use wicking properties to make beautiful and colorful butterflies and enter the pitch black of our observatory to study the effects of mixing colored light. A hunt around the Outpost will reveal materials and devices that make use of technology to make our lives easier.

Space Explorer Badge

Length: Overnight, 6:00 pm to 10:00 am

Fee: $40, minimum 10 / maximum 15

In the StarLab planetarium, scouts will learn about constellations, individual stars and how to locate and identify them in the night sky. This will be followed by a star gazing hike on our nature trail, and making constellation pictures. Through a power point presentation, scouts will learn about the planets in our solar system and the surface of the moon. They will get to design and construct a model of a lunar rover, see a NASA film to take a simulated “Field Trip to the Moon”, and assemble a planetary puzzle. Scouts will learn about the history and design of telescopes that enable us to see distant space objects and have a safe view of the sun through our sun spotter devices. They will learn about how women have participated in the US space program and about NASA’s current and future plans for space exploration. To culminate their visit scouts will make their mark on the universe by designing a space science postage stamp.  

Boy Scouts:

Astronomy Merit Badge

Scouts will learn about how telescopes and binoculars work to enable us to observe objects in the night sky, different types of astronomical telescopes and the instruments used by NASA scientists to analyze telescope data.  They will observe how the sun and the moon and how they interact with Earth to cause lunar phases and eclipses.  In the StarLab planetarium, scouts will learn about constellations, individual stars and how to locate and identify them in the night sky.  They will also get a close look at the seas and craters on the lunar surface. In the Observatory, scouts will view the moon, stars, planets, and other astronomical objects, as available depending on position and time of year.

Space Exploration Merit Badge

Length: Two 2 hour sessions or one 4 hour session on a Saturday)

Fee: $21 for 4 hours (includes cost of rocket and engine)

First 2 hours:

Scouts will learn about the history of US space exploration and the new technologies it has produced, the International Space Station and NASA’s plans for a return mission to the moon and a human mission to Mars.  They will learn and discuss the requirements for a manned outpost on our moon or another planet and how such a launch and flight to and from are or could be accomplished.  Scouts will test their knowledge by designing and building a model of a manned outpost that suits the needs of a particular planet.

Second 2 hours:

Scouts will assemble an Estes model rocket, learning about its parts, functions, and how physical laws apply to their operation, then launch their rockets.  



For all ages

We offer several themed parties for family and friends to enjoy.  We have lots for guests to do!  All parties make and take several themed items and constructions home with them. Guests are welcome to bring food and supplies for their party.  Pizza can be supplied for an additional fee. 

Length: 2 hours

Fee: $200, includes up to 14 guests; additional guests are $5 each, maximum of 20 

Butterfly Bash

Guests will go on a hunt around the grounds to find model butterflies and learn about protective coloration, assemble a Monarch butterfly puzzle, watch a movie about butterflies, use hand lenses for a close-up look at our butterfly and moth collections and make a paper butterfly to take home.

Dino Diversion

Guests will assemble a dinosaur puzzle, watch a video about dinosaurs, hunt for and assemble the pieces of a life-sized skeleton model of “Protoceratops” (the first horn-faced dinosaur), each make a prehistoric dinosaur scene, and make a fossil to take home. 

Pirate Party

Guests will visit our life-sized model of a sailing scow to hear about local pirates, make a pirate hat and patch, go on a pirate treasure hunt, assemble a pirate puzzle and see a pirate movie.  Don’t forget to think of a good pirate name!

Sounds Like a Celebration

Guests will use Boomwhackers to discover changing pitches then make up songs, make and take a rain stick, watch a movie about fantastic music machines, see a demonstration of vibrations in our Dancing Water Bowl, and take the “Mystery Sounds” challenge.  

Space Social

Guests will watch a video about space, assemble a planetary puzzle, build and launch a seltzer tablet canister rocket (ages 5 – 7) or a soda bottle rocket (ages 8 and 9), and make a space magnet or picture frame to take home with you.  Note: Guests will need to provide an empty 2 liter soda bottle for the ages 8 and 9 bottle rockets.   

Undersea Adventure

Guests will make and take a periscope and use it to decode secret messages hidden around the building, take the “Ship’s Cargo Challenge” – problem-solving for young ship builders, see an animated ocean movie, assemble a puzzle about life under the sea, and make a bead sea creature to hang up at home.