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It’s full STEAM ahead at ASU Open Door

ASU invites the wider community to explore the spaces normally closed to the public during free, family-friendly events

Children make a lava lamp in a lab
January 16, 2018

We all remember when the floor was lava, when we were schoolteacher to our stuffed animals, when we played detective to solve the mystery before dinnertime. Some of us turned that imagination into reality — becoming scientists, teachers and more.

Arizona State University hopes to spark the next generation's imagination with ASU Open Door, a signature event of the Arizona SciTech Festival. During the free Open Door events, adults and children of all ages are invited to take a sneak peek at the learning spaces that help make ASU the most innovative university in the nation.

The four-campus event celebrates the power of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) with more than 340 hands-on activities, performances, demonstrations and games. The campuses open their doors on different nights:

• Jan. 26 — Polytechnic campus
• Feb. 2 — Downtown Phoenix campus
• Feb. 10 — West campus
• Feb. 24 — Tempe campus

“What makes the ASU Open Door event unique is that we open the four campus locations to the community and allow them to enter the spaces normally closed to the public,” said Darci Nagy, ASU special events manager. “Visitors are able to go into classrooms and talk to faculty and students who are excited about what they’re working on. Not only are they inside these classroom spaces, there are activities where children — and adults — can learn from hands-on activities.”

Children look at a snake

Cash Allen watches older sister Ryeley handle a rosy boa during the 2017 Open Door on ASU's Tempe campus. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Each ASU campus has a unique personality and feel, with different activities that match its environment.

Nestled in the Arizona desert, the high-tech labs and classrooms at the Polytechnic campus will hum to life as visitors learn to code using Minecraft or be an air-traffic controller in a hands-on simulation with ASU’s engineering experts. End the day and head home victorious as a Sustainability Super Hero by visiting Sustainability Central at the School of Sustainability.

Read more: 7 must-see attractions at ASU’s Open Door — Polytechnic Campus

Join the Downtown Phoenix campus the first Friday of February for a tour of Arizona PBS inside the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Adventure seekers can find out how safe it is to ride a rollercoaster, and after an exciting afternoon, end your downtown journey by unwinding with a relaxing session in mindfulness, meditation and yoga with the College of Health Solutions.

Your sleuthing will lead you to the West campus where visitors explore crime scenes, learn how police solve crimes and learn that bones have ages too. Continue the investigative journey by learning the secrets of handwriting and stop by for a Bio-dot that will track your stress levels as you make your way around campus.

A fun-filled month ends at the Tempe campus where young wizards should be on the lookout for dementors while using their wands to correct misspelled words with English education students. After leaving Hogwarts, test your skills and tackle the ROTC obstacle course. If you’re here for the science, drive an underwater robot, see and touch real meteorites, make your own tiny robot and don’t leave before visiting reptile row or getting a picture of yourself in infrared.

“This is a very interactive experience,” Nagy said. “We have hundreds of activities for every interest you can think of. If you’re into forensic science, music, bugs, rockets, reptiles, the moon, dancing or want to run through an obstacle course, we have it. There is so much to do whether you come visit us for an hour or five. Every campus is a different experience. Looking at activities ahead of time, picking the ones you really want to see and bringing your walking shoes is always a good plan!”

With so many activities to consider, ASU Open Door also offers an app through Devils on Campus (Android or iOS) to help visitors choose activities in advance and navigate each campus. Follow all the excitement on Twitter @ASUopendoor and Facebook at

“Our Sun Devil community looks forward to this every year, the chance to say ‘come on in’ and share why ASU is the most innovative university in the nation,” Nagy said.

For information on dates, locations, free tickets and parking, visit Top photo: Sam Martin (left), 11, and Shelby Martin, 9, carry out a science experiment that examines the various densities of water and oil. The project was part of the 2017 Open Door celebration on the Downtown Phoenix campus. Photo by Anya Magnuson/ASU Now

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