GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Steer clear of volcanic eruptions and discover what lies at the Earth’s core at the Florida Museum of Natural History’s “Can You Dig It?” event April 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This free, family-friendly festival, hosted by the Florida Museum and the University of Florida department of geological sciences, invites visitors to explore groundbreaking geological discoveries and scientific research through hands-on activities and interactive demonstrations. Guests of all ages will learn about volcanism, climate change, oceanic seismic activity and other geological processes at more than 15 activity stations.

A group of people watch a volcano demonstration
Attendees at a previous “Can You Dig It?” event watch in awe as a volcano demonstration erupts explosively. ©Florida Museum/Jivina Wilhoit

“We are celebrating everything geology; this is the only type of program where it’s a good thing to have earthquakes, tidal waves and volcanos all in the same day,” said Catherine Carey, education programs coordinator at the Florida Museum. “I’m excited for the fossil dig pit because the Florida Museum’s paleontology department will be there to identify fossils as kids dig them out of a giant sandbox.”

This year’s event will feature exciting interactive activities tied to the new “Water Shapes Florida” exhibit. Visitors can learn how groundwater from rivers and lakes interacts with gravel, sand and clay; discover how scientists use rocks to predict sea-level changes; and experience the powerful force of water through interactive models and wave tanks. Other activities include an earthquake challenge and a future scientist photobooth, presented by the Association for Women Geoscientists.

Returning activities include an augmented reality sandbox that demonstrates how topographic maps function through virtual reality, a real ice core from Antarctica that reveals the unique algae living under the ice and iconic volcano demonstrations.

“One of the things that excites me most is getting a chance to watch our outstanding faculty and students engage with all of our guests about the many subjects that we are fascinated by and passionate about,” said Matthew Smith, master lecturer and undergraduate adviser at UF’s department of geological sciences. “Watching our students, from first-year undergraduates to Ph.D. candidates, interact with the public and relay why they love studying geology is inspiring and never gets old.”

Visitors can grab a “passport” and collect stamps as they explore the various activity stations. Completed passports can be redeemed for a fossil, rock or mineral prize.

Food and drinks will be available for purchase from Fat G’s BBQ and Catering from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and B’z Gelati from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Event activities are free, but regular admission fees apply for the “Butterfly Rainforest” and “Antarctic Dinosaurs” exhibits. Free parking will be available in the University of Florida Cultural Plaza parking lot and garage.

“Can You Dig It?” is presented by the UF department of geological sciences and the Florida Museum. Additional financial support is provided by The Chemours Co. and Marvin and Cynthia Ivey.

For more information or to see a full list of activities, visit


Writer: Kat Tran,
Source: Catherine Carey,; Matthew Smith,
Media contact: Kaitlin Gardiner,