Open Days Guide: Kids invade CERN!

Keep the whole family entertained with this mix of zany activities, performances and visits.


ATLAS Adventures

Using the building blocks of the Universe – LEGO, of course – kids will be invited to make their own model of the ATLAS experiment. Each model will be entered into a competition for some great ATLAS prizes! Over-7s will love working on the giant ATLAS puzzle, and adults will be on hand for the little ones who want to put in a piece.

(Ages 4 and up)
Map: Point 1 - ATLAS experiment

CMS’s Battle of the Bosons

Quark? Higgs? Proton? Take your pick. At “Paint-a-Particle” face painting, kids will be “transformed” into their favourite particles! They’ll also get a chance to work on a massive wood-block version of the CMS detector. The whole family is invited to “fight fire” and win prizes: look out for portable fire hydrants to find out more!

(Ages 3 and up)
Map: Point 5 - CMS experiment

An ALICE Wonderland

At the ALICE “Kids Corner”, children of all ages will be able to participate in simple-but-fun experiments: making DC-powered motors, water turbines and more. They’ll also be able to work on the new paper model of ALICE. Kids and parents alike should also check out the “Cosmic Piano”, which will transform real-time cosmic rays into a multimedia musical medley.

(Ages 5 and up)
Map: Point 2 - ALICE experiment

Full-scale toys

Over at Transport & Handling, there’ll be plenty of activities to choose from. Kids will be able to drive a forklift, operate a crane or hop on a lifting platform. Young crane operators will walk home with their driving licence in hand and there’ll be plenty of transport prizes to win!

(Ages 6 and up)
Map: B6

It’s a kind of magic

The Fun with Physics shows will take kids on a magical tour of the scientific world. Expect disappearing balloons, levitating magnets and film-ready fog. Don’t forget to pick up your free liquid nitrogen ice cream at the end!

(Ages 3 and up)
Map: A6

Heroes in training

Have a young fire fighter in the family? Then the Safety Training Centre is not to be missed! Here kids can learn to put out fires with extinguishers, tour current and historic fire trucks, and even take a trip down a zip-wire.

(Ages 6 and up)
Map: H3

A vacuum full of possibilities

Did we really walk on the moon? What happens to sound in a vacuum? What exactly is plasma? Find out at Building SMA18, where a dozen great experiments will teach kids (and parents!) about the mysteries of vacuum. 

(Ages 3 and up)
Map: F2

Little shop of wonders

If your kids love to construct and create, they’ll love watching technicians at work at the CERN Workshop. There’s drilling, welding and boring to behold in this builder’s paradise.

(Ages 7 and up)
Map: B1

Don’t miss the Fun

The Fun Zone is a discovery area for CERN’s youngest visitors with exhibits aimed specifically at kids. Enjoy a host of activities – including a chance to build a model of the LHC – and enter the award-winning world of CERNland.

(Ages 3 and up)
Map: A8

Other areas

Introduce your kids to the cold at the Cryogenics Laboratory (Map: B5) and see liquids at 2.2K with your own eyes. Take a spin on a levitating scooter at the Superconductivity site (Map: B4). Learn to move LHC magnets at Large-Scale Metrology (Map: I4). There are activities for kids all over the CERN site, so keep an eye out and enjoy!

Please note that for safety reasons there may be higher age limits on certain activities.

by Katarina Anthony