With musical apples, edible slime, and 3-D printed s’mores, Sue’s Tech Kitchen isn’t your typical culinary outing with the kids.
The temporary, interactive exhibit, located in Cornell Tech’s Bridge building on Roosevelt Island, is a kid-friendly celebration of all things geeky. It’s open only through January 1 and then, presumably, will vanish in a puff of liquid nitrogen smoke.
A 3D printers prints a chocolate design for s’mores. It can also print a hummus mountain. Just saying.
Every weekend in December, visitors can explore coding tools, wacky science demonstrations, futuristic food concepts, and entertainment. Kids can grab a spot at the STEM Bar, for example, where a rotating menu of hands-on experiments are offered, including edible slime, unicorn poop (which is definitely not edible), taste-bud-altering foods, 3D doodling, and more. You can order up some treats created by a 3D food printer or have your snapshot printed on a cookie. There’s also a virtual-reality arcade, a table of small robots that can be programmed using a series of plug-and-play blocks, as well as do-it-yourself kits that explore electronics, robotics, and more.
“The idea is to present science and technology in a way that’s really accessible to kids,” says general manager Steve Anderson. “One of the goals of Sue’s Tech Kitchen is to empower kids to feel like they can actually build all of the tech objects they interact with all the time. So they can see, if they have an idea, they can do it.”
Watch a video tour.
Anderson says the exhibit will have 25 “experiences” in total, though they won’t all be set up at the same time. Instead, demonstrations will change regularly so there will always be something new to explore. There is also a stage where local performers will entertain.
For adults who’d like to “geek it up” without having to elbow the younger set out of the way, Fridays feature adult-only evenings, called Sue’s Soirées, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. The evening includes high-tech cocktails and live entertainment.
Sue’s Tech Kitchen is a traveling exhibit aimed at inspiring a love of science, technology, and engineering concepts in children. The project is the brainchild of best-selling author and entrepreneur Randi Zuckerberg.
“When Randi left Facebook several years ago, she dedicated herself to getting kids more interested in STEM education,” said Jim Augustine, chief operating officer for Zuckerberg Media and co-founder of Sue’s Tech Kitchen. “After being the only woman in the room for a long time in Silicon Valley, she started researching how to reach kids – especially girls – earlier.” That research eventually led her to write Dot, a book about a young tech-savvy girl, that, in turn, inspired an animated series by the same name for the Sprout television network.
Sue’s Tech Kitchen, says Augustine, is a way to bring that enthusiasm directly to kids. “She envisioned a place where families could go regularly, where it’s not just about playing games but it is always about learning something.”
Augustine also sees a natural connection between Sue’s Tech Kitchen and Cornell Tech. “We feel really excited to be here,” he says. “Their mission is to bridge the gap between science education and commerce and development. The Bridge is that point of connection with large and small businesses living on campus. We were looking for space for the exhibit in New York. When we saw what they were doing here, we just couldn’t resist.”
Weekend admission to Sue’s Tech Kitchen is $5, which includes two free tokens that can be used for the STEM Bar or food experiences. Participation in other areas of the exhibit are free with admission. The exhibit is open 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission to Sue’s Soirées on Friday nights costs $45 and includes two drink tickets.
Although reservations are not required, they are recommended. You can reserve a spot online at suestechkitchen.com.