Facilitated Workshops

Open Making

Monday-Thursday: 10:30am-12pm and 1-3pm | Friday-Sunday: 10:30am-12pm

Subject to change. Please check with Welcome Desk when you arrive to confirm times.


Friday-Sunday: 1pm-2pm

Sign up at the LAB; limited space available, first come-first served. 

Innovators LAB is our Museum's very own makerspace

The Innovators LAB is our collaborative makerspace where we work with local artists and experts from various fields to create a design challenge to nurture creativity, problem solving, skill building, and learning.

We offer both “drop in” and “scheduled” workshops. 

What sets the Innovators LAB apart from other makerspaces is the inclusion of resident professionals which include artists, architects, engineers, and others. These resident professionals develop design challenges alongside our Creative Team to provide open-ended, skill-building projects that explore real world issues. The Innovators LAB targets families with children ages 6-13 and provides opportunities to experiment with a variety of ideas, materials, and hands-on techniques.

Read more about how play and science work together here.

Current projects

People + Places Project Pop Up Workshop

Saturday, November 24: 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2pm | Ages 6+

A special pop up workshop with artist in residence Rizzhel Javier whose installation, People + Places, is currently in the Museum’s Community Gallery. Informed by this project, this workshop lets participants draw a self-portrait, learn how to sew, and take home a plush mini version of themselves! The workshop creates an opportunity to share stories about where people are and the places they live.

Scavenger Hunt & Gather

All Day Drop-in | Ages 6+

Learn about native foods and Kumeyaay culture by collecting and coloring connect the dot drawings. Find and complete all 5 drawings in the museum and receive a prize.

Open Making

Monday-Thursday: 10:30am-12pm and 1-3pm | Friday-Sunday: 10:30am-12pm | Ages 6+

Behind the glass doors, we’ve added new tools, materials, furniture & technology so our older visitors can guide their own making experience. Children can design and create unique toys or new inventions using a range of advanced tools and materials.

Check out our past projects!

Scramble Screens presented by ESET

Friday-Sunday: 1pm and 2pm | Ages 6+

Learn how to weave with paper and construct a device for scrambling your own secret messages or images.

Cipher Scavengers presented by ESET

All Day Drop-in | Ages 4+

Become a code reader and embark on a scavenger hunt throughout the museum.  Learn about and use binary code to get from clue to clue.

Flying Floating Superheroes

Sunday, august 5 – monday, September 3

Monday-Thursday: 1pm, 2pm | Friday-Sunday: 11am, 1pm, 2pm | Ages 7+

Come make your very own superhero figure with us! Launch your superhero from a catapult and see how far it can float or fly!

Superhero Stickers

Sunday, July 1 – Saturday, August 4

Monday-Thursday: 1pm, 2pm | Friday-Sunday: 11am, 1pm, 2pm | Ages 7+

Channel your inner superhero and create your own emblem. Explore the printing process with our Teaching Artists and create a unique sticker to take home.

Circuit Critters

Experiment and create with LED lights behind our glass doors. Sign up at the studio to create your own creature and bring it to life using an LED bulb!

Solar Turbines Engineer Residency

Solar Turbines powers the future! In celebration of the Solar Turbines’ 90th year in San Diego, the Museum has partnered with a team of their engineers to design projects that educate families about energy transfer. Don’t miss out on this unique experience to work hands-on with actual engineers in our LAB!

Superhero Missions

Behind the glass doors, big kids can create anything they like using the materials we have available. We will have Superhero-themed challenge cards created by Teaching Artist Iris to spark their imaginations.

Create your own Superhero!

Our beloved Superhero Studio has returned to Innovators LAB. Visitors can create their own Comic-Book Style Superhero in the drop-in art studio outside the glass doors of the LAB. Stop by to Trace, Ink & Color your own Superhero.

Paper Planet + Open Making

Visitors use cardstock paper, scissors, and glue sticks to add to our paper neighborhood display. Behind the glass doors, we’ve added new tools, materials, furniture & technology so our “older” visitors can guide their own making experience. So far, children have created paper toys, stop-motion animation, and are diving into a range of advanced tools and materials.

Can you design a structure using geometric patterns and color?

Visitors aged 6 and up created a mixed-media sculpture on a wooden board. Through this process, they gained experience with a diverse range of tools, from digital cameras and printers to hammers and nails, considering elements of shape, color, and dimension

In the drop-in space, visitors explored these same concepts in a structure created by local architect Miki Iwasaki. Here they manipulated colorful tiles and bright light to create geometric patterns and unusual shadows.

Can you make a balancing sculpture?


January – March 2017

In this round of Innovators LAB, we work with local sculptor Scott Shoemate to explore the art of balance. In the workshop, older visitors use a spinning lathe to carve candles into unique spinning tops. Our younger visitors work with beautifully sculpted blocks of wood to build kinetic balancing sculptures. Toddlers play with balancing organic blocks on top of one another to create structures.

Through their explorations, visitors will gain an intuition for the concept of balance, increase their comfort in working with new tools and materials, and gain confidence in their ability to engineer their own art.

Can you make a holiday LED card?


November – December 2016

For this special edition of Innovators LAB, our internal creative team developed a variety of holiday programming. In our workshops, older visitors worked with copper tape, batteries, and LEDs to create light-up cards. They probed the basics of electricity in trying to connect their batteries to the small bulbs that lit up the front of their greeting cards. Our younger innovators worked with a variety of materials to design creative cards and holiday decorations for the home. They used pipe cleaners and straws to engineer 3D structures inspired by traditional Finnish ornaments, and practiced their fine motor skills in tying ribbons to make a forest of pine trees.

Can you make something float?


September – October 2016

Fly Together was inspired by local artist Marisol Rendon’s experience with scuba diving. Her explorations of buoyancy led her to wonder: how can we create floating art? In Fly Together’s workshop, older visitors used heat sealers to make unique ‘mylar’ balloons. They formed and tested hypotheses and, through a process of trial and error, played with each balloon’s density to make it float at a specific height.

Our younger visitors formed their own understanding of buoyancy by creating paper parachutes, propellers, and myriad other flying contraptions and testing them in a wind tunnel. They, too, were practicing the scientific method as they refined their designs until they floated, spun, or soared as desired.


Holiday Membership Discount!

Make gift-giving easy this year by giving a membership to the Museum! Use the code SUGARPLUM to receive a $10 discount! Offer good online or in person until January 15, 2019.