Facilitated Workshops

Weekends + Busy Days: 11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm & 2:00pm

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.

This April our Innovators LAB is powered by COX!

For more than 50 years, Cox Communications has connected San Diegans and is now partnering with the Museum to educate families on how connections can be created.

Join us on April 7&8 from 10am-4pm for Connected Crafts Workshops: Create your own light-up project using LEDS! Powered by Cox

Current projects

Balloon-Twisting Workshop

Weekends 11am, 12pm, 1pm & 2pm | Ages 7+

Learn about our newest sculpture Crystal Cortex and challenge yourself to transform a latex balloon into an animal form! Individuals with latex allergies and instincts to put objects in their mouths are not recommended for this workshop.

Open Making

Weekdays 10am-3pm | 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!

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?


Open now!

This spring, we’re thinking about color and geometry in the Innovators LAB.

In the facilitated workshop, visitors aged 6 and up will create a mixed-media sculpture on a wooden board. Through this process, they will gain experience with a diverse range of tools, from digital cameras and printers to hammers and nails. In designing their sculptures, they will consider elements of shape, color, and dimension as they tell the stories of their art.

In the drop-in space, visitors of all ages will explore these same concepts in a structure created by local architect Miki Iwasaki. Here, they will manipulate 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.