Water World

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Water World was originally an off-site venue for aquatic-related activities at the National Science Festival, in South Africa. With a huge marquee set up, a “Pop Up” Science Centre was created for the week-long festival. Water World exhibits included: a display on the physical properties of water and how these relate to aquatic life; a display on the study of genes and the genetic diversity of the fishes in aquatic environments and a series of stands where research institutes showcase their research and interact with the public.

Visitors to Water World could also see the National Fish Collection. The popular annual excursion to the coast had learners heading off for a morning exploring estuaries and marine ecosystems surrounding the venue. Learners could also sign up for a morning as an apprentice to in the Molecular Laboratory or in the Collections Management Centre, working alongside National Research Foundation (NRF)-SAIAB researchers and Postdoc Fellows.


Water World provided an amazing opportunity, not only for learners to learn about water and the kinds of research happening in and around water, but also to find out about the variety of careers in this field. By bussing in learners from under resourced schools and from rural areas, Water World provides an opportunity for learners (who would not usually get the opportunity to do so), to visit the National Science Festival.


  • Co-ordinating participation by groups who work in or with water and/or aquatic organisms.
  • Previously we hired a big marquee for the “Pop Up” venue, but in 2019 we held Water World at the main Sci-fest venue. This still meant providing exhibition space/shell scheme for exhibits.
  • We advise to organise transport for local learners and for learners from rural schools to attend Water World.

Comments on the Platform, Suggestions, Input

For 2020, NRF-SAIAB will concentrate on two large exhibits at Water World: one targeting senior school learners (focusing on the high-tech aspects of NRF-SAIAB research) and the other targeting junior school learners (more interactive). Other stakeholders are still encouraged to participate at Water World as they have done in the past.

Name of the Institution or person suggesting/Offering the activity


  • Teenagers

  • Home School Groups

  • Public