WATCH: Mad science, backbends, arts & crafts at MoCo Camp Fair

Maryland Twisters MoCo uniforms and merch. | Photo by Lindsay C. VanAsdalan

A little girl walks up to a bubbling chemistry flask with soap oozing over the sides.

“Do you want to wash your hands like a mad scientist?” says Parker Ballam, a self-described full-time mad scientist and instructor at Mad Science of Washington. He is known at the summer camp as Professor Quark.

At the 2023 Washington FAMILY Summer Camps & Activities Fair, held at Westfield Montgomery mall on Sunday, Feb. 26, he embraces his alter ego to explain that dry ice in hot water creates this bubbling wonder.

“If you’re feeling really silly, you can use it as shampoo,” he says to the curious group of children who have gathered in front of him.

Mad Science of Washington is one of nearly a dozen camps and summer programs that came to the camp fair on Sunday to show their stuff. From wacky experiments to arts and crafts to feats of flexibility and precision done with ease, providers of kids’ programming from the DMV were on full display.

Check out the videos below to learn a bit more about these local camps and programs, and click here to read about the rest of the camps in attendance.

Glen Echo Park

Did you know Glen Echo Park has a carousel more than 100 years old?

Marketing director Jenni Cloud explains that the entire park was first developed in 1891 as a National Chautauqua Assembly which taught sciences, arts, languages and literature to the public. Though it no longer has this function now, it does have 13 resident artists/arts organizations and most of them offer camp programs.

That means about 50 camps in nature, dance, music, theater, photography and visual arts are on tap this summer for children and teens!

Mad Science of Washington

As mentioned above, Mad Science of Washington was thinking up cool experiments at this season’s camp fair. See the full demo below!


This summer, the camp has eight weeklong options including the “Crazy Chemworks” that would have kids doing experiments like that one. Professor Quark says the most popular option, however, is the “Dinosaurs and Ancient Worlds” camp.

Kids love “being able to dig for treasure and learn about fossils and how people used to live thousands of years ago,” he says.

Maryland Twisters MoCo

Cheer and dance have a lot in common—namely, the crazy tumbling moves! Maryland Twisters MoCo combines the two into one allstar program. It’s the largest program for cheer and dance in the state, with a 15,000-square-foot facility and a five-week program this summer. Tryouts are May 20-21.

“The camp is a great intro to the world of cheer,” says co-owner Patrice Cotman.

Though kids can participate and compete year-round, all ages beginning at 3 years old are welcome to try out the 25-year athletic program.


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