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usaas 100 years of innovation 1

Jul. 19, 2022 | Families can enjoy free hands-on scientific experiments include silly putty, night vision, virtual reality, walkie talkies and drones

Navy Pier Celebrates USAA’s 100 Years of Innovation With a Traveling Interactive Lab, Fort Innovate™

Please be aware that the content on this webpage was authored more than 6 months ago, so some information may be outdated or no longer accurate. Please visit our event calendar for information on current events.

CHICAGO— Navy Pier is partnering with USAA to bring Fort Innovate, a free, traveling innovation lab, to children and their families from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, July 22 through Sunday, July 24. The mobile scientific lab helps inspire the next generation of big thinkers.

Inside Fort Innovate, visitors will learn about military innovations that have had a profound impact on society, such as silly putty, night vision, virtual reality, walkie talkies and drones. They’ll also have the chance to complete fun interactive challenges involving these innovations that will inspire their creativity and problem-solving skills.

To complement the traveling lab, USAA is launching the USAA Innovation Sweepstakes to provide participants with the opportunity to further explore innovation and their creativity through the chance to win a trip for four to Space Camp® at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and $50,000. Visitors to Fort Innovate can register onsite and those unable to make it in person can register at

Friday, July 22 – Sunday, 24, 2022

  • Friday, July 22 (10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.) Best option for press avails with USAA spokesperson
  • Saturday, July 23 (10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.)
  • Sunday, July 24 (10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.)
  • USAA spokesperson: Christian Bove, USAA Lead Communications Director
  • USAA spokesperson: Mike Magnetta (Ret.)Military Affairs Representative
  • Navy Pier spokesperson: Felicia Bolton, Director of Communications and PR

USAA was founded in 1922 by a group of soldiers who couldn’t obtain auto insurance because they were considered high risk. Leading the way with innovative thinking, they formed United Services Automobile Association (USAA) and the legacy of innovation and service to the military community has been a constant ever since.

Note: All events, speakers and dates are subject to change.

Photos of Fort Innovate: Click Here

About Navy Pier

Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is the top nonprofit tourism destination in the Midwest, stretching more than six city blocks and typically welcoming nearly 9 million annual guests. Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, this Chicago landmark showcases more than 50 acres of parks, restaurants, attractions, retail shops, sightseeing and dining cruise boats, exposition facilities and more.

The Pier celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016 with the unveiling of the iconic Centennial Wheel, Polk Bros Park, Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion and Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion. In 2021, Navy Pier continued to usher in its second century with ongoing Pier-wide redevelopment efforts—including Sable, a 223-room Hilton hotel, new restaurants and partnerships, and thrilling additions to Pier Park. The Pier is also proud to continue providing free, year-round arts and cultural programming designed to inspire, educate and connect communities across the city and globe. Click here to donate to Navy Pier, a mission-driven 501(c)(3) organization, in support of the organization’s post-pandemic revival and free public programming. For more information, visit


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