Have you been to a science museum lately? It probably reminded you that the word ‘science’ is a front for the words ‘curiosity’ and ‘wonder’. But you might have run into one small problem – make that a hundred small problems: the kids.
Of course we don’t begrudge children a chance to explore their world and get their science on. You might even be keen on letting your own kids loose inside the Exploratorium or the Cal Academy. The exhibits are designed to be hands on – you can generate your own smoke signals, or make a drop of water levitate. But let’s be honest: unless you’re a colossal jerk, it’s really hard to barge your way past a bunch of children to get your hands on some of these amazing toys.
Enter Exploratorium: After Dark. Like Cal Academy’s NightLife, After Dark is an adults-only event centered around a theme, filled with curious adults such as yourself and plenty of drinks to be purchased at the bar. Unique exhibits are set up and the regular toys are all ours to play with, the first Thursday night of every month from 6-10pm: the perfect kids-free date night! There’s an endless array of conversation topics, since each exhibit has a sign or an employee there to explain the scientific phenomenon at work.
Take this image for example (from the Exploratorium website):
You recognize these photos, right? Now look at the very same pair of images again, only right side up:
I see, you don’t believe me. Go ahead and scroll back up and turn your monitor (or head) upside-down. I’ll wait.
There is an entire section of the floor devoted to mind tricks like this one and the science behind them. You’re free to wander about with a drink and some friends and poke and prod them to your hearts content. Past themes for After Dark include Sugar (with samples of candy confections from around the world, as well as an herbal tea that would completely numb your ability to taste anything sweet for half an hour) and Chill (with a lecture on relaxation, classes on meditation, and a giant sand mandala by Joe Mangrum).
After Dark for February will be held this Thursday (2/3/11) from 6-10pm at the Exploratorium. The theme this month is Get Surreal, and folks in costume (as their favorite surrealist?!?) get a $5 discount off admission price of $15. Or you could buy a membership to the After Dark program for $30 and get a year’s worth of After Darks. Already an Exploratorium member? All your After Darks are included! So what are you waiting for?
Don’t forget to check out the parking/traffic notice for this week. See you there!