Sunday, November 20, 2011

Back to Childhood

Telescopes, giant bubble wands, and chain reaction machines. These are just a few of the things you can play with at Explora!, the children's science and technology museum in Albuquerque. Once a month on a Friday evening Explora! opens it's doors to "children" of the large variety, during one of their adult night events. There's usually light snacks and live entertainment of some kind, but I honestly was too busy playing to pay much attention to either of those (although the band was good, sorry guys.)

Ever since I moved to Albuquerque, my lab mate Fred has been trying to get me to go to one of these adult nights. I'm glad I finally did, and I'll be back in the future, maybe even as soon as their next event on January 20th. From 6pm-10pm, everything in the museum is available to poke, splash, build, and look at. Matt and I spent a good 30 minutes putting together a chain reaction machine: the marble gets knocked into the spiral shoot, down into the funnel, down two more shoots, and hits the jingle bells, hooray! I made a bubble in a bubble at the soapy water tub. Matt made a funny animation of a sauropod being chased away by a T-Rex, but then a pterodactyl flew in and saved the day by exploding the T-Rex. The Albuquerque astronomy club had telescopes set up, and I saw Jupiter and its moons.

Adult night at Explora! gives adults the opportunity to play with things at the museum when it isn't overrun by children. Some of the things on exhibit for kids would definitely work better if you had a willing adult to help out, and I could easily see parents engaging with their children in a serious way during regular business hours. I also think adult nights create a new appreciation for museums. You could easily spend all four hours actively doing something at this event and still not see everything, which is why I'll be back (I still need to ride the high wire bicycle). And for $8, it's not a bad way to spend the early part of your evening.

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