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Way Late Play Date at the Adventure Science Center

A look at Adventure Science center's kids-free Way Late Play Date night. (June 2014)

Written By:  Ad Hudler

Photographers:  Supplied

In my mind—and my wife will attest to this—I am stuck in sixth grade. This means I’m drawn to all types of museums designed for kids. Thus, I was thrilled to discover that the Adventure Science Center occasionally hosts something called Way Late Play Date, a kids-free night where wine is served in Solo cups and you slip into a sweet buzz as you reacquaint yourself with the physical laws that govern our earthly existence… without the fear of tripping over someone’s unruly child.

Way Late Play Dates are usually themed. The night we attended was Zombie Night, which featured some ghoulish touches created solely for that evening, which means you will not get to touch a real lamb’s brain, as I did. Still, the permanent exhibits provided quite an educational thrill—and I present this scouting report for your pleasure.

We first stumble upon a phone-booth-like contraption. The door opens and out walks a laughing young woman whose hair is so tangled it will take her six days to tame it once again. It’s a wind chamber that blows 78 mph gusts. I give it a try. Having lived through seven hurricanes, and knowing very well the feeling of a category-one tropical storm, I give this exhibit a thumbs-up. I temporarily lose my wife as I go to fill my cup with more wine. Eventually, I find her at the tuned mass damper exhibit. Did y’all know that high-rises have some sort of lead mass near the tip that acts as a counterbalance to a building’s sway?

We then come to the Mind Ball. Two people are sitting at a table, attached to electrodes, and both are trying to use their brainwaves to move a ball on the table before them. No one can explain it to me; no one knows for sure what this is all about. “So if the ball moves toward you, does that mean you win or lose?” one woman asks. She and her peers laugh. They sip from their cups and move on into what appears to be the most popular section of the museum: the human body exhibit. One woman walks into a giant human mouth, high-fiving the pumpkin-size, dangling, rubbery uvula as she passes beneath it. There is a fake cadaver on a slab. His/her name is Pat. His/her thorax is sliced open to show us the intestines and heart. I compete with two women in a game of Grossology Live. After winning the contest, I climb the small-intestine slippery slide, colored like Pepto-Bismol, which empties out beside the second-floor bathrooms. Irony? Whimsy? Architectural brilliance?

We then leave the digestive tract and head toward the solar system exhibit. There is a little overlook in the dark that faces an immense window, looking northwest. Outside, the sky is clear, and we have a wonderful hilltop view of the downtown skyline. I sip my wine and take my wife’s hand.
“Being a grown-up isn’t so bad,” I say.

Get more information about Adventure Science Center's Way Late Play Date evenings at adventuresci.org. Photos courtesy Adventure Science Center

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