BY CARMEN SIERING
While he admits the usual crowd is preschool age through 12, Greg Meitus doesn’t see WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology as a children’s museum. “I’ve been here since January, and I learn something new every day,” says Meitus, the museum’s marketing director. “We believe people are lifelong learners.”
With that in mind, Meitus and his colleagues were certain plenty of curious adults would be interested in visiting the award-winning science museum without kids, so they came up with the idea of WonderLab After Dark. The age 21-and-older events are held quarterly at the museum, located at 308 W. 4th St., and offer adults a chance to explore popular museum exhibits, including the “Bubble-Airium” and the two-story “Grapevine Climber,” as well as special exhibitions. February and May After Dark guests were treated to “Your Amazing Brain!” which featured brain-related exhibits and games, as well as real brains from a variety of animals — including humans — for close examination.
The May event theme was “Edibles” and stations had a food focus. Some were just for fun, like “Dragon’s Breath,” where cheese puffs were super cooled in liquid nitrogen and popped into warm mouths, creating water vapor. If participants exhaled quickly enough, it appeared they were exhaling smoke. Other stations were more serious, such as the one hosted by Indiana University Health Neurology, where physicians discussed the impact of certain foods and beverages on those susceptible to migraines.
“We’re pleased with the response we’ve had,” says Meitus, who notes the first event attracted more than 250 guests and the second more than 200, which are just about the right numbers, he says. “We want everyone to be able to move around, interact, and enjoy themselves.”
Meitus thinks it’s easy to see the appeal of WonderLab for people of all ages. “We offer the only hands-on science experience in the community,” he says. “You can take a class or go to a science camp, but WonderLab is different. It’s completely undirected. And it’s fun.”
WonderLab After Dark events offer free food, and wine and beer are available for purchase. The next WonderLab After Dark, with a murder mystery theme, will be held August 26. The final event of the year is November 19 and will feature a Jedi theme. For more information or to order tickets, visit wonderlab.org.