Science Center - Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum aka The Discovery

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Unique ideas for meetings at your local science center!

If you’re looking for fun date night ideas, here’s an option you might not have considered: a science center. What could be more romantic than goofing around with a loved one?

Science centers can be part museum, part theater, part classroom, and much more all rolled into one. They are full of hands-on exhibits that demonstrate science concepts in fun and entertaining ways, and often host events or put on performances for all ages. With almost 400 science centers in the US alone, there is bound to be one somewhere near you!

We reached out to the partners of Science Near Me to hear their recommendations for an extra special, super science date night.

“It’s always a good time to visit your local science center,” says Christopher Nelson, president and CEO of Association of Science and Technology Centers. “Although many people know that science centers are a great place for children to gather, science centers and science museums have experiences for people of all ages, including events specifically for adults, such as after-hours socials, lectures and discussions, public science projects and even pub dinners.

The science center is a great place to meet because there are so many interesting things for adults to explore, says Patrick Turner, chief advancement officer at Terry Lee Wells Discovery Museum in Nevada in Reno, Nevada. After all, what better way to connect with someone than to tap into your inner child or learn something new.

Visitors view the Energy/Energía exhibit at the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Museum of Discovery in Reno, Nevada. (Credit: The Discovery)

“They are a wonderful opportunity to step away from the roles and responsibilities of our daily adult lives,” says Joe Cox, president and CEO of Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort. Lauderdale, Florida. “Whether you come face-to-face with a life-size megalodon, build a LEGO wildlife habitat in the Makerspace, take a ride in a Mars Rover simulator, or create and fly paper airplanes in a lively exhibit, the thrill of recapturing the joy of discovery behind every corner is something every adult should experience – even without kids joining in!”

“If there’s one thing we’ve learned when we hold adult-only events at Maine Discovery Museum, it’s that adults often have just as much fun (if not more!) as the kids who attend,” says Kate Dickerson, Executive Director of Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor, Maine. “Just like our younger visitors, they gain scientific knowledge from our exhibits and programs, work at their own pace, and what we hear when they leave is that they want to come back.”

“Science centers are a great chance for adults to learn about science that has developed since they were in school,” says Dickerson. “Best of all, it’s an informal setting for creative engagement and curiosity-seeking. There is no ‘wrong’ way to experience and learn about science at a science center…unless you go.”

Events for adults in science centers

Adults can visit science centers and science museums at any time, but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for opportunities to visit adults-only events for an extra special evening.

“Many science museums offer special 18+ ‘after dark’ events that include dancing, cocktails, live music or DJs, and fun, high-impact science demonstrations or speakers,” says Ash Friend, director of education at ScienceWorks hands-on museum in Ashland, Oregon. For example, ScienceWorks launched a new “after hours” series with a Mardi Gras party for 21+ on February 24.

You can find events like these at science centers all over the country! Several times a year, The Discovery in Reno hosts 21+ research events in their Social Science Series. Each night has a different theme and your entry includes beer, wine and light bites to make the experience fun and memorable. The next event, Wizards and informers on February 28 offers Harry Potter-themed demonstrations, trivia, hands-on workshops and more. Meanwhile, their Science Distilled series, in partnership with the Desert Research Institute, regularly showcases the work of local researchers through presentations on hot and curious topics at trendy local venues. Check out Science Near Me for more from The Discovery Social Science and Distilled Science events etc.

The Michigan Science Center in Detroit, Michigan is also hosting a series of “after dark” events! They held a Halloween event last October and will be hosting a special Valentine’s Day event this February 10 with a guest lecture, bar, DJ and a special edition Taylor Swift laser show, all in addition to access to all galleries of the museum and theater experiences.

And if you need a last minute idea for Valentine’s Day – why not a trip to the Science Museum? “A trip to the science center is a great date night! Many science centers offer special programs for Valentine’s Day,” says Friend. “Check out the one near you to see if they offer themed programs or speakers.”

If your organization offers events, projects or programs that invite the public to get involved in STEM, add it to Science Near Me!

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