carnival exploratorium SF
Photo by Studios and Creative Commons.

5 October Museum Events for Adults Only, After Dark

Imagine spending the night in a museum without your kids or sipping cocktails while you explore exhibitions. Adult-only night at the museum evenings are popping up all over the United States. In October, these 21 and over events focus on haunted and magical themes.

A Night at the Museum Sleepover for Grown-Ups

A Night at the Museum Sleepover for Grown-Ups begins with champagne and jazz in the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall. Guests are allowed to roam the museum halls by flashlight, wander through museum halls viewing the 65-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil in the dark, then sleep beneath the looming 94 feet long, 21,000-pound blue whale model in Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. Advanced reservations are required. Cots are provided. Meals include a buffet dinner with wine and beer, evening snack, and a light breakfast.

Location: American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York
When: October 13-14, 2017
Tickets: $350, members: $300

After Dark:  Agave, Perception, and Collisions 

Every Thursday night, the San Francisco Exploratorium features “After Dark” programs for adults 18 years and older. On October 12, the agave plant will be the focus of the evening. Agave, Perception, and Collisions will immerse participants “in mind-bending experiences and unique, thought-provoking programs.” In the Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery, you can learn about agave’s unique relationships with bats in the desert ecosystem. Of course, tequila-sage smash cocktails and tequila-plum trifles will be served. In the Perception exhibit, adults will learn about emerging technologies, like the Glass Brain. The Glass Brain allows you to see real-time, 3D brain activity utilizing high-density EEG. If you would like to see a screening of Collisions, an advanced, separate reservation is necessary. This film is a “poetic virtual reality (VR) journey” to the remote Western Australian Pilbara desert with indigenous elder Nyarri Morgan of the Martu tribe. Prior to Western Culture contact, the tribe witnessed an atomic bomb test in the 1950s. Traditional ideas of caring for the planet coupled with modern issues of climate change are explored.

Location: Exploratorium, San Francisco, California
When: October 12, 2017; 6:00-10:00pm
Tickets: $17.95 in advance, $19.95 at the door

Haunted Museum: Year of the Monster

Live music, cocktails, and curated programs are highlights of the popular “After Dark” at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

The lights are low, the bar is open, and the music is playing. Armed with a cocktail and your closest friend, you venture into a prehistoric world where giant sauropods tower over the bustling crowd and two T-Rexes cast in multi-colored lights are frozen in battle.

This isn’t the museum of your childhood. This is After Dark.

Two October evenings of Haunted Museum:  Year of the Monster are planned for guests 21 and over. Adult trick-or-treating, spooky cocktail drinking, and dancing will entertain costumed adults. This event focuses on “brutes and beasts in legend and in nature.” Past “Haunted Museum” events at Carnegie have included live animal encounters, presentations by paranormal hunters, and ghostly storytelling. Face masks and costume weapons are not allowed.

Location: Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
When: October 21 & 27, 2017; 6:00-10:00pm
Tickets: $15 in advance, $20 at the door, members: $13.50

Alder Afraid of the Dark?

The Adler Planetarium hosts an after dark event every third Thursday of the month. In October, the Alder Afraid of the Dark? is based on the 90s TV series Are You Afraid of the Dark?. Fernilab scientists will present on dark matter and particle physics. The dance floor will be pumping with Halloween classics like “Thriller.” There will be hands-on science experiments and spooky brews from partner breweries. In the full dome theater,  The Man from the 9 Dimensions, a Japanese film exploring “The Theory of Everything” will be shown. This popular event sells out quickly and promises to be fun and fearful!  Creative costumes are encouraged.

Location: Adler Planetarium, Chicago, Illinois
When: October 19, 2017; 6:00-10:00pm
Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door, members: $15 in advance

Adult Nights: Halloween at Hogwarts

Ever wanted to play Quidditch or drink real butterbeer? The North Carolina Museum of Natural History throws the ultimate adult-only museum party for fans of Harry Potter. Adult Nights:  Halloween at Hogwarts will begin by crossing Platform 9¾. During the evening, attendees can perfect their Defense of the Dark Arts and take a potions class. Don’t get lost wandering through the Forbidden Forest! Costumes are allowed, but no masks or weapons are permitted. The first drink is included with admission for Catalyst members. This evening sells out quickly.

Location: North Carolina Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, North Carolina
When: October 26, 2017; 7:00-10:00pm
Tickets: $15 in advance, $20 at the door, members: $10

Adult Only Museum After Dark Dates

  1. Agave, Perception, and CollisionsSan Francisco, CA; Oct. 12
  2. Night at the Museum Sleepover for Grown-Ups-New York, NY; Oct. 13-14
  3. Alder Afraid of the Dark?-Chicago, Illinois; Oct. 19
  4. Haunted Museum:  Year of the Monster-Pittsburgh, PA; Oct. 21 & 27
  5. Adult Nights:  Halloween at Hogwarts-Raleigh, North Carolina; Oct. 26


Human Clown Puppet

Get Ready for the Philly Fringe Festival

From September 7-24, Philadelphia hosts the 2017 Philly Fringe Festival, a 17-day, genre-bending arts extravaganza. This hotly-anticipated annual event features 130+ performances like adult-only puppetry, fetishy dances, and poetry married with 80s-era answering machines, but there’s stuff for the kids, too.

Highlights of Philly Fringe

Since 130+ performances divided by 17 days equals you can’t get to them all, you’ll have to pick and choose from all the worthy acts. Decision-making can get dizzying, so here’s a smattering of highlights from various genres – even though it’s tough to pick highlights from Philly Fringe’s embarrassment-of-riches schedule of events.

Labor of Love: Waitstaff Sketch Comedy, Philadelphia’s premier sketch comedy troupe, returns for its 16th Fringe Fest performing original sketches that run from “silly to sophisticated” and “rude to ridiculous.” It’s a safe bet the popular Real Housewives of South Philly will show up at some of the performances. (L’Etage Cabaret; 13 performances from Sept. 8-23)

Puppet-delphia Fringe Slam: An adults-only, late-night variety puppet show where both the puppets and their humans get “risky and frisky.” Musical acts and special guest stars join puppeteers from Philly, NYC, and beyond to share the stage with puppets for a wide-range of acts. (The Drake-Proscenium Theater; Sept. 23)

KINK HAÜS: Philadelphia-based choreographer and performance artist, Gunnar Montana, transports the audience to a brutal underground nightclub where “no f*cks are given, and fierceness is always welcome.” Anything goes at this performance of fantasy, fetish, and carnal desire. (The Latvian Society; 19 performances from Sept. 5-24)

Way of Words: Interactive poetry and visual arts collide with the muse of memory and the “urban wilderness” of Germantown where everyone is invited to write and read poetry, paint, collage, or just watch others experimenting with their creativity. A musical performance shows up somewhere in there, too. This is one of the many free events during Philly Fringe Fest. (Herman St. Studios; September 22-23)

Camper Fringe: Inside the Haas Biergarten at FringeArts is a 1962 Nomad camper where some definitely fringe-y action happens before and after various performances. On any given night there are tarot card readings, an interactive experience called Voicemail Poems that travels way, way back to the days of analog voice mail machines, or an oh-so-secret black market operation that sells small, intimate performances. (FringeArts; various days during Fringe Fest)

Family Fringe

Sure, there’s a lot at Fringe that goes above the heads of tots, but they don’t have to be left completely out of the fun. Get the younguns excited about the arts with several Fringe performances like the Liberty City Radio Theatre recreating the “golden era of the theater of the mind.” Actors will play multiple roles and create an old-time radio show written for modern audiences. The two performances during Fringe will vary but will include a “dash of superheroes, a pinch of noir and an ample serving of humor.” (Headhouse Cafe; Sept. 8 and 22 at 8pm)

If you’re going

  • With so many performances, the Festival Guide is your best friend. It’s online, but guide books are also distributed throughout the city.
  • Students, and those 25 and under, can get $15 Presented Fringe Festival tickets and $5 off Neighborhood Fringe Festival tickets, if the original price is $15 or more.
  • Get tickets early. About 40,000 fringe-y arts lovers attend the festival, and some events sell out quickly.
  • Philadelphia’s St. Benjamin’s Brewing produced a special beer in honor of the fest, Fringe Benefits – a hoppy American ale brewed with heather. It’s available at Le Peg, at FringeArts, and St. Benjamin’s Tap Room, both excellent choices to grab a bite during Fringe Fest.