The evening of Jan. 24, the scene at the Hands On Children’s Museum will be pretty much like it is on any day: The museum will be full of people exploring, learning, making art and having fun.
But the theme of the action won’t be trees or fish or other cultures. It will be beer — and that, of course, means museumgoers will all be 21 and older.
The museum, which normally doesn’t allow visits by adults unaccompanied by children, is launching a quarterly night for grown-up fun with an exploration of craft brewing, including a tasting with offerings from eight local breweries and a mead producer.
“A lot of people know about the museum, but if they don’t have children, they probably haven’t had a chance to come and explore,” museum spokeswoman Genevieve Chan said. “We’re sharing that hands-on learning enthusiasm with an older crowd.”
The event — with crafts, experiments, opportunities to check out the museum’s regular exhibits and a DJ — is the first in a series of adults-only parties the museum is calling Adult Swim.
Museumgoers can test whether they have the gene that predisposes them to enjoy bitter flavors, such as those found in India pale ales, and create make-it and take-it crafts, including screen printing and pretzel necklaces. (Eating the necklace is an option, although there also will be barbecue for sale in the Outdoor Discovery Center.)
While strolling the museum and imbibing (from a souvenir glass), adults also might want to get creative in the museum’s art studio and play with the airway maze, where people send scarves and balls through series of pneumatic tubes.
“You can control the force of air with paddles,” Chan said. “Adults, just like kids, like the fact that they can have an effect on that exhibit.
“Surprisingly, almost all the exhibits that kids are fascinated with adults are fascinated with as well.”
Adult Swim was inspired by similar events at other museums, including The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
Museum education coordinator Adrienne Testa organized a series of adults-only nights at the all-ages Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C. Beer was the most popular theme, she said.
“At our largest beer event in 2013, we had 1,000 people,” she said. “When I found out that the Hands On Children’s Museum wanted me to organize adult events here, BeerCraft seemed like an obvious choice.”
People have been surprised to learn that there will be beer at the children’s museum, and that’s part of the idea.
“It really makes it clear that this is for adults only,” Testa said.
Future themes won’t necessarily focus on adult beverages, although the second Adult Swim will be called Cosmonauts and Cocktails.