That’s one of the lessons adults can learn Friday (Feb. 10) at the Hands On Children’s Museum’s Adult Swim.
The quarterly event, which turns the museum over to grown-ups for an evening of fun, education and music, will focus on “Love & Reactions.” And the smelly lesson is a playful experiment on the power of pheromones.
A dozen museum staff members have been sleeping in the same T-shirts for five nights running. After sniffing the shirts, each sealed in a plastic bag, visitors can read the profile of the person whose scent they liked best.
The museum did the experiment last February, too, said event organizer Adrienne Testa.
“I was a little bit nervous about how people would react,” she said. “I could not believe how enthusiastic our guests were about sticking their noses in these bags that had some pretty stinky T-shirts in them. They just loved it.”
Regardless of whom your nose prefers, no matchmaking will result.
“Last year, people were smelling these T-shirts and saying, ‘I need to know whose this is,’ ” Testa said. “This is not a dating service. We’re keeping our staff totally anonymous — even if they beg.”
The museum does suggest that the event is a good way for singles to mingle as well as an unusual pre-Valentine’s Day date for couples.
“It’s not your typical dinner and movie,” she said. “You’re playing and you’re learning, and there’s a nerdy science aspect to it.”
The state Department of Health will have representatives there to talk about how different types of condoms and lubricants interact and how sexually transmitted diseases spread.
There also will be opportunities to learn about how flowers and animals reproduce. And attendees can see their own DNA, spitting in a tiny test tube and watching what Testa describes as “white goopy strands” appear.
Chemistry students from St. Martin’s University will be at the event, creating colorful fire and mixing fire and ice, both with chemical help.
Other activities range from the disgusting (dissecting a sheep heart) to the delicious (sampling chocolate while learning about its aphrodisiac properties).
“Theobromine, which is really similar to caffeine, is unique to chocolate, and it’s a mild euphoric,” said St. Martin’s chemistry professor Arwyn Smalley. “Chocolate and Valentine’s Day go together, and partly that’s because the theobromine makes us feel this warm glow of well-being.”
The museum will also serve cupcakes, coffee and cocktails. (The first cocktail is free with admission.) Pulled pork sliders, macaroni-and-cheese and more drinks will be available for purchase.
People also can dance, climb and do craft projects at the museum, but one thing they can’t do is swim.
“I think that people are misguided by ‘Adult Swim,’ ” Testa said. “We get comments like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know you had a pool.’ ”
Adult Swim: Love & Reactions
What: The Hands On Children’s Museum’s quarterly event for adults only focuses on chemistry and compatibility as well as fun, food and drinks.
When: 7-10 p.m. Friday (Feb. 10).
Where: Hands On Children’s Museum, 414 Jefferson St. NE, Olympia.
Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Open to people 21 and older only.
Information: 360-956-0818, hocm.org/adultswim.
Coming up: This year’s remaining Adult Swim evenings will be BeerCraft: The Art & Science of Craft Brewing, April 21; Tinkering & Fiddling, June 9; and Illusions: The Story of Our Senses, Nov. 17.