Manitoba

Manitoba Museum offers adults only safari night

The Manitoba Museum is swinging open its doors and setting up a bar for some adults-only fun.
One of the features of the Manitoba Museum Safari Night will be a demonstration of how to capture images of wildlife in the field, using the museum galleries as practice. (manitobamuseum.ca)

The Manitoba Museum is swinging open its doors and setting up a bar for some adults-only fun.

It will host Safari Night on Thursday from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. but it's not about animalism — it's about enjoying the museum space in a more civilized way.

In recent surveys, the museum's 25-40 fans said they would prefer to avoid a crowd full of shouting kids, said Scott Young, the museum's manager of visitor experiences.

"They told us 'I wanted my own time,'" he said.

Many working adults don't have much opportunity to visit the museum, which closes at 4 p.m. during the week. It's open an hour later on the weekends, but that's also when the biggest crowds and most kids are there.

People are kids again, playing with the exhibits. It's almost like you've turned back the clock in a lot of ways.- Scott Young, Manitoba Museum

The adult evenings, which were first offered last year, are aimed at the "sci-curious" who are interested in science but don't necessarily want to sit in a classroom to learn, said Young.

"Here, they can have a glass of wine and chat with others," including some experts on the theme of the evening, he added.

Last year, Ice Night focused on how climate change in Canada's North is affecting people, animals and the world.

Despite the seriousness of some of the topics, there's something about the museum that makes many adults find their inner child.

"People are kids again, playing with the exhibits," Young said. "It's almost like you've turned back the clock in a lot of ways."

Those attending Safari Night will spend time in the Earth Explorers exhibit and see some of National Geographic's most famous images, learning about the stories behind them from expert photographers. Visitors are also encouraged to bring a camera and go on a safari in the museum galleries with an expert guide who will demonstrate how to capture images of wildlife in the field.

"The wildlife in our galleries is very co-operative," Young said. "They don't walk away or hide."

The idea for adult evenings grew out of evening events the museum hosted in the past, such as Planetarium at Night, which was "kind of like a rave in the Planetarium" with music and light shows, Young said.

Staff decided to create themes based around the various galleries or temporary exhibits and provide learning opportunities for those who might not have been to the museum since their own school field trips.

The idea has worked. All 350 tickets for Safari Night have already been sold. The $15 admission ($12 for members) includes free pizza, while a cash bar will be set up in the foyer.

The event also benefits the museum, which earns some much-needed revenue it wouldn't otherwise get. A not-for-profit organization, it must raise more than 50 per cent of its annual budget, Young said.

Another adult evening set for April 12 will take place in the Planetarium and Science Gallery, celebrating the first human space flight, made by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961.

The night will include a space-themed costume contest, while DJs Manalogue and Lotek will headline a dance party under the Planetarium dome.

Adult play in the Children's Museum 

Winnipeg's Children's Museum has also tapped into the adult market with its #SeriouslyAdult Series. The doors are opened after hours with live music and a bar.

"Let out your inner child to experience the museum's galleries after dark and listen to great music from local artists — all while helping to raise money for the museum to enhance exhibits, create educational programs and help fund the Free2Play Access Program, which provides free museum visits to under-supported children in our community," states the explanation of the special nights.

The next one is set for May 6. Tickets are $25.

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