Adults discover Science Night Live in Topeka

Kyle Morris, floor manager and program developer at the Discovery Center, deals out some cards for a non-gambling game of blackjack. The game was played due to the random nature of the cards demonstrating both luck and probability.

On the evening of Friday, June 13, cars full of grown men and women packed into the parking lot of the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center, yet not a child was to be seen. The occasion was the Discovery Center’s first adults-only event known as Science Night Live.

The monthly event happened and will continue to happen on the second Friday of the month and feature an overarching theme for the event.

As this second Friday of June happened to fall on a Friday the 13th, the event’s theme was the “science of superstition,” which challenged visitors to examine superstitions through the scientific lens of probability and ran from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

One activity the event that relied on probability was a blackjack table, as well as other luck based board games with a bit of strategy thrown in. Probability wasn’t the only idea being covered though as the event also had exhibits identifying the history of certain superstitions like triskaidekaphobia and throwing salt over one’s shoulder.

The event, being an adult’s only affair, allowed for the purchase of alcoholic beverages and snacks were provided for free. One of the drinks was the “Cycl-rita,” a margarita mixed using a blender attached to a stationary bicycle. The faster attendees pedaled, the quicker the ice was crushed and the margarita mixed.

In addition to the events created solely for Science Night Live, participants were encouraged to participate in the activities that were permanent fixtures in the Discovery Center. One example of these activities was a demonstration of Archimedes’ screw, a method of moving water invented in ancient Greece that is still in use today.

Other activities included a heartbeat monitor rigged up to a drum so patrons could here their heartbeat, the mixing of primary colors to paint of glass walls and the demonstration of air currents in a cyclone chamber. A DJ and photo booths were also present.

“It’s been fun to go out and see the outdoor exhibits that they’ve expanded, I’ve been out here several times and in the past they didn’t have all the outdoor exhibits completed,” said Sarah Schute, 35, a retail operations worker at Capitol Federal and a Washburn alumna.”It’s really nice to see that they’ve continued to invest in the Discovery Center and it’s nice to see the different adult related items they’ve put out, my favorite is the is the outdoor track with the wooded area and the bicycles,” said Schute.

The event itself was a hit according to Andrea Etzel, head of marketing for the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center and planner for Science Night Live.

“I think just by the turnout and seeing people have fun it was definitely a success,” said Etzel.

Etzel also confirmed that she has plans for Science Night Live to be once a month, every month, at least until the end of the year.