Canadian Museum of Nature hosts 3rd annual Science by Night
How's this for hands-on? Visitors hold a giant cockroach at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. May 18, 2017
Published Thursday, May 18, 2017 11:00PM EDT
Picking through owl vomit.
Letting a giant cockroach crawl on you.
Learning how lichens reproduce with a weird version of beer pong.
Just another night at the museum?
It was if you were at the Canadian Museum of Nature Thursday night. That’s when the museum held an event called Science by Night, four hours of free displays and special hands-on activities that let visitors unleash their inner science nerd.
“This is an annual event that we do here at the museum,” says Kasia Majewski, the facility’s Head of Marketing. “The focus is to showcase some of the science that we do behind the scenes in a fun and engaging way."
Engaging to say the least.
One activity had people daintily picking through owl pellets, compressed pellets of indigestible fur and bones an owl regurgitates after a meal. Aubrey Byrne found a large rodent skull, possibly a rat. “It’s entertaining at least,” she shrugged.
Another had people playing a life-sized board game on the floor called Evolve or Go Extinct. “If you roll a six you go extinct,” explained young Alexandra Levstek. Fortunately she was still evolving.
Lichen pong was the brainchild or resident lichenologist (yes, that’s a thing) Dr. Troy McMullin. Lichen is actually composed of fungi and algae living symbiotically. Players acted as a fungus trying to bounce their ping pong ball ‘spores’ into green cups representing algae while avoiding the brown cups representing the algae’s environment. “I mean, where else do you get to make a life form by playing a game?” enthused Emily Cormier.
There were over 20 activities throughout the museum. They even had a band and a wise-cracking balloon animal guy.
Not only was it a chance for people to become more engaged with science. It was also a great way to show of the museum’s scientists and curators. They are the ones who brought up the ideas for all the activities.
Well, except for the one the owls brought up first.