PORTLAND, Ore. – Since 2008, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) has hosted an after-hours experience where the 21+ crowd can explore the museum, learn unique and obscure scientific principles, and sample a variety of local food with beverage in hand.
Held monthly, OMSI After Dark is a science-fueled evening highlighting the science and ideas behind a popular theme, with interactive science demonstrations, local educational organizations, performance arts, and food and drink tastings. Past events have featured Animation, Oceans, Oktoberfest.
“OMSI After Dark is a special and often quirky way for people to explore the museum and enjoy science learning—without kids around,” said Sonali Shivdasani, senior event planner at OMSI. “Whether you’re here with a group of friends, or on a first date, you never know exactly what you’ll discover or what new science might intrigue you.”
Hands-on, interactive learning experiences are a staple experience at OMSI After Dark. These science demonstrations are generally oriented around the OMSI After Dark theme. For example, at OMSI After Dark: Oktoberfest, guests could test their hand-eye coordination at the Drunk Goggles demo – a fan-favorite opportunity for guests to experience firsthand how alcohol affects coordination, as well as how people process and react to information.
During OMSI After Dark: Wild World, an event centered on animals, guests were able to examine the skulls of different animals to see if they could determine the animal from which they came at the Cranium Conundrum demonstration.
Inspiring curiosity is the core of OMSI’s mission—a mission that can take many different shapes. This could be through an unexpected experience in the chemistry lab, meeting an astronaut at the planetarium, and through interactions with local and regional educational organizations.
At OMSI After Dark: Oceans, Wild Orca came and educated guests about rare orca sightings off the Oregon Coast and their efforts to tag and track the orca population.
Portland Indie Game Squad has brought their tech-savvy ingenuity and insights to OMSI After Dark for more than eight years. The local game developer and enthusiast organization teaches people how to make video games, while testing their new games with the public.
Supporting Local Business
From breweries to jewelry makers to s’mores connoisseurs, local businesses are the third staple experience at OMSI After Dark. Participating in OMSI After Dark events offers small businesses in the community an opportunity for them to share, discuss and promote their product with a new audience.
“We love being a part of OMSI After Dark,” said Holly Wand, the owner of Nothing Bundt Cakes in Clackamas. “You connect with a whole new demographic or audience that you may have missed. We have gotten many new customers from our time at OMSI After Dark—and the people watching is the most fun!”
The museum hosts about 15 OMSI After Dark events each year. Approximately one-third are tasting events, where the focus is on local beer, wine or cider. With 1,000 to 1,500 attendees, local breweries, distilleries, and vineyards gain valuable exposure as they share their products with event attendees.
“OMSI After Dark is one of my favorite events,” said Paxton Scott, the Northwest marketing manager at Ground Breaker Brewing. “They are always well-attended, and our gluten-free brewery and restaurant receives a ton of promotion during those four hours. Be prepared to pour a lot of beer and have a lot of fun.”
Tickets to OMSI After Dark are $16 for non-members and $8 for OMSI Members. Prices vary for tasting events and featured exhibits. For more information, visit omsi.edu or call 503-797-4000.