Night at the museums: Adults get to play at Pittsburgh’s cultural spots
If you’ve ever taken a child to one of Pittsburgh’s many cultural spots, you know how tempting some of those cool exhibits can be. But who says those kid-centric spots have to be just for the younger set? Adults deserve some childlike fun, too.
Carnegie Science Center‘s 21+ Night
It’s always a little frustrating for an adult to be surrounded by kids at the Carnegie Science Center.
“Everyone knows adults would like to play air hockey against the robot, too,” says Zachary Weber, education coordinator of adult programs at the North Shore site. “But it’s a little rude to push the kids out of the way.”
For that reason, the center has its 21+ Night. At the events, which run from 6 to 10 p.m. at the North Shore site, all three floors of the center are open only to adults, who can take advantage of cash bars on each level.
The 21+ Nights started in 2012, he says, as a way of luring adults who were more used to being chaperones than visitors. Now, the evenings are offered on one Friday evening every month but July.
Planners were hoping for about 100 people the first evening, but drew more than 300, Weber says. Now, gatherings average about 1,000 per event.
He says it’s always fun to see the adults playing the Sounds of Science game, where they try to identify squeaks and booms, or to see them put on uniforms of Imperial Stormtroopers.
Weber says the staff tries to build the 21+ Nights around themes. The Sept. 26 theme will be “Starry Nights” and will feature members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh directing gazes into the night.
Oct. 31 will be sponsored by Wigle Whiskey from the Strip District and deal with spirits of the ghostly and alcoholic kind. Members of the Pittsburgh Glass Center will take a look at glass and its history Nov. 14.
To add another adult attraction, the nearby Rivers Casino offers $15 in free slot play to visitors — which, of course, lets you deal with the science of good luck.
The 21+ Night is $15, $10 in advance. Details: 412-237-3400 or carnegiesciencecenter.org
Party in the Tropics
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has a hot spot for anyone seeking a fun-filled evening in an exotic environment. Party in the Tropics is held at the conservatory in Oakland from 7 to 11 p.m. on select Fridays for guests age 21 and older.
The event draws from 250 to 500 guests each month, Phipps spokeswoman Liz Fetchin says.
The Tropical Forest Conservatory, with its gorgeous greenery, waterfalls and plants, transforms into a nightspot where guests can enjoy treats and cocktails and boogie down to a DJ-provided soundtrack.
Upcoming Party in the Tropics dates are Oct. 3, Nov. 7 and Dec. 5. The cost, which includes Phipps admission, is $15.
Details: 412-622-6914 or www.phipps.conservatory.org
After Hours @ the Library!
Libraries are supposed to be quiet. Everybody knows this.
Yet, a few times a year, at a few of the Carnegie Library branches, this rule is flouted. “After Hours @ the Library!” is a chance for the library to let its hair down, and raise its voice above a whisper.
It’s definitely for grown-ups (21 and older), though, so leave the little screamers at home.
The next “After Hours” event, titled “Cirque,” will be Oct. 17 and feature a circus theme. There will be food, beer and wine, music from local bands, tarot readings and “spirit drawings,” mask-making and “elegant face art,” airbrush tattoos, and a silent auction for library furniture. Plus, it will benefit the Carnegie Library system.
Food and drink will come from Full Pint Brewing, Marty’s Market (a grocer and cafe in the Strip), the Pub Chip Shop (Scottish and British food, South Side), Wigle Whiskey, Round Corner Cantina (Mexican food, Lawrenceville), and Greek Gourmet (Greek deli, Squirrel Hill).
“After Hours” will start at 7 p.m. at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s main branch in Oakland. Tickets are $45, which includes three drink tickets and hors d’ouvres, until Oct. 13, and $55 afterward.
Details: 412-622-3114 or carnegielibrary.org
Good Fridays at the Andy Warhol Museum
Every Friday is a Good Friday at the Andy Warhol Museum on the North Side.
After your workweek is through, take advantage of the half-off admission and sit back with a drink at the cash bar in the first-floor lobby and snap some selfies on the couch below a photo of Warhol on that same piece of furniture. Guests can explore the exhibits from 5 to 10 p.m.
But that’s not the only adult-geared happening at the Warhol.
The museum’s Sound Series features international, national and local artists that blur genres and the sensibilities of contemporary independent music. The Warhol Theater provides an intimate setting for these adult-oriented concerts.
The next Sound Series will be at 8 p.m. Oct. 3. It will feature Pittsburgh-based trio Andre Costello and the Coal Minors marking their debut release on Wild Kindness Records. Admission is $10, $8 for students.
Details: 412-237-8300 or warhol.org
National Aviary at Night
If you want to see the birds at the National Aviary without all that high-pitched squawking and squealing (we’re talking about the kids here), the National Aviary at Night event is for you.
Designed for guests 21 and older, the events are the third Thursday of each month.
Visitors to the North Side aviary’s Night events — often 20-something professionals or older couples on a date night — can explore all the exhibits and maybe even meet a penguin.
“It just gives you a really different perspective on the aviary,” says aviary spokeswoman Laura Smith.
With music playing in the background, attendees can take part in a “chill vibe” with an open-eating area where you can grab something to eat from Atria’s Kookaburra Cafe and drinks from a cash bar.
National Aviary at Night events run from 5 to 9 p.m., and guests get half-price admission for $7. Bring in a receipt from a North Side restaurant, and you get an extra $2 off.
The next event, Oct. 16, features free admission from UPMC Health Plan. Details: 412-323-7235 or aviary.org
Westmoreland @rt 30 Art on Tap
A happy hour is a happy hour — unless it’s Art on Tap 5.2.7, held from 5 to 7 p.m. on the second Friday of each month at Westmoreland @rt 30 in Unity.
“This is a happy hour that embraces art and art appreciation,” says Judith O’Toole, director and CEO of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, currently operating at the Unity location while the Greensburg facility undergoes a major renovation and expansion. “It’s been an amazing success, surpassing our highest goals.”
Art on Tap began in November 2010 as a way to engage a younger generation of potential museum visitors and supporters.
For $7, attendees get two tickets for beer or wine and a variety of light bites from a local restaurant. Live local music is featured, along with an art scavenger hunt with art- and museum-related prizes. Admission is $5 for those who prefer soft drinks.
Some months also serve as opening receptions for the museum’s series of Pop-Up Exhibitions.
Each installment boasts a different corporate or nonprofit sponsor, O’Toole says, making the event a dual outreach to the community.
Attendance averages about 200, with a high of more than 300, according to Claire Ertl, the museum’s marketing and public relations director.
“We see the traditional age group of museum supporters, and I’ve definitely noticed a strong representation of people in their late 20s and early 30s,” Ertl says. “The fact that everybody feels welcome is what makes it great.”
Details: 724-837-1500 or wmuseumaa.org