Discovery Center to host late-night, 21-plus Halloween event

The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center brings visitors up close to objects like this vintage 1956 XF8U-2 Crusader Jet tested by John Glenn and Alan Shepard before being selected by NASA.  Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce.
The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center brings visitors up close to objects like this vintage 1956 XF8U-2 Crusader Jet tested by John Glenn and Alan Shepard before being selected by NASA. Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce.
Edward Ainsworth, 10, of Sheldon, Vt., runs back to his grandmother and sister before settling into his planetarium seat to watch Christa McAuliffe: Reach for the Stars at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016.  (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Edward Ainsworth, 10, of Sheldon, Vt., runs back to his grandmother and sister before settling into his planetarium seat to watch “Christa McAuliffe: Reach for the Stars” at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center on Saturday.     ELIZABETH FRANTZ
Edward Ainsworth, 10, of Sheldon, Vt., runs back to his grandmother and sister before settling into his planetarium seat to watch Christa McAuliffe: Reach for the Stars at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Edward Ainsworth, 10, of Sheldon, Vt., runs back to his grandmother and sister before settling into his planetarium seat to watch “Christa McAuliffe: Reach for the Stars” at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center on Saturday. ELIZABETH FRANTZ

Have you ever gotten the urge to learn about space and aeronautics while wearing a Dracula costume and sipping on a craft brew? I know – who hasn’t?

Well, you can finally scratch that itch next week when the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center hosts its first “Spooky Space Night” on Oct. 30, during which the museum will be open late for Halloween activities for young adults.

While the Discovery Center is always a popular destination for school groups, this event is aimed at the young professional crowd – people in their 20s and 30s, said Trip Anderson, director of development. In fact, it’s a 21-plus event, so find a sitter for the kids for this one.

The event is a pilot program of sorts – the hope is to continue to do similar events regularly, perhaps as often as monthly, Anderson said.

“It’s a launch of what we hope will be a new, recurring program,” he said. “We’re targeting young professionals, and the first one is free.”

At this free event, attendees will get to explore the whole museum and all of its exhibits – the observatory will even be open for stargazing, if the weather cooperates. There will also be a costume contest, pumpkin carving, a solar system-themed scavenger hunt, raffles and – perhaps most importantly – a cash bar and food sales.

Admission is not the only thing that’s free at this event. Everyone who attends will also receive one free raffle ticket, and additional tickets will be available for purchase. While Anderson was not able to disclose specific raffle prizes, the items are being donated by Concord Craft Brewing Co., Chuckster’s, Escape Room Concord and Red River Theatres. All proceeds from raffle ticket sales will go back to the Discovery Center.

This is a novel idea for the Discovery Center, but not for science museums in general.

“Frankly, other science museums and institutions have done similar things, opening at evening hours to attract this demographic,” Anderson said. “We’re working with a couple young professionals groups to help out with programming to come up with things that would be of interest to that age group.”

If this inaugural “after hours” event goes well, Anderson said the goal is to keep them going.

“We’re opening this one for free, and if we can get sufficient sponsorship the goal is to make them all free,” he said.

There is no advance sign-up or registration necessary – just show up, go inside and have fun. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the event will end some time between 9 and 10 p.m., Anderson said. Make sure you bring an ID, as you must be at least 21 to enter.

For more information about the Discovery Center, go to starhop.com. For questions, call the Discovery Center at 271-7827.

Author: Jon Bodell

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