Recap: Dark Matters Nerdgasm

It’s been more than a year since Mack and I attended Dark Matters, a series of adult-only evenings at the Telus World of Science. Billed as an event where “science is served on the rocks & the adults come out to play,” Dark Matters provides a relaxed environment for learning and the opportunity to connect with an Edmonton attraction in a different way.

Dark Matters

Thespian robot

The Dark Matters that we attended last July was centered around food, while the theme of Thursday’s event was “Nerdgasm”. Top-secret Nerd Nite Edmonton lectures were the feature of the evening.

What brought us out to this particular Dark Matters was actually the Dinosaurs Unearthed exhibit. We’d recently visited Jurassic Forest in Gibbons, and learned that similar animatronic dinosaurs were on display closer to home.

Dark Matters

Mack with a juvenile t-rex

As one of our biggest complaints about Jurassic Forest was the distance between the viewing platform and the dinosaurs themselves, Dinosaurs Unearthed did deliver. The exhibition is, as expected, much more compact, with a combination of animatronic and fossil specimens on display.

Dark Matters

Dinosaurs Unearthed

The figures also featured the most up-to-date renderings of dinosaurs, feathers and all. Though we have to say, after learning that a velociraptor was between the size of a turkey and Great Dane, that classic raptor/kitchen scene in Jurassic Park just wouldn’t be the same if based on current scientific knowledge.

Dark Matters

I couldn’t help myself

While we enjoyed our visit with the dinosaurs, the highlight of Dark Matters did end up being the Nerd Nite lecture. Megan Evans, who plays the French horn for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, demystified the instrument for us. It was an enlightening and engaging 45 minutes, full of humour and fun facts. It was a great primer on what we could expect at a regular Nerd Nite event, which starts up again in September.

Dark Matters

Megan Evans on the French horn

Mack and I both agreed that this Dark Matters seemed to involve more elements than the previous one we’d attended. They made the most of the space, including outside the facility, where staff were launching rockets.

Dark Matters

Rocket launching isn’t just for kids

We ended our evening with a tour of TWOSE with long-time staff member (and now volunteer) Trevor Prentice. He is an enthusiastic ambassador of the centre, and introduced us to his favourite exhibit – an actual piece of the moon!

Dark Matters

Trevor with the moon rock exhibit

We were granted a behind-the-scenes look at the Margaret Zeidler Star Theatre (did you know that the laser shows are not pre-programmed and are controlled by the technician?). Trevor also showed us Sophie, the star projection machine used before the transition to a digital system.

Dark Matters

Sophie

It was a great way to spend an evening reacquainting ourselves with the Telus World of Science. The next Dark Matters is taking place on October 15, 2015, with a rock & roll theme – it should be fun!

Yelp’s Ultimate Science Party @ the Telus World of Science

Ever since the success of the Art Gallery of Alberta’s Refinery series, other cultural and learning institutions have jumped on the bandwagon to replicate their success of drawing young professionals into their folds. The Royal Alberta Museum has started their semi-regular Museum After Dark events, while the Telus World of Science organizes bi-monthly Dark Matters evenings.

Yelp Science Fair / Dark Matters

Telus World of Science

Yelp partnered with TWOS for their most recent Dark Matters event in order to throw Yelp’s Ultimate Science Party. It was a night to appreciate the Yelp community by merging food and drink with opportunities for adults to indulge in their childish wonder.

The Telus World of Science staff were great, patiently explaining how their stations worked and the science behind them. I made my hair stand on end, while Mack took part in a flaming karaoke device.

Yelp Science Fair / Dark Matters

Whee!

Yelp Science Fair / Dark Matters

Do re mi

A ton of people also took the “hovercrafts” for a ride – leaf blowers attached to perforated boards to be maneuvered with sticks. Not exactly what I pictured from Back to the Future, but close enough.

Yelp Science Fair / Dark Matters

Hovercrafts in action

Yelp had also organized a variety of pampering stations so guests could have their hair and nails done as well. A more popular unisex vendor involved balloon animals, which, according to those who lined up, could have also taken on a more naughty slant.

Yelp Science Fair / Dark Matters

Diane, Teresa and Brittney and their balloon masterpieces

Of course, a big draw that night for everyone was the food! Tasting stations were set up throughout the building, and stumbling upon them was almost half the fun.

Yelp Science Fair / Dark Matters

Mini Swiss2Go sandwiches

Yelp Science Fair / Dark Matters

Food truck bay

Taste of Edmonton, to help promote their upcoming 30th anniversary year (the festival starts July 17, and runs until July 26, 2014), had organized several of their restaurant vendors to offer a sampling of what to expect at the festival.

Yelp Science Fair / Dark Matters

Miles from The Lingnan dishes up kung pao chicken

The green onion cake from Hong Kong Bakery was irresistible, but the real surprise for me was the cheese fondue in a bread cup from The Melting Pot. It’s hard to mess up melted cheese on bread, but boy, was it delicious.

Yelp Science Fair / Dark Matters

Green onion cakes!

This was my first Yelp event in some time, and I was quite impressed with how many local businesses were a part of it! And though it was not a typical Dark Matters evening, I could see how the adult-only concept is a great program addition for the Telus World of Science. Mark your calendar for their next Dark Matters, a “Cowboys and Aliens”-themed event on August 28, 2014.

Thanks to Jennie and Yelp for a fun night!