Friday, January 22, 2016

CLE Adventure #2: Drinking with Dinosaurs


I'm a sucker for quirky, boozy events that take place in typically non-boozy locations. Case in point? Think & Drink with the Extinct, a monthly interactive cocktail hour at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, which Mike & I attended with friends this week.

January's theme was forensics, & given that I am also a sucker for all things crime-related (Law & Order: SVU, Criminal Minds, the list goes on), it was an event that held particular appeal for me. Apparently plenty of other Clevelanders felt the same way: By the time we arrived, the line was out the door, & we waited more than half an hour just to get in!


I'd say it was worth the wait, though. For a $7 entry fee, we got to explore the museum after-hours, drinks in hand. I couldn't believe they trusted such a large group to just... walk around tipsy with open containers! Very Midwestern, wouldn't you agree?

There were all kinds of forensics-related stations for visitors to stop by - a make-your-own-flesh-wound station, an X-ray station, a station where you could talk to a medical examiner. We checked out the blood spatter analysis station, where we squirted some clear concoction onto paper from various angles & with varying degrees of force to see how they impact blood spatter. How very Dexter! (Minus the actual murdering...)


Unfortunately, the lines were so long at the other stations that we opted to just explore the museum instead - not that that was a bad alternative! I haven't been to a natural history museum in a long time - in fact, I don't think I ever made it to the one in D.C. except to see one of the Batman movies on their IMAX screen - so it was great to have the opportunity to look around, especially sans little kids.

Of course, all natural history museums are sort of the same - there aren't a whole lot of variations of the topic of "how the earth came to be" - but I really like that this museum has a few Ohio-specific displays. One case displayed all the snakes that live in the state (only three poisonous varieties!) & another case showed all of Ohio's insects, including a massive caterpillar that I hope never to encounter in nature. Other displays showed Ohio soil composition, Ohio glacier formations, etc., & though I'm not a big geological buff, I really appreciated the localized look at natural history.


My favorite parts of the museums were: the precious gemstones section, which is unsurprising, given my childhood love of rocks (total weirdo over here); the sea creature displays, which is strange because I am terrified of the ocean; & the bug displays, which is also unexpected because I absolutely hate bugs. Dead & pinned to a board, though, they were pretty cool - fascinating, beautiful, not gonna bite me. Exactly the way bugs oughta be.

You may have seen the story that went viral a few weeks ago about a beetle display at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. They have, like, every type of known beetle pinned to a board, including an Easter egg: a little VW Bug!

It's been there since the late '90s, but it got some attention recently when a Reddit user posted about it. It must be getting a lot of action since then because, despite the fact that the display is tucked away in the basement, we were among about a dozen people who were clamoring to find it in an otherwise-empty part of the museum. Check it out!


My other favorite Easter egg was closer to an actual Easter egg - a little chocolate robin's egg, wrapped in light blue foil, nestled among other more authentic-looking robin's egg replicas, sitting in a robin's nest in a display of birds' nests. One of those curators has a quirky sense of humor!

The next Think & Drink with the Extinct theme is Pick Your Poison to align with the museum's upcoming exhibit on "the complex and surprising world of poison." I think I'll keep a close eye on my drink during that one...

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