TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — West Alabama families are invited to don their spacesuits and prepare for blastoff during this year’s space-themed Hands-on Family Night at the Alabama Museum of Natural History on The University of Alabama campus.
A collaborative effort among UA’s Graduate School, the Graduate Student Association, Graduate Parent Support and Alabama Museum of Natural History, “Adventures in Space” will run from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at the museum in Smith Hall.
The event features exhibits by graduate students in different departments as well as music, food and door prizes. It is open to students, faculty, staff and community members, and it is free.
Family Night at the Museum started six years ago to help support UA students who are parents have a fun event where they can meet other parents and let their children see what their life is like as a student, said Dr. Cori Perdue, director of UA’s Graduate School Programs. The event opened to the community because the graduate students wanted more people to enjoy the interactive exhibits.
“It is a great interactive family event that is unlike other options,” Perdue said. “Families can spend the evening discovering space together, learning about things from engineering to textile design to biology to theatre and dance. . . . It is a great event for families to make memories that will last by doing fun and educational activities in a very creative setting.”
Following this year’s space theme, children will receive a star map that will be used to figure out a constellation with a dot-to-dot drawing. As children explore out-of-this-world exhibits presented by more than 20 graduate departments, a star will be identified at each station. Once the constellation is complete, children can enter their name into a drawing for prizes.
Other activities include a “Martian Quicksand Pit,” fun with liquid nitrogen and dry ice, designing a space suit and writing-drawing stories associated with space. Telescopes will be available as well as a NASA space suit for photos.
“I hope the graduate students enjoy giving back and enjoy being outside of their labs and classroms for an evening and get revitalized to continue on with their intense research,” Perdue said. “I hope the families will have a blast — pun intended — and feel like they have entered a new world of exciting exhibits that they can’t wait to discover. And I hope we can make an amazing environment for families to come together and make lasting memories . . . and inspire their children to dream big and dream about the many educational options they have waiting for them at universities like UA.”
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.