TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The eighth annual Family Night at the Museum will be Feb. 17 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on The University of Alabama campus.
This year’s theme will be “Ocean Explorers,” and the event will include children’s activities developed by more than 20 UA graduate departments.
Admission is free, and students, faculty, staff and members of the West Alabama community are welcome. Activities will take place on all three floors of Smith Hall and the first floor of Lloyd Hall.
Family Night at the Museum started in 2011 in an effort to connect UA graduate students who have children with other graduate student parents in a family-friendly environment. A few years later, the event was opened to the West Alabama community. More than 1,000 parents and children attended last year’s Family Night at the Museum.
“The event was created specifically for graduate student parents to help them socialize and meet other student parents,” said Dr. Cori Perdue, director of graduate school programs at UA. “Over time, more graduate school departments wanted to put together exhibits, and we realized it would be great to make this a community event.”
This year’s ocean-themed event will include an exercise where children will be able to explore a variety of coastal and ocean landscapes on a map to determine where certain species live. Organized by the graduate department of geography, the exhibit will also include a computer that will show 360 degree sphere images taken by an ocean floor mapping team.
Children will also be able to make jellyfish out of paper plates, listen to how numerous foreign languages sound under water, watch science demonstrations and participate in a number of hands-on activities, including an obstacle course. The graduate departments of biology, theatre and dance, and kinesiology, among others, will have exhibits.
“Each department really embraces its exhibit, and the graduate student volunteers do a great job of conveying what they are learning to the children,” said Perdue. “The children get to see and learn about educational disciplines they might not hear about in elementary or middle school.”
Aside from the activities, families will be able to enjoy free food and have a chance to win a variety of door prizes.
Family Night at the Museum is hosted by UA’s Graduate School, Graduate Student Association, Graduate Parent Support, and Alabama Museum of Natural History.
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.