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Posted on Dec 2, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food | 16 comments

Bioluminescence

First things first, let me take a hot sec to say CONGRATULATIONS to my friend Holly, who got married yesterday! I unfortunately couldn’t go back to Ottawa to attend the wedding, but hopefully she felt the good vibes I was sending her way all yesterday. :)

But okay, back to us non-married folk. Traditionally (er, in college), Thursday were known as a pretty hoppin’ night of the week. It would give Friday a run for its money. And since I’ll be spending the majority of tonight quivering in fear at the thought of tomorrow’s 15K race, I coerced my roommate into doing something fun last night instead!

Roomies

And what are two gals-about-town to do on a Thursday night?

Olephant!

Why, head to the Museum of Natural History for food, wine, and an awesome exhibit, of course! I felt so classy, getting all dolled up for a nighttime viewing of the new deep sea-inspired light installation exhibit, “The Bright Beneath“. When my dad suggested this event to me (it’s part of the Smithsonian’s “Mingle at the Museum” series), my roommate Erin and I took one look at each other before declaring that these are exactly the kinds of grown up events we are dying to take part in!

The Bright Beneath

After a bit of a Metro adventure (aren’t they all?) and a museum mix-up (NATURAL history, not AMERICAN history, Gretchen!) we made our way there. I was so excited at the prospect of getting to tour a museum after hours! It felt very elite, hahaha.

Rock LobsterSea SpiderLearning is Fun!

We got to walk around the entire Oceans section of the museum, which the exhibit was part of (the other areas were unfortunately, but understandably, closed off). There were only maybe 40 or 50 people in attendance at the event, so it was very private. As Erin pointed out while we were there, it was extra awesome getting to check out all the displays without worrying about running over (or being run over by) little kids.

Ocean Planet

The event also had little carts set up where we got to talk to field experts about various ocean life and bioluminescence-related things. One of the carts had a (dead) anglerfish for us to check out. Remember what that is?

Yep, it’s the huge scary deep-sea fish monster from Finding Nemo! Well, as it turns out…

In real life? Not so huge. I think they did some serious proportion-tweaking for the sake of the movie, haha. But admittedly, it was still pretty scary. And pretty cool. There really was something for everyone at this event, including specially-themed noms!

Yum?

Bahahahaha. Just kidding. The food was not weird, not themed, but still delicious.

AppsVelvet

There was a selection of apps, which included mini chicken cordon bleu bites and an awesome saffron (!) shrimp cocktail, as well as mini cupcakes. Erin got a carrot cake one while I opted for a red velvet. I also got one of their specialty cocktails (a drink ticket was included with admission to the event), which had orange juice, ginger-flavored vodka, and sparkling wine. Delicious!

Tubed

In the same room where they were serving the food and drinks, they had this crazy plastic bag snake-tube thing. We got there too late to hear the schpiel on exactly what it was supposed to represent, but it didn’t take long to figure out how much fun it was!

Whee!
MazeBagged
Halp?Ack!

A little too much fun, perhaps. What was all that about feeling all classy and grown up? Keke.

Bagged 2.

On to the main event: the actual exhibit we were there to see!

Deep Sea

The artist constructed these awesome mechanical, moving light installations that were equipped with plastic bag “tentacles” to represent the kinds of creatures that are found at deep sea level. The lights simulated the bioluminescence that those creatures use — like in the lure of the anglerfish above!

1.
2.3.

The installations spun and rotated as they hung from the ceiling, and displayed different colors and light patterns. They were really very neat! Though the ones that had digital eyes as part of their video display were a little bit creepy. Didn’t get really any photos of those though… possibly on purpose.

I would say that it definitely qualified as a fun and unique way to spend my Thursday. For those of you in the area, I definitely recommend getting down to the Natural History Museum and checking out the exhibit! It runs until January 8th. And, in case you needed a reminder, it’s FREEEEE! Gotta love that Smithsonian!

What’s your favorite kind of museum? Erin is a self-proclaimed lover of art museums (bo-ring!), while I’m an Air & Space gal all the way. Last night’s visit only confirmed that I need to revisit the Natural History museum though. Another thing to add to the list!

16 Comments

  1. What a VERY COOL thing to do on a Thursday night! (and for the record, we called Thursdays “GTD” for “Get Drunk Thursday” in college)
    I love all of the Smithsonian Mueseams- especially Natural History! I’ve definitely never been for dinner and drinks though!
    And, I have to say Gretchen- LOVE your outfit and you look so pretty and happy in those photos!! Love it, love it, love it!
    AND ood luck tomorrow- you will rock it!

      • I agree! You always look radiant in your photos. And it makes me feel jealous because I usually look splotchy in bloated in most of my photos.

        But seriously, did you TOUCH that angler fish? I’m terrified of ocean animals, ESPECIALLY the creepy ones that live in complete blackness hundreds of miles beneath the ocean.

  2. That exhibit looks so completely awesome! I wish I lived closer to DC so I could check it out :( Great way to spend a ‘thirsty thursday’ in my opinion!

    • Dad’s a member of the Smithsonian Resident Associates and was informed about it, so he got me tickets. They have them every month, I think!

  3. Having grown up in the National Art Gallery of Canada, I’m always big on the visual art places. But there will always be a special place in my heart for science museums. Too bad I didn’t know this when I was younger, but science rocks!

  4. I think if you came to the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore you would like art museums. It is not your grandma’s museum.

    That looks really neat and I will have to check it out. Growing up in DC where all the museums are free made me pretty spoiled. I remember the first time I was asked to pay and I was all whatwhatwhat! Pay for a museum?! What is this, the iron curtain?!

    • Hahaha, I know exactly how you feel! Which is why I continue to have mixed feelings about the Spy Museum. It’s so cool… but… museums in DC are supposed to be freeeeeee!

  5. Awesome! I would love to do something like that!

  6. Haha, and by “a bit of a Metro adventure” she means me getting extremely motion sick and probably almost fainting. Fun! We took a cab home. :-D

    I’m so glad you documented this! Such a fun, fabulous night!!

  7. Haha, I remember Thirsty Thursdays a little too well!!!
    Looks like a fun, grown up night :)

  8. That sounds like a perfect girls night out to me! I love natural history museums!

  9. I love your posts and read them regularly. My son and my father went to DC this summer and thoroughly enjoyed all of the museums. Their favorite was the Natural History Museum. I wish they had been able to experience what you had.

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