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Discovery Place: Where you can lie on a bed of nails with a beer

Discovery Place has long been a hot spot for Charlotte school field trips. But like the My Little Ponies and Stretch Armstrongs of our childhood, we’d go on the trip and then quickly forget about it.

Later, the memory rises up — I often drive by Discovery Place on my way to some grown-up destination, looking through its windows and feeling nostalgic.

Want no more, fellow nerds (normal people welcome, too)! Science on the Rocks is Discovery Place’s answer to attracting Charlotte’s millennials to the museum.

Average attendance has clocked in anywhere between 500 and 2,400 people for this monthly event, and SOTR will celebrate one year of being the most entertaining way to spend a Friday with an “I Love Science on the Rocks” theme on July 17.

Debra Smul, vice president of marketing and communications at Discovery Place, gives us a little insight into SOTR on the eve of its first birthday:

How did the idea for SOTR come about?

“For a while, we had been interested in trying to engage more young adults at Discovery Place and tried a few things over the years — coffees, speakers, etc. — but they were smaller and didn’t build momentum. We decided to try something that brought people together socially plus gave them some hands‐on, yet grown‐up things to do that exposed them to science.”

“We pulled together a team of people from all parts of Discovery Place — education, marketing, IT, guest services, accounting… everywhere — who were young and energetic and asked them to help brainstorm the themes, activities and overall attitude of the nights.”

What are some past highlights?

“We always remember the first Science on the Rocks. … We were so nervous and had no idea how many people would come. So when more than 2,000 people showed up, we were floored.

“It’s just so cool to see adults with beers in hand playing with the giant Lite Brite, lying on the bed of nails, and on and on.”

Finally got to try out the bed of nails at discovery place! #scienceontherocks

A photo posted by sebyrne16 (@sebyrne16) on Feb 20, 2015 at 7:10pm PST

Upcoming themes?

“July will be the one‐year anniversary of Science on the Rocks so we are bringing back all of the favorite activities of the last year. It’s called “I Love Science on the Rocks”  …

“Guests will be able to enjoy Liquid Nitrogen Wine Slushies, Vaportinis (special cocktails that vaporize the alcohol so that the cocktail is actually inhaled rather than swallowed), the Fear Factor Challenge, Jet Propulsion Beer Pong and lots more.”

Where does the money go?

“After the cost of the event is covered, the remaining funds are used to support Discovery Place and its mission of providing our community with engaging experiences that help people of all ages discover the wonders of science, technology and nature. …”

I can’t wait to see what these Liquid Nitrogen Wine Slushies are all about… see y’all on the 17th!


Nicole Brantley
Nicole Brantley NikkiBrantley
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