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OPINION | Carin Schoppmeyer: Adults play like kids at Amazeum

Next up is UnGala by Carin Schoppmeyer | February 12, 2023 at 1:00 a.m.
Sam Dean, Amazeum executive director (from left), Jeannie Quail, Dayton Castleman, Toni Leutjen, Tim Harrell and Becky and Dave Schoewe gather at the children's museum's Adult Night on Feb. 2 in Bentonville. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)

The Scott Family Amazeum's Adult Night on Feb. 2 was a perfectly timed escape/release for many of us who had been snowed and iced in for several days. The sold-out event afforded adults "a night off from adulting to play and explore the arts and sciences with drinks, light bites, and hands-on activities," organizers say.

The first Adult Night since the pandemic saw a crowd of some 300 who had the opportunity to create screen-printed tote bags, making them unique by choosing their own colors and patterns; manufacture a pewter "Zing" (the museum's signature lightning bolt) by pouring molten metal into a mold, then allowing it to cool and set up; build wearable fashions with LED lights in the "bling bar"; and watch their creations hover and float in the "In the Making" exhibition's wind tubes.

Organizers tell me future Adult Nights and adult programming will also focus on interactive experiences, centered around Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) learning.

While the Amazeum is known as a children's museum, "less known is educational programming for all ages -- amaZing for all ages," according to a news release. "Upcoming adult programming includes a screen-printing workshop March 2, where registrants can get inky with Amazeum teammates and gain in-depth knowledge of the screen printing process. On May 4, learners can participate in an applied soldering workshop. Try your hand at binding metal and learn the skills to create your very own soldering wearable. With step-by-step guidance and support from Amazeum team members, no previous experience is necessary."

Save the date for the museum's UnGala benefit, set for April 21 at the museum. "Proceeds from the UnGala support access to Amazeum programs, and activities, as well as making it possible for one in five guests to experience the museum for free or at a reduced cost."

Suggested attire for the UnGala -- play clothes -- gives insight into the way it differs from "regular" galas. Guests take part in interactive experiences inside and outside the museum. "Want to finger paint in a black light room? To use your legs to provide kinetic energy to power a glowing, moving art exhibit? It's all possible at the UnGala." Past events have included "Life Size Mousetrap" by Mark Perez, and "Hand of Man," a 25-ton, 26-foot long, hydraulic-powered hand and forearm interactive installation by Christian Ristown.

Located at the intersection of J Street and Museum Way in Bentonville, the Amazeum experiences include a climbable tree canopy, indoor cave, the 3M Tinkering Hub, Hershey's Lab, Nickelodeon PlayLab, the Market sponsored by Walmart, and nearly one acre of outdoor space.

For more event photos --

Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected]

  photo  Scott Family Amazeum Board members Kelly Carlson (from left), Ken Mantel and Eric Scott welcome guests to Adult Night on Feb. 2 at the museum in Bentonville. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
  photo  Shelly O'Dell (from left), Kim Tisdale and Carley and Kari Klingerman enjoy Adult Night at the Amazeum. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
  photo  Toby Gray (from left), Anne and Danny Whalen, Matt and Cassandra Butler and Amber Bynum gather at the Amazeum for Adult Night. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
  photo  Kristin Ericson (from left), Jan Venters and Carol and Ed Clifford attend Adult Night on Feb. 2 at the Amazeum in Bentonville. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
  photo  Ed Gold (from left), Kerri Ruttenberg, Rick and Amy Allen and Leslie and Dave LeVan enjoy Adult Night at the Amazeum. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
  photo  Tyler Begneaud (from left), Elizabeth Hammons and Natalie Booth stand for a photo at Adult Night. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
  photo  Emily and Grayson Barber (from left) and Ashtyn Barbaree and Phillip Cannon enjoy Adult Night at the Amazeum. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
  photo  Alyson and Mark Brittain enjoy Adult Night. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)

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At a Glance

Adult Night

Who: Scott Family Amazeum

What: Guests afforded adults “a night off from adulting to play and explore” at the children’s museum.

When: Feb. 2

Where: The museum in Bentonville

Next: UnGala, April 21

Information: (479) 696-9280 or


Print Headline: Adults play like kids at Amazeum


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