If a formula exists where the length of a queue is proportional to the hotness of the ticket, then last night's Science Museum Late was the place to be. For the unarguably reasonable price of zero pence, hundreds of keen over-18s lined up in the cold, all for the joy of spending an evening in the museum without those unbearable creatures: Children Who Want To Learn Stuff.
The team certainly went all out for this final, Christmas-themed Late of 2009, with no less than fourteen separate special events laid on. Festive origami drew the initial crowds but it was the kid-free Launchpad that really scored big, with slightly frantic adults trying to play nicely on the interactive displays. The packed-out Rocket Show took twenty minutes and several splendidly gratuitous explosions to teach cross-legged learners how rockets work, while the in-house comedy team, Punk Science, performed two half hour sets to big audiences. The science link was more tenuous with the bucking Rudolph in the party games area, but hey, watching competitive men gripping on to a giant robotic reindeer? What's not to like?
With a festive pub quiz in the café, Silent Disco in the Flight gallery, carollers in the foyer and talks about the psychology of shopping, miniature toys and the giant Wimshurt Machine, there was something pleasantly educational around every corner. And even if none of that tickled the assembled fancies, there was always the novelty of drinking booze in a museum.
Science Museum Lates are clearly the date venue du jour: the place was heaving with cooing couples giggling at each other down periscopes and kissing by the rodeo. If you're single and furious, perhaps stay away. The next one's not 'til 2010 though, so who knows, by then you may have a date of your own to invite.
By Jane Macarthur