Science museums add a sense of wonder to special events and corporate outings, surrounding attendees with interactive exhibits that challenge the imagination. Whether planners offer groups an exclusive tour of the latest exhibit or bring in one of the museum’s science experts to give a compelling presentation, there are always new avenues to explore within these special settings.
Next time you are looking for a fresh and engaging atmosphere, consider taking your group to one of these five nationally recognized attractions.
U.S. Space and Rocket Center
Huntsville, Alabama, carries a long history as a place of innovation and discovery, playing a pivotal role in the development of some of the earliest satellites and spacecraft. Today, the sciencecentric hub is home to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, which houses the largest collection of rockets and space memorabilia in the world.
“It’s more than just a meeting place,” said Pat Ammons, director of communications at the museum. “It’s a place that showcases some of the greatest accomplishments in human history, and that creates a very inspiring and forward-thinking environment.”
The Smithsonian Affiliate museum showcases more than 27 full-scale missiles and rockets, including the historic Saturn V moon rocket. One of only three rocket designs of its kind in existence, the Saturn V is the largest space rocket ever built and remains the only spacecraft capable of transporting man to the moon.
Meeting groups can dine under the shadow of this towering 364-foot piece of machinery in the Saturn V Hall, which accommodates up to 1,000 guests in a colorful exhibit space that highlights the history of space exploration through interactive displays and artifacts.
“When you walk into the Saturn V Hall and see the engines of the Saturn V, you hear people gasp,” said Ammons. “This is the rocket that took man to the moon. It doesn’t get much more inspirational than that.”
Saturn V Hall opens onto a scenic terrace that overlooks a vertical full-scale model of the Saturn V rocket in the Apollo Courtyard. In addition to the outdoor event spaces available on the terrace and in the courtyard, Shuttle Park can host up to 1,000 guests for special events and is the only place in the world where visitors can stand under a “full stack” space shuttle with the shuttle, rocket boosters and external fuel tank still connected.
Kentucky Science Center
On historic Main Street in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, the Kentucky Science Center is the largest interactive science museum in the state, supplementing meetings and events with easy parking, first-rate amenities and a stunning backdrop of the Ohio River.
The most popular event venue at the museum is the 5,700-square-foot Riverview Room on the top level, which offers a lovely panoramic view of the Ohio River and the surrounding cityscape. Many groups use this area for their main reception or event, and then use the smaller classroom spaces or Science Education Wing for breakout sessions. The Science Education Wing features four wall-mounted, large-screen displays and can seat about 35 guests; the three 1,500-square-foot classrooms offer a more intimate setting for groups of 50 or fewer.
Planners can bring in one of the staff educators to lead scientific demonstrations or team-building exercises, such as a friendly rocket-building competition. During this entertaining activity, groups break into teams to design and construct their rockets, and then compete to see whose rocket will fly the highest. Scavenger hunts can also be organized to give attendees the opportunity to explore the museum galleries.
Throughout the year, the Kentucky Science Center hosts an after-hours event series for adults called Eat, Drink and Do Science, where guests can dance, drink and learn about subjects such as the science of beer-making or how the human brain processes taste.