Late Night with Catalysts: New program offers after-hours fun for the young at heart

When I tell people I’m the Overnight Coordinator at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, I usually get one of two reactions. It’s either a sarcastic “Oh, does everything come to life at night?” or an astounded “People can spend the night there?!” While I’m in the Youth Education Programs department and typically work with the kiddos, we decided to partner with the Catalysts young professionals group at HMNS to create a late-night event for the young at heart. On July 30 we had our first-ever adult late night at HMNS exclusively for the Catalysts group.


The museum up late. From left to right, Emily Lutz, Elizabeth Marlowe, Jayme Schlimper (in the bear mask), Matti Hammett, Kelli Lozada, Nicole Temple, Julia Russell, Kelsey Friedemann, Madison Weinhoffer, Katie Conlan, and Sahil Patel.

Since it’s summertime, we decided to take everyone on a trip down memory lane to good ol’ summer camp. Of course, we had to make it a trip with a bit of that HMNS pizzazz. Late-nighters could “roast” s’mores in our toaster ovens as an indoor (and flameless) spin on everyone’s favorite campfire cuisine. We had a make-your-own trail mix bar complete with barbecue flavored mealworms as an optional but delicious addition. We also had some Cool Chemistry demonstrations by seasoned Outreach presenter Sahil Patel and flashlight-led tours of the Morian Hall of Paleontology with Connor Eichenwald from the museum’s W.T. & Louise J. Moran Ecoteen Program. Finally, if campers wanted to capture the moment, we had Smilebooth there with a bevy of youth ed-crafted, camp-themed props! See some of our favorite snapshots below.

If a summer camp-themed late-night sounds like your idea of a night well spent, then Catalysts is the group for you! Our young professionals group gives you access to a variety of events throughout the year including tickets to an exclusive Catalysts events each quarter and tickets to our Mixers and Elixirs events during the summer. That’s on top of the usual membership benefits like free access to our renowned permanent exhibition halls and advance notice of upcoming events and special exhibitions. Visit our Catalysts Web page to join today!


From left to right, Christine Dubbert, Sahil Patel, Madison Weinhoffer, and Daniel Echeverri.


From left to right, Clark Kellogg, Nicole Temple, and Allison Kellogg.


…and Sahil Patel, again. :)


Top, left to right, Julia Russell, Zack Kammer, Hunter Robinson (bear mask), and Dalia Rihani. Bottom, from left, Britt Baumgardner and Freddy Dabaghi.


Dain Geist and Rachel Wilkinson.


Morgan and Elizabeth Hann.

Late Nights at HMNS!

hay guyz!
Creative Commons License photo credit: me and the sysop

As the Overnight Coordinator here at the Museum I have had the privilege of spending many nights here at the Museum. It is a lot of fun, kids and parents often ask if my job is a little bit like the job Larry Daly has in the Night at the Museum movie and I always say “it’s not quite THAT exciting!” but it is definitely a great program!

Our Spring Overnight schedule is packed and by the end of May we will have seen 3 school groups from out of state, 5 scout groups and even one Overnight for Educators only! Because some of our school field trips and our weekend Overnights fill up six months to a year in advance, we have decided to start up another option for those of you who’d like to know what the Museum is like after the field trips leave and the doors are shut for the day… the late night of HMNS!

chemistry-with-carolyn-leapOur first Late Night has been developed for a group that is going to be auctioning off the spots for a fundraiser at their elementary school. They’ve selected to see a Cool Chemistry show (performed by our very own Carolyn of Science on Stage,) a Planetarium show, have a pizza party with the dinosaurs and then a late night flashlight tour of all of the spooky and gross things to see around the Museum!

The groups for these events are limited and activities can be selected to suit your group so you really do get the personalized backstage pass to the Museum after hours! We’re hoping this program will grow and we will be able to share our fun Museum adventures with more students and families who may not be quite ready to stay the whole night with us!! For more information on setting up an Overnight or a Late Night for your group, email me at  

As part of the FunHundred we’re also offering a couple of late night events for families to sign up for individually including  Dinos After Dark and A Night at the Museum — check them out!

This weekend: Body Worlds open for 60 straight hours

Scenario 1:
You: Oh man, Body Worlds is closing this weekend and we haven’t gone to see it yet!
Other (spouse, friend, imaginary friend, sworn enemy, etc.): We need to see it before it closes!
You: 1. But I can’t. I am working today.
        2. Its going to be too crowded.
Other: Don’t worry, its open for 24 hours straight this weekend. We can go at anytime, and we can avoid the lines by purchasing tickets online!

Scenario 2:
You: Its 4 a.m. and I am so bored. Nothing is open. I don’t want to sleep.
Other: Lets go check out Body Worlds! Its open all weekend.
You: Now? It’s 4 a.m.!
Other: Yes, now, you fool! Let’s go!

So – these scenarios may or may not happen to you exactly as rendered. But, the fact remains – if you haven’t seen BODY WORLDS 2 & The Brain – Our Three Pound Gem – this weekend is your absolute last chance! Luckily, the exhibition will remain open around the clock during its final weekend in Houston. You’re only available at 2:15 a.m.? No problem. Tickets are available from 9 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 20 through 9 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 22.

BODY WORLDS 2 & The Brain – Our Three Pound Gem features more than 200 real human body specimens, including more than 20 whole bodies; healthy and unhealthy organs; and body parts and slices, all preserved through a remarkable process called Plastination – a method for extracting bodily fluids and soluble fat from specimens, and replacing them, through vacuum forced impregnation, with reactive resins and polymers. As a result of this process, visitors to BODY WORLDS will see inside the human body, learn how it works and how it can be affected by disease and lifestyle choices.