Beer N Bones Arizona Museum of Natural History

Attendees at the Beer N Bones event can pet unusual critters.

A date night or outing with friends doesn’t have to consist of a conventional dinner at a restaurant or drinks at a neighborhood bar. 

At the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Downtown Mesa, adults can learn about and interact with different science disciplines while also having a night out with their significant others or friends. 

As part of Beer N Bones on Friday, Oct. 18, the museum will have Speed Date a Scientist, Q&A sessions, a beerology panel, animal encounters, science stations, artists selling dinosaur-themed work, chances to try different craft beers and cuisine from local food trucks.  

Alison Stoltman, the museum’s curator of education, said guests come to the museum when they are children or have young kids of their own. This event helps to attract new audiences of adults to the museum. 

“This is an opportunity for us to get a new demographic into the museum of young adults that don’t often come to the museum but are interested in science,” Stoltman said. 

Beer N Bones is the museum’s primary fundraiser. This year proceeds from ticket and alcohol sales and a raffle will help the museum to fund a new gallery focused on Arizona 75 million years ago and the renovation of one centered around inquiry-based learning opportunities. 

As part of the raffle, the museum will give away a gift basket, a dinosaur quilt and a one-of-a-kind stamp set. 

In the past, the event has helped to raise money for Dinosaur Mountain and educational programs. Stoltman said Beer N Bones helps the museum expand. 

Stoltman said the event was designed for young professionals who are looking for more creative, interactive experiences. Besides the museum’s lecture series, Beer N Bones is the only event geared toward adults only. 

During the Speed Date a Scientist activity, scientists from different disciplines are introduced in a game show-style manner and attendees have a chance to ask them about what they do. When a gong is rung, the participants move to a different table with another scientist.  

Each year, the museum brings in scientists from different specialties, such as paleontology, archeology, zoology, chemistry, planetary geology and biomedical engineering. 

Stoltman said this activity is fun for the guests and the scientists. 

“They are looking for these opportunities to get their information out into the public. This is a really great medium to do that,” Stoltman said. 

As part of the beerology panel, scientists will discuss beer from different angles, including the evolution of the hop plant, microbial action during the fermentation process, the effects of alcohol on brain receptors, modern-day brewing techniques and alcohol use throughout history.  

Throughout the evening, guests can also interact with birds, tarantulas, snakes and lizards.  

Partnering organizations will offer hands-on activities such as an escape room, a forensic table or a maker space.  

But it comes down to the beer. Attendees can try a variety of craft beers from local breweries, as well as specialty items such as alcoholic kombucha and craft cider. 

The alcoholic beverages are donated by local companies. General admission tickets come with two food and drink tickets. 

VIP tickets have added perks such as early access from 6 to 7 p.m., four food and drink tickets, a commemorative glass and a behind-the-scenes paleo lab tour.  

“People tend to think of museums as being heavily funded or supported,” Stoltman said. “It takes public support to fund a museum. Events like that this are really important to supporting our goals.”

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