I was reminded why I love the McWane Center so intensely last Friday night when I visited one of my all-time favorite childhood spots for the much anticipated Speakeasy Science edition of the McWane After Dark series. There were a few tweaks I would have made to the organization of the event to assure that everyone who wanted to taste beer from local breweries would have gotten the opportunity, but overall, it was a great way to spend a Friday night in the Magic City.
Although the McWane Center advertised to folks (geeks) over 21 years old by emphasizing beer tastings and a cash bar (oh, and the enticing absence of children running amuck), this creative series was one of many on the science center’s event calendar that is engaging the community in all things science and technology. Who knows? Maybe by serving beer to adults who become nostalgic over the strangely comfortable nail bed or dusty dinosaur exhibit, the McWane Center hopes to bring in even more children during normal business hours with parents who attended the adult-only science party.
These lil’ scientists could grow up to make some of the best discoveries yet, and the McWane Center is doing everything it can to provide them with access to knowledge that is not always available to young learners.
Either way, the science center is showing just how involved in the community they’re willing to get, which is an exciting opportunity for kids around the Birmingham area. They even had something planned for youngsters the day after the Speakeasy Science event for the aforementioned parents trying to shake off nasty hangovers from the night before.
The children’s event, called Super Code Sunday, is held on Sunday afternoons throughout the year for kids from 10-17 years old who love to learn how to code. For those of you who have no idea what coding is, it has to deal with the programming of software for fun things like robots and video games. Think of it as a way for kids to learn a new language that they can actually use one day in their careers or just as a way to impress their friends who aren’t into computer science. We as a community will need these children very soon to take over the technology field and bring with them the innovation and creativity they gain from the McWane Center to their future jobs with Google and Microsoft.
Though this event is geared more toward older kids, Itty Bitty Magic City is another fun program for children (kindergarten and younger) to experience science at an impressionable age. This is exactly what we need in Birmingham! Why should we rely solely on preschool to engage kids and (hopefully) create a love for science? These lil’ scientists could grow up to make some of the best discoveries yet, and the McWane Center is doing everything it can to provide them with access to knowledge that is not always available to young learners.
I think the best thing about the McWane Center is their community-based mission. Of course their ultimate goal is to introduce a fun way of learning to children, but they get most of their hard work done with the help of volunteers. They even have programs for 6th and 7th graders to engage their altruistic sides by training them to be great leaders. It’s not difficult for me to fight for the success of this science center in the middle of downtown Birmingham. Just take a look for yourself at the McWane Center’s inspiring contribution to the community–or better yet, go visit the McWane Center if you haven’t already, and prepare to fall in love with science like so many children who come here do.