Animals After Dark
Flashlight Night at the International Wildlife Museum
6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 11
4800 W. Gates Pass Road
If your kids saw Night at the Museum and wished that they could experience displays coming to life like Ben Stiller did, there's a Tucson opportunity for something like that ... sort of: On Saturday, you can bring family members and flashlights to the International Wildlife Museum and explore the facility in the dark.
While maneuvering through the dark, kids will have the opportunity to learn about wildlife in an atypical and exciting way. They'll get to construct glow-in-the-dark crafts with signs and stickers to make a starry-night illustration, and the museum staff will show off animals such as snakes and a bearded dragon, said educational specialist Katie Olson.
Olson said this is the third year the museum has held the event, and that it has been a consistent success. She said kids love exploring the museum in the dark and added that it's important to get children interested in preserving wildlife at a young age.
"They're the ones who are going to be responsible for conservation in the years after we're gone," Olson said.
The International Wildlife Museum has been in Tucson since 1988 and has exhibits of hundreds of taxidermied species of animals and insects from all over the world. It's an educational program of Safari Club International and is intended to give people a better understanding of animal habitats and the conservation issues our modern society has created.
The cost is $8 for adults; $6 for seniors and military personnel; $3 for children ages 4 to 12; and free for kids younger than 3 and museum members. —H.M.
6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 15
3233 E. Speedway Blvd.
If helping to create a better planet is one of your passions, head to the Loft Cinema to see a compilation of films about humans' impact on the environment.
Nine short films will be shown, ranging from six minutes long to just under a half-hour. The film festival is hosted by the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, an alliance of 41 conservation and community groups. This is the festival's third year in Tucson, said Gabe Wigtil, program and outreach associate for the coalition.
"We tried to get a variety of films to capture environmental concerns," Wigtil said. The coalition also tried to get films that "had some local elements," such as the one that touches on issues with the Colorado River, which is the source of much of Tucson's water supply.
Other films that will be shown include Meet the Beetle, which illustrates the importance of one of Earth's smaller creatures, and Mining Patagonia, the story of how an open-pit mine would affect the town just an hour south of Tucson.
Wigtil said the films are intended to be educational and serve as catalysts for change. He cited Bag It, shown last year at the festival, as an example. Wigtil said that it spurred "on-the-ground efforts" and "was a good motivator for the community" to look for solutions to reduce the number of plastic bags we use.
The film festival is being held in conjunction with the Tucson Audubon Society's annual Bird and Wildlife Festival, an event in which people from all over the U.S. flock to the Southwest for a week of birding and wildlife activities.
Film festival tickets are $8 in advance, and $10 at the door. They can be purchased at the Summit Hut, Antigone Books, the Tucson Audubon Nature Shop or online. —H.M.
Tucson Sings the Blues
8 p.m., Friday Aug. 10
El Casino Ballroom
437 E. 26th St.
Come and honor the blues—especially the 1980s variety—at a show at the historic El Casino Ballroom.
KXCI FM 91.3 is presenting a House Rockin' Blues Review that features Arizona Blues Hall of Famers such as Hans Olson, Stefan George, Tom Walbank and the Bad News Blues Band, said concert promoter Jeb Schoonover (who works with the Weekly on Club Crawl® and other efforts).
Schoonover said that the show was planned in the spirit of KXCI's "Blues Review" live shows that took place back in the day when hip fashions included shoulder pads, leg warmers and hair bands.
"Personally, it's been a lot of fun for me to organize this show at the ballroom, because the shows that we did for it in the '80s are legendary," Schoonover said. (See Soundbites for more information.) He encourages everyone, but especially people who were in Tucson three decades ago, to see a re-creation of "the fun and glory of those shows."
For a memory-evoking evening, El Casino Ballroom is an ideal location, Schoonover said. Opened in 1947, the venue was a haven for black artists of the 1950s and '60s such as Fats Domino and Little Richard, who weren't allowed to play in Tucson's other clubs. It is also where Tejano music found its place in the Old Pueblo.
"If you haven't been to El Casino Ballroom, it's a local treasure," Schoonover said. "There's so much rich history ... and it's a good way to support local radio."
Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, and $12 at the door. They are available at Antigone Books, the Folk Shop, the Parish Gastropub and KXCI's website. Station members can buy them for $8. —H.M.
A Shower Without Water
10 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 12, to 3 a.m., Monday, Aug. 13
Kitt Peak National Observatory
56 miles southwest of Tucson via State Route 86
If you don't mind giving up a few hours of sleep, Kitt Peak National Observatory is hosting a late-night Meteor Mania program in which participants can spread out blankets or sleeping bags, or relax in lawn chairs as they catch an unobstructed view of a meteor shower.
This is a late-night event, because the best times to observe a meteor shower are usually after midnight, said Robert Martino, the public-outreach program coordinator at Kitt Peak. Conditions are also usually best on nights when the moon is dark, which will be the case for Meteor Mania. And because the observatory is 56 miles from Tucson, the washout from city lights will be greatly reduced.
Martino will be at Meteor Mania to educate visitors about meteorites, asteroids, comets and how meteor showers are created. A piece of an asteroid will be available for visitors to inspect and touch.
"(Meteor Mania is) especially fun, because meteors are just the coolest," Martino said. "And so few people have ever seen one, because most Americans live in cities. When you come up to Kitt Peak, and the moon is dark, you don't just see one or two; you see dozens of them. Being able to show that to people, and especially children, is a really cool thing about my job."
Snacks and refreshments will be provided. Visitors are asked to not use their cell phones while at the observatory, and are asked not to bring pets.
The cost is $45 for adults; $40 for Kitt Peak members; and $25 for children 8 to 16 years old. — S.V.