The theme on one of New Belgium’s wacky bikes (think tennis shoes instead of wheels) summed up the Friday night at Marbles Kids Museum perfectly. It wasn’t just any night, it was 21Marbles, and Take a Little Trip is the entire point.
It’s a time for “grownups” to take a break from the adult world and take a trip back in time when you could act silly, the crazier the better, and play games with your whole body instead of just your brain, or in “acceptable” team sports such as kickball or softball.
Ticket proceeds benefit the Marbles general fund, and bar tips from the June event are helping fund the Corner Play campaign.
It’s well worth the $8 price of admission. 21Marbles’ blast-from-the-past games with a hands-on twist were a blast to watch, and play, and word is getting around. June’s event was the third one, after the first in October 2015 and then another in February, and the –1,200 tickets now sell out in less than 10 days.
According Katy Hipp Burgwyn, Marbles communication specialist, the most popular activities have been human foosball; bike jousting; hippity hop, with two or three friends lining up for races across the room, around a cone and back again, contact tolerated (and encouraged) for winner-take-all bragging rights; and do-it-yourself stations like the art table upstairs where creative types could practice free expression. We dripped watercolor blobs onto a page, using a straw to blow them into splash monsters (think Monsters, Inc. hair) to be completed with eye stickers at the end.
Nerf tag, Giant Pong (think garbage-can-giant) and Hungry, Hungry Humans — where four “hippos” lying on their stomachs steered by four “drivers” race to scoop up the most balls into their home corner — were pretty raucous, while enormous board games (think checkers) and glow-in-the-dark activities at kid-sized tables offered more sedate options.
A rack in the center of the main common area (think pseudo dance floor) stored hula hoops in all sizes, and when keeping one alive got too easy, we picked up two. Not so easy.
No event of this magnitude would work without (loud) music, and G105 kept the crowd well-entertained throughout the night. Their framed selfie station was a hit, too.
Perhaps a little surprisingly, Hipp Burgwyn said that in addition to all the special games “grown-ups love playing in the exhibits, too.” But then who could resist sailing on a pirate ship, or recreating the infamous Titanic bow scene? Or manning the firehose on the firetruck?
The next date hasn’t been announced yet but it will be in the fall, and Hipp Burgwyn said they plan to have three or four events in the next year.
No matter what your age, do yourself a favor and sign up for the email list to find out when. Because why should little kids (and millennials) have all the fun?!
Jen Baker is a Sustainability Analyst for the City of Raleigh by day, but writes about Raleigh life by night for Raleigh & Co.