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Childhood Fantasies: Jurrasic Lounge

Put ‘after work drinks’ and ‘school excursion gone awry’ in the same daydream and the image that springs to mind is likely to be a fuzzy vodka-infused scene from an episode of The Magic School Bus. If that sounds amazing to you, too, then you’ll agree that the Australian Museum’s Jurassic Lounge is the place where adult versions of childhood fantasies come true.

On every Tuesday evening until April, the venue transforms into a place of music, art, and, um, live reptiles and dinosaur skeletons. Indeed, there are few stranger feelings in life than walking through a historical museum at night clutching a cool glass of wine. It’s enough to make you feel like a naughty school kid camping out in the museum after closing time, only this time a naughty school kid of legal age, of course.

From the outside, the museum appears to be quiet and possibly empty. But as soon as you walk through the doors, it comes to life; there is a bar with people lining up for drinks, there is strange music floating up from the skeleton section, and the entire venue is filled. But the most noticeable thing of all is the buzz of your inner child as you try to decide what to explore first.

Jurassic Lounge is a joint initiative run by the Australian Museum and event company Festivalists in an attempt to bring a new audience to the museum. The Festivalists team came up with the idea to give people an access to the Australian Museum that they wouldn’t normally have and to soak it in the best culture that Sydney has to offer. Festival Manager Karina Libbey says that the aim is to bring people back to the museum who perhaps haven’t visited since childhood and present them with art, music and new ideas at the same time.

“It gives people a chance to step into the cultural side of Sydney,” she explains. “The line-up changes every week, so you can actually go every time and see something different.”

Week one of Jurassic Lounge included guest DJs as well as the acrobatics from Circaholics Anonymous, a group who won Best Free Act at the Sydney Fringe Festival. The guests also heard about the history of vampires (from the experts) and got to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. Seven hundred people walked through the doors the first week, and the next two weeks brought in more than one thousand people.
Subsequent weeks of Jurassic Lounge featured a resident sexologist, a tarot card reader, artists creating live work through the night (such as Kevin Mason, who painted on people’s bodies), and a talk about 50 years of gay life in Australia.

Although it’s a bit of an experiment at the moment, Karina says that she hopes it’ll start a precedent for fresh ideas for the museum.

Doors open at 6:30pm and don’t close until 9:30pm. Tickets are $15 and include a free drink on arrival, and we have 10 double passes to give away for next Tuesday, March 8. To enter, simply email us at telling us what your favourite dinosaur is and why. We like the Apatosaurus, formally known as the Brontosaurus, because they're tall and are not cannibals. Just FYI.

words: Alex English


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