A dark and stormy night for adults only

Disaster movies take on reality at science centre event

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be in the centre of a tornado? If you haven’t been to Telus Spark’s Nature Unleashed exhibit to find out Adults Only Night on Thursday April 10 is the perfect opportunity. Not only will you have the chance to watch a tornado from a full panoramic view as it spins over your head but you’ll also get to explore what creates volcanoes discover the devastation wreaked by hurricanes play with tectonic plates to understand earthquakes and find out about the late Tom Samaras and his team who were groundbreaking storm chasers and researchers.

And that’s just the start. Adults Only Night is more than a chance to stop in and play around the science centre without kids demanding a turn it also has a theme — this month is Disasters: Movies versus Realities — along with presentations by experts in the field hands-on workshops drinks and DJs.

For April’s event the science centre will host flood mitigation experts from Alberta Water Portal including hands-on demonstrations; a University of Calgary geography professor talking about climate change such as what will physically happen if the polar ice caps melt; F&D Scene Changes offering a behind-the-scenes look at creating special effects for disaster movies along with the opportunity to create some of your own; and a crew of real storm chasers.

The Airdrie based storm-chasers will share stories show off gear put up videos and answer questions. Some of those storm-chasers have had real experience in Tornado Alley including Beth Allan of the Prairie Skies team. She recalls an incident while following a storm involving a tornado in Nebraska and with another tornado warning in effect when she was guided down a paved road that quickly became worse than a dirt road. She and her team “got stuck in the sand had no cell service couldn’t get out to push because lightning was raining down around us and the [tornado] was rapidly catching us….”

The end of that story and other thrilling adventures will be shared by Allan and other storm-chasers on April 10. They’ll also be addressing how what they do and the reality of storms they chase differs from what you’ve seen in movies — like their favourites ( Twister and Sharknado ) and their least favourites ( Metal Tornado and Ice Tornado ). They’ll even be showing the real storm-chaser footage that was used in the movie Thor and doing a side-by-side comparison.

During the Alberta floods of 2013 many of the storm chasers “turned their knowledge of social communications weather and terrain to informing people about the flood as it was happening.”

To date 40000 people have visited this immersive interactive exhibit which opened in Calgary in December and closes on May 4. If you haven’t this will be the last chance to see the exhibit child-free before it makes its way to New York’s Museum of Natural History.