Adults-only event at Buffalo Museum of Science invites guests to face their phobias


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Spiders. Snakes. Taxidermy.

If any of these things give you the heeby-jeebies, you’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 12.5 percent of U.S. adults experience specific phobia at some point in their lives (specific phobia is defined as an intense, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger).

The Buffalo Museum of Science is inviting guests to face their phobias this Friday with their “Science After Dark” event for October, called ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark”.

The conversation will not only touch on phobias, but also the science behind them.

“We’re really excited to talk about it using science, but in a light-hearted way,” the museum’s director of collections, Kathy Leacock, said.

Some of the lesser-seen items from the museum’s extensive collection will be on display, including bats and tarantulas.

“We have about 750,000 items and we don’t get to showcase all of them,” Brian Field, digital marketing and audience engagement manager said. “You have an opportunity to see some of our collection- things that no one really gets to see unless you’re on one of our behind-the-scenes tours.”

About 35 phobias will be showcased throughout the event, including bacteriophobia (fear of bacteria), coimetrophobia (fear of cemeteries), and ophidiophobia (fear of snakes).

Those afraid of snakes can face their fear face-to-face by meeting a boa constrictor named Ka, who will be making an appearance thanks to the WNY Herp Society.

Educator Petra Link, who adopted Ka, brings her to educational events.

“She’s usually a big hit with adults and children,” Link said. “She’s really gentle, which helps with education.”

Link says that many people are initially scared of Ka.

“A lot of people think [snakes] are slimy and evil,” Link said. “They get a really bad rep, but once people touch them, they realize it’s just a stereotype.”

Like all “Science After Dark” events, “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” is 21 and up with ID required.

“A lot of times, we hear “I haven’t been to Buffalo Museum of Science since I was kid,” Field said. “These events let them grab a glass of wine or beer and wander the museum without kids.”

“Are You Afraid of the Dark?” is 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at the Buffalo Museum of Science, 1020 Humboldt Parkway, Buffalo.

Tickets are $16 per person (10 percent off for members) and can be purchased here.


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