Doctor Who made for our most successful First Friday yet!

Can we just say, “Wow! You guys are amazing!”? The turnout for last week’s Doctor Who First Friday was AWESOME. We were blown away by not only the number of fans who showed up but also by how enthusiastic, passionate and friendly you all were.

We hope that you enjoyed the presentations, the free viewing of Doctor Who episodes, playing Timey-Wimey ball, First Fridays’ trivia, the Doctor Who-themed demos, the free activities, our Doctor Who snacks and drinks, and everything else we had to offer! (And because we know you were wondering, in our Tenth Doctor v. Eleventh Doctor Sonic Screwdriver drink contest, the Eleventh Doctor came out on top!)

Whovians out in force

Just know, you guys set the record for our First Fridays attendance. You beat out our First Friday: Star Trek featuring Robert Picardo by over 700 people (and this doesn’t include the people who arrived before the 6pm event start time, and we know there were tons of you. The Whovians came out in force, and we took notice)!

You didn’t just show up. You SHOWED UP. You came out in your best costumes, and they were phenomenal! We didn’t get to see everyone’s, but here a few that stood out to us:

Doctor Who First Friday at the Saint Louis Science Center cosplay 2013

Doctor Who First Friday at the Saint Louis Science Center cosplay 2013

Frankly, there were so many great costumes that we can’t put them all here. However, visit our Facebook photo album page to see more. Feel free to post your photos to the First Fridays: Doctor Who event page as well!

The Science and Science Fiction of Time:  From Spacetime to the TARDIS

We definitely need to give a big shout out to our presenter, Dr. Andy Howell from the Las Cumbres Observatory for giving not one but TWO presentations for our crowds on Friday night. When we realized the popularity of the event (and that, unfortunately, the OMNIMAX® isn’t “bigger on the inside” like the TARDIS), Dr. Howell was kind enough to give an encore of his presentation so that as many people as possible could learn about the science and science fiction of time. He’s kind of a rock star.

If you didn’t get a chance to see his presentation, GOOD NEWS! – we taped it, and you can watch it on our website! We will update this post with the link and even give it its own blog post when it is ready to be viewed. Make sure you check back!

As much as you guys enjoyed Dr. Howell’s presentation, it turns out that your passion and excitement made a great impression on him as well. He had this to say about his experience:

“I was overwhelmed by the support and enthusiasm of everyone who came out for Doctor Who First Friday. It was so great to see so many people in costume, and they brought so much energy, that it was easily the most fun I've ever had giving a talk.

And it is fun to see so many people interested in science too. I heard from a few aspiring astrophysicists and fans of science of all ages. It shows that science doesn't have to be boring. Science and Doctor Who share the same spirit: adventure, intelligence and probing the limits of what is possible.”

For more science awesomeness from Dr. Howell, you can follow him on Twitter @d_a_howell or check out his website.

Trivia, star gazing, Timey-Wimey Ball, pixelated quilts and all the other ways you guys amazed us

So, let’s talk about trivia. You guys are CRAZY smart about your Doctor Who and time travel. The competition was close…AMONG 37 TEAMS. That’s a record for us – almost twice as many as we’ve ever had before (you blew Star Wars v. Star Trek trivia out of the water).

To the winning team – you guys were good. Really good. We still can’t believe that on a bonus question, you missed the exact answer (the year five billion and fifty) by only 16 years! 16! That’s ridiculous!

And it wasn’t only the Doctor Who events that filled up and sold out. All events in the James S. McDonnell Planetarium were super busy as well. Our telescope viewings (thanks to a perfect sky) were more popular than ever. The demos were booked throughout the night, and LASERIUM® sold out! It was a great night.

Sooo many people were responsible for helping us pull this night together. Our partners are the best. From the time word got out that we were throwing a Doctor Who First Friday, fellow enthusiasts contacted us wanting to play a part.

  • Katrina Lynn and her partners from Kawa Kon worked very hard with us to help put together a great selection of activities. Timey-Wimey Ball was a big hit!
  • Jeffery Johnson of Handmade Family brought a very cool selection of his Doctor Who creations. Jeffery is a SUPER talented artist. Check him out!
  • Kristy Daum of St. Louis Folk Victorian brought in her amazing eight-foot tall hand-made David Tennant, Doctor Who quilt – The Tenth. People lined up to get their photo taken with the quilt (a piece of art really) outside the OMNIMAX entrance.
  • Laura Kayro, original founder of St. Louis Celestial Intervention Agency (CIA), brought a selection of her Doctor Who memorabilia to display and share with her fellow fans.

A very large THANK YOU also goes out to our monthly partners who braved the crowds to participate with us once again!

Just a reminder, if you or your organization would like to participate in First Fridays – just let us know. We’re always happy to create relationships around this event!

Based on your feedback, the best part of the night was everyone getting the chance to meet and hang out with other Doctors and Doctor Who fans. The socializing was great – our staff even loved taking part (we have A LOT of Whovians on staff). This is what we love about First Fridays – the atmosphere that you all create while you are here. It’s great to see and experience so many people having fun like this!

So, what’s coming next, you ask?

In August, we’ll continue our year-long celebration of the James S. McDonnell Planetarium by receiving an “Update from Mars” from Dr. Ray Arvidson, Director of the Earth and Planetary Remote Sensing Laboratory at Washington University. He’ll give us the latest news from the Mars Science Laboratory, also known as the Curiosity rover.

Just like every month, we’ll have free sci-fi trivia, free activities, food and drink specials, a free sci-fi film showing in the OMNIMAX at 10pm, free parking after 6pm, free telescope viewings, your chance to catch LASERIUM in the Planetarium and more!

Check back here on our website for more information. We look forward to seeing everyone again soon!

It is safe to say that we will definitely pay tribute to Doctor Who again! We are currently brainstorming ways to give Doctor Who its proper due while accommodating all Whovians who want to gather all in one place and geek out together.

Feel free to leave all sorts of love for Dr. Andy Howell in the comment section below. We want to make sure he knows that he will receive a warm reception if and when he joins us again to talk science and science fiction!

Written by Danielle, Communications, and Betsy, Research & Evaluation

Comments
I'm so thrilled to have been a part of this event, and can't wait to do it all over again next. Maybe my next project will be ready in time for the next Whovian party. A big Thank You to the Science Center for letting me play along and to the hundreds of people that stopped by to say Hi and get their picture taken with David Tennant's pixelated face :-)
It wasn't perfect, but I would say it was a good trial run. Now we know what to expect, and now we need to make it better so everyone can enjoy themselves instead of a lucky few. Hopefully, the next event will be able to be better, and all who come can enjoy their night out with fellow Whovians. Thank you!
A lot went wrong at this event BUT I give props to the staff for giving it their best when completely overwhelmed by Whovians. The costumes were great and we met some really cool people. Luckily we were given tickets by some people we met in line so we got in for not only the lecture, which was great, but also got in to see "Blink"! Had to head home so couldn't stay for the second episode :( I hope you do this again but with a little more prep work next time since you now know what you are dealing with lol! Good job!
So, when's the next Whovian blow-out? I'll be there!
Classic Doctor Who on Omnimax. I'd love to see that happen.
It was an epic event. We had lost our dog on Monday and got him back before the event. My daughter did not know and spent most of the first hour looking for the Doctor so he could go back in time and bring the dog home for her. I found a Tenth Doctor cosplayer and explained the suprise waiting for her at home. I called my daughter over and the Doctor jumped down and offered to go back in time for her. Another cosplayer dressed as a TARDIS jumped in on the fun and offered the Doctor a ride. They ran off and came back a few minutes later. They told my daughter that the dog would be there for her. Upon arrival at home, my child was so excited to see her dog. Thank you to the Doctor and TARDIS that was so kind to give her such an epic memory.
The scarf jump rope was lots of fun.
Is it possible to play the same 10pm show in the planetarium as the Omnimax? So, basically creating a two-theater cinema? How many more people would that accommodate, if possible?
Since the Explorer Dome is gone, for any more of these types of events the Science Center needs to rent some sort of tent to put up to house it. It was way to crowded to have it on the display floors in whatever space could be found.
I had a very good time and felt that we did the best we could with the knowledge we had (that maybe 1000 people would attend). The response was positively STAGGERING, even to me, and I knew Doctor Who was popular. That said, I'd very much like to be part of future events.
I had a BLAST and had been looking forward to the Dr. Who event for MONTHS!!! I was the Sister of Plenitude(shown above), and boy was I swarmed for pictures from eager Whovians! Only at a Dr. Who event could a lady get such attention dressed at a cat who happens to be a nun....who happens to be a "bad cat"! I arrived with River Song, a Slitheen, and two young girls "with something on their backs". We all had a wonderful time. Let's do it again!!! I love First Fridays where I can Cosplay! So far I've been an Alien Warrior Queen, Uhura, and now Catkind! Thank you SO much for giving a "geek" like me a place to have fun and be myself! Now...when are we having DC vs Marvel night? I'll be ready! :)
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