May 3 from 6–8
$9; members $7
The Houston Museum of Natural Science
5555 Hermann Park Dr
When you think of Egypt today, you probably think of Tahrir Square, the revolution, and the Muslim Brotherhood—not Cleopatra, King Tut, and the great pyramids. The Houston Museum of Natural Science is hoping to change that, at least for a night, with its Destination: Egypt cultural festival, part of its “World Trekkers” program. (Later festivals will feature France and Russia.) The museum, which will open its much-anticipated Egyptian wing at the end of this month, is throwing open its doors this evening for a carnival of Egyptian-themed attractions, including belly dancing, live camels (which cannot be ridden, alas), Egyptian-style make-up, King Tut and Cleopatra impersonators, and tanoura, an Egyptian folk dance.
“Everyone knows about all the things going on today [in Egypt],” said Latha Thomas, the museum’s VP of Marketing and Communications. “But Egyptian culture is thousands of years old, and there’s so much interest in that. This is a fun way to get exposed to that culture and heritage.” Thomas says the museum is expecting 700-800 visitors tonight.
For adults who’d rather not pose for a picture with a mummy, there will be a cash bar on site. The biggest attraction, however, may be the museum’s screening of The Raiders of the Lost Ark on its giant IMAX screen. The 400 seats for the 7:30 screening have already sold out; the museum is considering adding another screening next weekend.
Although part of the film is indeed set in Egypt, an Indiana Jones flick does seem a bit out of place at a festival devoted to Egypt’s cultural history.
“It’s for people who may not be interested in that kind of thing,” Thomas explains. “If you’re on a date, for instance.”