All activities are from 7–10pm unless otherwise noted.


7:30pm: Fat Tuesday Trivia
Daily Planet Café
Assemble your team and prepare for a battle of wits. Teams will compete against one another for prizes and bragging rights.

Dancing in the Globe
SECU Daily Planet Theater
Enjoy live jazz music with Peter Lamb and the Wolves.

Stranger Flings
Defeat the dominant male, beat the spawning odds and discover your mating fate all while learning about the strange and incredibly diverse social and mating behaviors of fishes.
Research Lab, Ichthyology

Mardi Gras is Metal
What makes Mardi Gras glisten and gleam? Metals! Metals mixed in paint make for glistening throws, and the same metals mixed together can even explode! Add your shining touch to our 16-foot mural and explore the explosive nature of science.

Photeaux Booth
Show off your best Mardi Gras side with our themed photobooth!

NoroCORE’s Find the Host
Norovirus is the most common cause of foodborne illness in the US and an unwelcome guest at any party. But did you know that viruses must be in the right place at the right time to infect a host? Come by and get your very own, high-tech norovirus particle, then enjoy the rest of your evening. If you come within a few feet of our secret Host you will infect them. Check your status online in real-time!
NoroCORE (Norovirus Collaborative for Outreach, Research and Education) Food Virology Collaborative

Praline Candy
Pralines are a wonderful part of the traditional Louisiana cuisine. Enjoy samples and sales of three mouth-watering flavors, as well as Praline Crunch. You say “Pray-leen,” we say “Prah-leen.” Either way, it tastes like a dream.
Miss Renee & the 2 J’s Praline Candy

9:30-10pm: Mardi Gras Bead Donation
When the party’s over, the beads are yours to keep. If you don’t want the extra bling, just leave them with Acro at the exit. Leftover necklaces will be donated to the Durham Scrap Exchange, where they can be reused, recycled and kept out of the trash.


Extreme Animal Mammaries
Explore the amazing, wonderful – and sometimes weird – world of mammaries. See if you can “match the mamilla” and find out how big a blue whale’s mammaries are. It’s everything you ever wanted to know about the nipples of the natural world!

Swamp Things!
Biodiversity Research Lab
Examine study skins and check out camera trap images of wildlife species that inhabit swamps and marshes along the coast.

Voodoo Fauna
Zoology meets anthropology as we unveil the mysteries of Voodoo.

Gator Den
The Naturalist Center
Experience all things gator – live gators, alligator trapping and specimens from our collection.

Swampy State Parks
Learn about NC State Parks, jump in a canoe and pose for a picture in the swamp.
NC State Parks

Voodoo Magic
Natural World Investigate Lab


Explore Louisiana in VR
Visual World Investigate Lab
Experience what it is like to get up close with an alligator without any of the danger. Put on a Virtual Reality headset for 360-degree views of alligators, Mardi Gras and Louisiana.

Wheel of Crustacean
Crawfish boils and shrimp gumbo are staples of Gulf Coast cuisine. But these critters are important well beyond their culinary uses. Test your knowledge about these and less commonly known crustacean denizens of aquatic environs for a chance to win unique prizes.
Research Lab, Non-molluscan Invertebrates

T. rex: King of the Cretaceous Carnival
King of the parade, king of the dinos. Find out why T. rex is the most heavily researched dinosaur in paleontology.

When the Ants Go Marching In … The Lab
Evolutionary Biology & Behavior Lab
Enjoy behind-the-scenes lab access, an interactive experience with researchers working on the behavior and evolution of ants. Come experience ants as you’ve never seen them before. Explore ant nest architecture, learn how to identify common species, and see what happens when you mix ant science with art.

Bayou Boardgames
Micro World Investigate Lab
Come in to check out the lab and play a few games. Don’t miss the jellyfish!

Louisiana Lingo
Match local phrases to their meanings, learn about Louisiana accents, and find out the linguistic origins behind Louisiana’s colorful cuisine.
University of North Carolina, English and Comparative Literature
Tulane University, Department of Anthropology


Investigating Your Chemo Sense
Learn how our chemical sense adds to our sense of taste by sampling a commonly consumed spirit.

Mardi Gras Members’ Lounge
Catalyst and Friends of the Museum members receive exclusive access to the lounge, featuring themed giveaways, food and festival ambiance. Have a seat and grab a nibble before returning to the dance floor with your krewe.
Friends of the Museum

French Quarter Fun House
Environmental Conference Center
Compete for beads in our French Quarter Fun House featuring:

  • Beading Battle: Test your teamwork and dexterity in this competition to build a necklace.
  • Cajun Scent-sation: Race your friends in a “smell-off” with savory Cajun seasonings.
  • Shake, Rattle and Roll: Identify the hidden objects by sound.
  • Bourbon Street Bead Toss: Can you throw like a pro? Take aim and see how many beads you can hook on the heads, arms and tails of our Mardi Gras revelers.


10pm–Midnight: After Party
Keep the Mardi Gras celebration rolling at The Big Easy, 222 Fayetteville Street. Enjoy complimentary Cajun/Creole cuisine upstairs in our private Adult Night lounge (space is limited). Or socialize downstairs with 1/2 price appetizers. Lounge access and appetizer special open to ticketed Adult Night guests only.
Sponsored by The Big Easy