Dinner and T-Rex. It’s possible with an event at Cleveland Museum of Natural History, which rents out the museum for events when it’s closed to the public. Cocktails in the Gem Hall and dinner by the dinosaurs — guests gain access to the exhibits and galleries on the main floor.
“There is so much you can learn by walking through the galleries,” says Anne Thompson, manager of private events and group sales at the museum.
Corporate and social events can include an ambassador talk focused on native Ohio animals or the museum’s rescue program.
“These injured animals cannot be released into the wild and live with us in the Perkins Wildlife Center & Woods Garden,” Thompson says. “Wildlife staff bring in the animals so guests can get close up and meet a porcupine or see an eagle or owl and learn about them.”
For guests whose last visit to the museum might have been a school field trip, an event in this special space leaves them walking out in a state of wonder.
“Cleveland Museum of Natural History is renowned for its science and discoveries, and by holding an event here, you have the opportunity to learn about these, as well as all of the wonders of our natural world,” Thompson relates.
A full auditorium with a stage and seating for up to 440 allows for daytime events while the museum is active with patrons.
“With state-of-the-art AV, it’s perfect for product launches, performances and any kind of presentation,” Thompson says.
Smaller spaces in the museum are also available during the day. Catering by Zack Bruell Events provides full, upscale food and beverages services, along with staffing to create a seamless dining experience. A liquor license at the museum allows for spirited mixing before social or corporate evening meetings. “Food is an important component — everyone wants to know if the food is good, and we are so pleased to be partnered with Zack Bruell,” Thompson says.
The museum is open for evening events from 6 p.m. to midnight, and guests have full access to the main floor, which Thompson says is a surprise to many who attend functions there. And, it’s not all about having a large affair. In fact, during the pandemic, the museum hosted a range of intimate, safe and creative events.
“We did a surprise marriage proposal in the planetarium, and one in the Gem Hall — and one where he wanted to play our Steinway grand piano for guests and surprised her with a ring,” Thompson says.
From small weddings to larger business meetings with space to safely social distance, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is versatile and one of a kind.
Thompson adds, “It’s just a cool way to spend the evening.”
Book It: Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Number of Rooms: Three rentable spaces
plus exhibit galleries
Room Size (largest): Museum galleries/exhibits
— full first floor
Maximum Capacity: Entire first level hosts up to 1,200 for strolling reception; Kirtland Hall (dinosaur gallery) seats 250 at banquet tables
Amenities: Full AV and catering by Zack Bruell Events
Memory Maker: Stroll through the galleries and discover the many wonders of the natural world.