For the second year in a row, one of the best kept secrets of San Diego Comic Con was National Geographic Channel’s Nerd Nite. It was held at SILO in Maker’s Quarter, which is just far enough outside of the SDCC hub to be walkable (though you’ll probably want to Uber back), in an outdoor venue that boasts plenty of space and a relaxing atmosphere to wind down after the long convention day on Friday. And best of all, you don’t need a badge to attend!

National Geographic Channel coordinates with Nerd Nite chapters – shoutout Orlando! We love Ricardo! – to host trivia games, a series of small lectures, free food, and the holy grail of San Diego Comic Con, an open bar. Nerd Nite is a monthly event held in multiple major cities that incorporates music, drinks, trivia, and short lectures on any number of topics. Check to see if there’s a chapter near you! When checking in for Nerd Nite SDCC, we received a ticket to redeem for free food – either pizza from a brick oven or tacos from a food truck – and a paper to participate in a brain games contest for the chance to win an iPad mini. We also picked up some sweet drink cozies that are National Geographic Channel branded and proclaim drinks to be ‘Genius Juice.’ Before the presentations started, there was time to grab some food, a drink, and play the brain games that were taped up on the wall. There was also the opportunity to play some team trivia, which allowed your group of friends to play against others. Sadly, we didn’t make it in time to participate in either of the trivia games, but the winners of team trivia received wireless Bluetooth headphones! The first presentation was titled, “The Science of Jurassic World” and given by Paleontologist Trevor Valle. If he could have put ‘Bullshit’ between ‘The’ and ‘Science,’ he probably would have, as he expounded on the ridiculousness of many of the dinosaurs showcased in Jurassic World. And while he expected an uproar from the crowd, he was well-received and highly entertaining as he trashed the movie’s ‘stars.’  

The second presentation was, “Shop Class 2.0” from Joan Horvath and Rich “Whosawhatsis” Cameron and taught the audience about how they’re attempting to use technology to bring a new meaning to shop class in schools. They showcased a 3D printer that continued to print even as it was held upside down and many of the projects they’d helped to coordinate with schools. The most technical of the three presentations, they were no less passionate about getting their message out there and were fantastic about answering questions from the audience.

The final presentation was, “Dead Life: Making a Living in Taxidermy,” presented by Allis Markham. She talked about exactly what you would expect her to talk about with a title like that and even brought examples of taxidermy she’d done in the past. We were able to get an exclusive one on one interview with her after her presentation (and after we’d all had a few drinks…).   

One of the best things about Nerd Nite at San Diego Comic Con is how accessible the presenters are – if there had been time we could’ve talked to the rest of the presenters – and the energy of the crowd. With Q&A sessions after each presentation, there is a lot of thoughtful dialogue that happens. It’s always fun to see people engaged in what’s going on.

Sadly, it sounds like SILO in Maker’s Quarter might not be around in the same capacity next year to host National Geographic Channel’s Nerd Nite, but we heard from staff that they’re trying to work something else out. We hope to see them in some capacity next year and we hope to see you there too!

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