Press Release

Stephanie Stone (415) 379-5121
Kelly Mendez (415) 379-5133




Every Thursday night, the California Academy of Sciences transforms into San Francisco’s most popular cultural night spot—a lively venue filled with provocative science, mingling, music, creatures and cocktails—as visitors ages 21+ get a chance to explore the museum from 6-10 pm.


California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco


Year-round on Thursday nights from 6-10 pm
NightLife goes on hiatus a few times per year for major holidays; dates announced on


$12 per person ($10 for Academy members). Tickets are available at the door or online at

Launch Date

February 12, 2009


NightLife features top DJs and/or live music each week representing San Francisco’s most popular collectives, parties, festivals and promoters including (((folkYEAH!))), Hard French, Icee Hot, Lights Down Low, New Wave City, Noise Pop, Outside Lands, Popscene SF, Slayers Club, Space Cowboys, Treasure Island Music Festival, and many others.

Weekly Themes

Each week features a unique theme, blending fun with science in an informal, social environment. Past highlights have included pop-up art galleries; science-themed comedy; sustainable seafood cooking demonstrations; film screenings; chocolate, wine, and beer tastings; robot demonstrations; talks by notable figures like oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, filmmaker Jean-Michel Cousteau, adventurer David de Rothschild, and former NASA astronauts including Buzz Aldrin.  Only in San Francisco could one event play host to presenters and performers ranging from celebrity chef Chris Cosentino and Bay Area Lights creator Ben Davis to drag legends like Peaches Christ, and Center for Sex and Culture founders Carol Queen and Robert Lawrence. Academy scientists are also on-hand weekly to discuss the “science love stories” behind their infatuations with spiders, sea slugs, parasites, marine mammals, and other fascinating topics. Programming details for each week are available at

Academy Exhibits

Attendees can explore the Academy's exhibits during NightLife—from the fish, snakes and other creatures in the aquarium, to the dioramas of African Hall and the otherworldly planetarium.  Stargazing sessions are held on the living roof when weather permits.   

Food & Drink

Bars throughout the museum feature beer, wine, and unique specialty cocktails each week. The Academy Café is also open during NightLife, serving a limited menu of dinner and snack items.    


“Best Aquarium Turned Dance Floor” by SF Weekly
“Best Steamy Date Night" by 7x7 Magazine
"Best Place to Party Like it's 1929" by San Francisco Magazine
“Best Penguin Party" by the San Francisco Bay Guardian       

VIP Tours

For a more exclusive Thursday evening experience, visitors may sign up for a NightLife VIP Tour. Tickets ($59 per person) include admission to NightLife, a one-hour behind-the-scenes tour featuring the Academy's renowned gem and mineral collection and interaction with Academy researchers in the lab, express entry into the building, an open bar in a reserved cocktail area prior to the tour, VIP access to the rainforest, and a reserved pass for the 8:30 pm planetarium show. 

Private Lounge

The NightLife Private Lounge is available on Thursday nights for company celebrations, birthday parties, and other occasions. Booking includes early access to a premium private room with catering and bar service, and access to that week’s NightLife event.