Plan ahead and save! Buy online at least one day in advance to lock in the lowest price on NightLife tickets. For more information, see our Plan-Ahead Pricing FAQ.

NightLife is 21+ with ID. Last entry to rainforest dome is at 7:45 pm. Planetarium passes available for purchase online.

Be the first to see the Academy’s sixth annual BigPicture: Natural World Photography exhibit during this special NightLife celebrating some of the most fascinating moments of life on Earth, captured by the world’s best nature photographers.

Music by DJ Sep


Live Talks: BigPicture Award Ceremony & Charles Darwin Foundation
African Hall

  • At 7:30 PM, learn about the captivating field of nature and conservation photography during an awards ceremony and presentation with BigPicture Jury Chair Suzi Eszterhas and judge Roy Toft.
  • At 8:30 PM, catch a panel discussion on worldwide conservation efforts with Dr. Terry Gosliner, Academy Curator of Invertebrate Zoology; Dr. Arturo Izurieta, Executive Director of the Charles Darwin Foundation; Prof. Bill Durham, Academy Fellow. Moderated by the Academy’s Chief of Science, Dr. Shannon Bennett.

BigPicture Showcase
Project Lab
6:00 - 10:00 PM

  • Check out rarely-seen Galápagos specimens and archival materials from the Academy’s collection and learn more about the important scientific partnerships making a real-world impact between the Academy and Charles Darwin Foundation.



  • Last entry for the Rainforest dome is at 7:45 pm. Please note: drinks are not allowed inside the Rainforest exhibit.
  • Thirsty? Each bar area features a unique seasonal craft cocktail—there are multiple bars throughout the museum.
  • Special programs and lectures may have limited seating and admission will be available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.



  • Planetarium passes are required for the 7:30, 8:30, and 9:30 pm shows.
  • Passes are $3 each and may be purchased online or at the ticket window. Since shows do sell out, we always recommend buying in advance.
  • The 6:30 pm live show is always free. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Please arrive at the planetarium 15 minutes before your ticketed showtime for seating. We run a tight spaceship!



  • A variety of food options are available at NightLife from 6:00-9:30 pm, including The Academy Cafe and The Academy Cafe Food Cart located in the front lobby.
  • Enjoy a different fresh seasonal "craft on draft" cocktail at each NightLife bar area designed by our resident mixologist Shane McKnight!

All bars accept cash and credit cards.


Planetarium Shows

6:30 pm

Experience an unprecedented view into the depths of space in this live planetarium show.

7:30 pm, 8:30 pm

Discover our place in the cosmos in the new planetarium show Passport to the Universe, narrated by Tom Hanks.

9:30 pm

Find out what the Apollo astronauts found on the lunar surface—and why we may want to go back.

Generously supported by:
Get NightLife emails

Delightful NightLife news, delivered weekly.

Upcoming ticketed museum events

October 21st at 6:00 pm

See what’s revealed once the sun goes down and explore the nocturnal side of the Academy. For adults 21+.

October 28th at 6:00 pm

Get into costume and come ready to enjoy creepy science specimens, a costume contest, and Halloween drag show!

November 4th at 6:00 pm

See what’s revealed once the sun goes down and explore the nocturnal side of the Academy. For adults 21+.

November 11th at 6:00 pm

Learn about all things luminous in a night of neon, including the science behind neon and the art it inspires.

Upcoming free virtual events

November 4th at 7:00 pm

Bioluminescence experts shed light on the inner workings of nature’s glow, from land to sea.