One of the Academy’s most iconic aquarium residents is turning 21! Come celebrate the birthday of Claude the alligator with albinism with a NightLife bash of gator proportions.


Biophony Performance by Alonzo King Ballet
7:45 & 8:45pm,
Catch a very special appearance by the Alonzo King LINES Ballet, performing a routine from their production Biophony choreographed to recorded nature sounds.

Claude Talk
6:30 & 7:30pm,
Gather around the swamp for a special gator chat led by an Academy presenter where you’ll learn all about Claude’s life, as well as the natural history of alligators. Plus, be sure to warm up those vocal chords for a special “happy birthday” chorus.

Claude Crafts & CAS Animal History
(East Pavillion)
6:00 - 9:30pm,
Dust off your favorite party threads and top them off with a birthday hat craft with Julia Jane Moore and hit up San Francisco Public Library photo booth to strike a pose.

Reptilian Science
(Project Lab)
6:00 - 10:00pm,
At the Project Lab, learn about Claude's other reptilian relatives with UC Berkeley's Museum of Paleontology. Then, talk with Cal Academy's own researcher Kelly Markello about the unfriendly gator parasites that party a little bit too long with their hosts and chat with the CAS Librarian table to hear about other celebrity Academy animals over the years. Plus, check out the San Franpsycho pop-up shop to get a special edition "Claude Nebula" screen print. Prints are $10 and can be done on any dark-colored shirt, tote or poster. There will also be pre-printed special edition shirts for sale.

Birthday Pythons
(The Terrace Restaurant / West Garden)
6:00 - 10:00pm,
Get a “Gator-Ade” cocktail at The Terrace and meet some special reptile birthday guests who may or may not actually be wearing birthday hats. Seriously. 

Swamp Inspired Eats
(Academy Cafe)
6:00 - 10:00pm,
Celebrate Claude's southern roots with a special cafe menu of Creole cuisine!

Music by MOM DJs & Events. It’s party time!


Please note that the Academy's planetarium will be closed for upgrades from September 6-October 20, 2016. We apologize for any inconvenience. The planetarium will re-open on October 21 with an all-new projection system, providing a richer, more immersive experience inside one of the world’s largest all-digital planetarium domes.

Head upstairs to the Forum Theater to check out 3D Universe, a 25-minute, presenter-led experience that takes us on 3D tour of our Universe and illustrates Earth’s place in the cosmos or head to the Living Roof to scope the stars and talk with the Planetarium team on Space Science.


6:00-7:45 pm, Osher Rainforest—explore a lush, four-story rainforest that's teeming with life.

6:00-10:00 pm, Color of Life—Discover a world of dazzling live animals and shimmering scientific specimens.

6:00-10:00 pm, Twilight Zone: Deep Reefs Revealed—Marvel at rarely-seen fish and invertebrates from little-known reefs and learn about Academy scientists who travel to mysterious underwater depths.


A variety of food options are available at NightLife from 6:00-9:30 pm, including The Academy Cafe, The Terrace, 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.


Special programs and lectures may have limited seating and admission will be made available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.


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Upcoming events

October 5th at 6:00 pm

See what happens when art and nature collide at this NightLife honoring 10 years of BigPicture.

October 12th at 6:00 pm

We’re closing out NightLife LIVE with grungy-synth sounds from Tanukichan & our soulful opener Lalin St. Juste.

October 19th at 6:00 pm

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

October 26th at 6:00 pm

One, two, NightLife’s comin’ for you. This Halloween, don’t sleep on NightLife.

November 2nd at 6:00 pm

Once a year the living & dead reunite. Join us in honoring departed souls in celebration of Día de los Muertos.

November 9th at 6:00 pm

Explore the nocturnal side of the Academy and see what makes the museum at night different.