cosmic nightlife

Members $10, Non-Members $12.
21+ event, ID required for entry.

Expand your mind as NightLife hosts an out-of-this-world lineup of "cosmo talks" presented by Wonderfest!


Cosmo Talks presented by Wonderfest
(African Hall)

7:00 pm, “Challenges and Mysteries of Planetary Exploration” with planetary scientist Chris McKay of NASA Ames Research Center
As we explore the many worlds in our own Solar System, we are continually surprised. Challenges and mysteries remain: the most interesting of which is the question of life.

7:45 pm, “If We’re Not Alone, When Will Earthlings Find ET?” with SETI@Home Chief Scientist Dan Werthimer
The Fermi Paradox asks, “If extraterrestrial intelligence is common in the cosmos, then where is everybody?” Current and future SETI projects, including the new $100-million Breakthrough Foundation Listen project, may finally provide an answer.

8:30 pm, “A Universe of Universes? Reflections on Life and the Cosmos" with Alex Filippenko, Professor of Astronomy at UC Berkeley
The laws of physics, as well as cosmic statistics, may imply the existence of multiple universes, only a small minority of which could be suitable for the development of complexity and life as we know it. Come hear arguments favoring the existence of a “multiverse," of which our Universe is one special member.

Space Trivia

7:00, 8:00 & 9:00 pm, Don’t miss your chance to show off your cosmic knowledge with three rousing rounds of space trivia from Brainstormer Trivia!

Space Crafts

6:00-10:00 pm, If aliens do exists, then what do they look like? In this hand-sewing workshop GoGo Craft will teach you how to design your very own alien or space-themed fabric plushie.

DJ set in the Coral Reef by The BeDazzlers

A variety of food options are available at NightLife from 6-9:30 pm, including The Academy Cafe, The Terrace located in the West Garden, 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.

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

6:00-9:30 pm, Marvel at colossal whale skeletons in Whales: Giants of the Deep

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


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


Planetarium Shows

6:30 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:30 pm

Explore two of today’s greatest cosmic mysteries—dark matter and dark energy!

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Upcoming ticketed museum events

June 24th at 6:00 pm

Explore the Academy at night and celebrate SF Pride with pop-up performances featuring the Rice Rockettes!

July 8th at 6:00 pm

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

July 15th at 6:00 pm

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

July 22nd at 6:00 pm

Explore the Academy at night alongside nearly 40,000 live animals. For adults 21+.

Upcoming free virtual events

June 17th at 7:00 pm

Tune in for a session dedicated to some of the unique wildlife & ecosystems of Australia.

June 24th at 7:00 pm

Celebrate Pride Month with a NightSchool featuring scientists whose queer perspectives are driving new science.

July 1st at 7:00 pm

In nature, color is way more than just an aesthetic—learn how it affects the life cycles of countless species.