NightLife Sold Out

The creatures come out at NightLife as the Academy transforms into a spine-tingling and outrageous night of supernatural science (Costumes encouraged!). Please note: This event often sells out. We highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance.

Performance by Heklina & friends
Music by DJ Omar Perez


Drag Show & Costume Contest
West Garden
8:45 pm

  • For this special Halloween edition, drag queen extraordinaire Heklina hosts our annual Halloween drag show and costume contest outside on the West Garden stage, featuring Loma Prietta, Elsa Touche, and Landa Lakes.

FrightLife Cinema
African Hall
7:00, 8:00, & 9:00 pm

  • Step inside a spooky haunted movie theater playing a reel of cursed movie clips from Balboa Theater’s favorite scary (and scary bad) films, hosted by local horror legend Lord Blood-Rah. Grab refreshments in the theater “lobby” and play some of the Pacific Pinball Museum’s scariest machines.

Reimagine Presents: “Ghost Stories” Comedy Showcase
Science Today

  • Gather for a creepy round of Reimagine End of Life Festival's “Ghost Stories," a live storytelling and stand-up comedy event exploring experiences with the afterlife and the things that haunt us. Featuring comics: Anica Cihla, Kaseem Bentley, Mikey Walz, Micheal Foulk and Dara Kosberg.

Reimagine Presents: Dia De Los Muertos Altar
Coral Reef
6p - 10p

  • Downstairs in the aquarium, Reimagine End of Life Festival inhabits the Philippine Coral Reef with a colorful interactive Dia de Los Muertos altar that you can creatively contribute to.

Creatures of the NightLife Showcase
Project Lab
6p - 10p

  • Curious spirits can learn about spiders, scorpions, and other creepy creatures with Academy scientists while enjoying Halloween-themed spirits and cocktails of their own.

Please note: This event often sells out. We highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance. 



  • 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!


Event attendees are encouraged to dress in costumes for this event. For the safety and enjoyment of our guests, please keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Costumes should not be obstructive, offensive or violent in nature.
  • For the safety of all visitors, we ask that guests refrain from wearing masks or other items which obscure the face.
  • Costumes should not contain sharp or pointed objects, or materials that may accidentally strike guests or exhibits.
  • Costumes should not contain any elements which resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.
  • The California Academy of Sciences reserves the right to turn away any guest with a costume that we deem offensive or unsafe.



  • 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, 9:30 pm

In the past century we’ve learned a lot about the moon and some of the facts are even stranger than the legends.

7:30 pm, 8:30 pm

Narrated by George Takei, Incoming! explores the past, present, and future of our Solar System.

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Upcoming events

July 18th at 6:00 pm

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

July 25th at 6:00 pm

Explore the Academy at night alongside nearly 60,000 live animals.

August 1st at 6:00 pm

We’re kicking off our music series with homegrown movement maker LaRussell & the surf rock sounds of 3LH.

August 8th at 6:00 pm

Be transported by the grunge punk stylings of Margaritas Podridas and psychedelic rock sounds of opener Fauxes.

August 15th at 6:00 pm

Underground rap pioneer MURS takes center stage, with an opening set from multifaceted hometown artist Z-Man.

August 22nd at 6:00 pm

We’re closing out NightLife Remix with the serene soul vibes of Madison McFerrin and opener Dani Offline.