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.

Live drag performance by Heklina. DJ set by Omar Perez. Costumes encouraged! 

The creatures come out at NightLife as the Academy transforms into a spine-tingling and outrageous celebration of supernatural science on the spookiest night of the year.

For this special Halloween edition, drag queen extraordinaire Heklina hosts our annual Halloween drag show and costume contest outside on the West Garden stage.

Inside, African Hall transforms into 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.

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.

Downstairs in the aquarium, Reimagine End of Life Festival inhabits the Philippine Coral Reef with a colorful interactive Dia de Los Muertos altar.

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

Throughout the night, DJ Omar Perez provides a fitting “Monster Mash” for a thriller of a dance floor bash.

In the planetarium, learn about lunar mysteries in “Moon Lore.”

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.

Upcoming NightLife Events

October 31st at 6:00 pm

Come in costume for NightLife’s annual Halloween bash! See a spooktacular drag show with Heklina + more.