Music by DJ Andy Cabic (of Vetiver)
DJs presented by San Francisco Magazine

Explore the mysteries beyond our solar system with a night dedicated to the search for extraterrestrials. 


Distant Signals
African Hall

  • At 7 pm, Grab a seat for a mini-TED talk from Andrew Helton, Instrument Scientist at SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy).

Across the Universe
Science Today

  • From 6 pm - 8:30 pm, Take the wheel yourself and tour the universe with the Academy's own Planetarium presenters.
  • At 8:30 pm, Stop by for a live talk on exoplanets and how we discover them from Howard Isaacson from the Berkeley SETI Research Center

Unexplored Worlds
Coral Reef
6p - 10p

  • Travel back through time and space with VR experiences presented by Underground Engine, a collective of artists, scientists, and technologists.

Close Encounters
Project Lab
6p - 10p

  • Meet members of the Kepler, K2, and TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) missions and learn how coronagraph telescopes help them capture images of exoplanets.

  • Make contact with researchers from the UC Berkeley SETI Research Center and METI who are actively leading the search for extraterrestrial intelligence with interstellar communications and messaging.

  • Chat with experts from SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy), the largest airborne observatory in the world, capable of making observations that are impossible for even the largest and highest ground-based telescopes.



  • Hurry! Last entry for our 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 cocktail—there are multiple bars throughout the museum.
  • Special programs and lectures may have limited seating and admission will also be made available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.



  • With Planetarium Pass Reservations, you can select your showtime in advance and guarantee your seat under the stars. $3; optional, but recommended. Available online only.
  • Free passes will still be available onsite at the Planetarium kiosk on a first-come, first-served basis. Arrive early for your best chance to obtain a free pass.



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

Take a tour of the Universe with a sprinkling of the hottest news stories from astronomy and the space sciences!

7:30 pm, 8:30 pm

​​Finding proof of life beyond Earth could be one of the most profound discoveries in human history

Share This

Get NightLife emails

Delightful NightLife news, delivered weekly.

Upcoming events

June 8th at 6:00 pm

Will you go to prom with us? Dust off your best prom look and shell-ebrate the return of Under the Sea Prom.

June 15th at 6:00 pm

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

June 22nd at 6:00 pm

Kick off SF Pride in style at NightLife! Featuring fierce performances by Oaklash and so much more.

June 29th at 6:00 pm

What's gender got to do with it? More than you think. Hear how scientists defy gender barriers to create change.

July 6th at 6:00 pm

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

July 20th at 6:00 pm

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