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. Member discount applied after login.

Music by DJ Sep (Dub Mission)

Step into the wonderful world of mushrooms at this annual NightLife favorite, where you’ll learn how to spot, ID, grow, and cook mushrooms alongside fellow fungi enthusiasts.


Live Talks: Wondrous Fungus
African Hall

  • At 7:00 PM, David Rust of the Bay Area Mycological Society talks about mycorrhizae, or, how plants and fungi compete and cooperate in their unique symbiotic relationship.

  • At 8:00 PM, Follow biochemist/mycologist Gordon Walker (aka @fascinatedbyfungi) on Instagram, then come hear stories about the strange fungi he documents and how they’re a key part of next-gen food companies.

  • At 9:00 PM, Gather ‘round for tales from photographer and mushroom ID specialist Alan Rockefeller as he shares new species of bioluminescent fungi and other recent finds from four months of mushroom-hunting in Mexico.

Mushroom Hunting 101
East Pavilion
6 PM – 10 PM

  • Learn about what kind of local mushrooms to look for—and which ones to stay far away from with the Bay Area Mycological Society and check out Candace Bever’s (USDA) newly developed test strip that detects the deadliest toxins from mushrooms.

DIY Fungi
6 PM – 10 PM

Fungus Among Us Showcase
Project Lab
6 pm – 10 pm



  • 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 $5 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!



  • 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

How can we study these beneficial microbes that are an essential part of nature? Find out!

7:30 pm, 8:30 pm

Discover what it means to live in today’s connected world with Habitat Earth, narrated by Francis McDormand.

9:30 pm

Explore the immense scale of the known Universe in this live presentation that leaves Earth far behind.

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Upcoming ticketed museum events

September 23rd at 6:00 pm

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

September 30th at 6:00 pm

Come together and connect with the Bay’s AAPI community in an evening of music, storytelling, and fashion.

October 7th at 6:00 pm

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

October 14th at 6:00 pm

Catch a sneak peek of the new BigPicture exhibit, where life is wild and animals inspire us to be more human.

Upcoming free virtual events

October 7th at 7:00 pm

Fire is essential to forest life—hear from experts tending fires and ensuring a more resilient California.