What is real and what is an illusion? Challenge your perceptions this week as NightLife explores the science of perspective.


Magic and Mysteries Hall
(African Hall)

6:00 - 10:00pm, Outerbody Labs
Find your way through a maze of the mind in Outerbody Labs virtual reality maze.

8:00pm & 9:00pm, Dan Chan Master Magician Double Feature Performances
First, Be wowed with a barrage of magic, comedy and tricks of the magic trade in Dan's famous variety show.

Then at 9:00pm, Dan will follow up with a special performance of "Mysteries of the Mind," a show that tests your limits and perceptions of reality.

Illusive Lab
(Project Lab)
6:00 - 10:00pm

Think tricks of the mind are only for humans? Think again as Academy fish expert Dave Catania shows off awe-inspiring fish specimens that illustrate impressive uses of illusion.

DJ Professor Bang is"Putting the Ill back in Illusion" in the Coral Reef.

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

7:30 pm, 8:30 pm

Discover how life is connected in Habitat Earth, our latest original planetarium show.

6:30 pm

Explore a mind-bending exposé of how our eyes, brains, and even the Universe itself, may be deceiving us.

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Upcoming events

June 1st at 6:00 pm

What’s the story? Hear firsthand how diverse lived experiences shape our life paths and nurture connections.

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 & 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.