NightLife: California Native

From towering redwood forests to vast deserts, breathtaking coasts to bustling cities, California has it all. Get an exclusive first look at our new exhibit California: State of Nature at a special NightLife celebrating the Native people, communities, and creatures that make our state so special.

Sounds by Make Room

Check out Make Room's exclusive NightLife playlist on the NightLife Spotify page

Nightlife is supported by Local Motion® Vodka Sodas, light, refreshing, and simply made with vodka, carbonated water, and natural flavors. Grab a can of Local Motion® at bars throughout NightLife this year!


Featured events

California: State of Nature Exhibit Opening
California State of Nature

Be one of the first to experience the new exhibit, California: State of Nature before its public opening and dive into the unexpected connections between the species, places, and people that enable California to thrive. Check out animal specimens, hands-on interactives, scientific models, and more.

Wild California - Live Talks with Katie Dorame and Tali Caspi
Katie Dorame and Tali Caspi

African Hall

  • At 7:30 PM - Embark on a journey through space and time with artist Katie Dorame (Tongva) as she discusses her project "Alien Apostles", a series of paintings and drawings that reframe the story of the California Missions as an alien horror film.
  • At 8:30 PM - A century after eradication, coyotes are finally making a comeback in the city. Join urban ecologist Tali Caspi to learn about these urban carnivores and pathways for peaceful coexistence.
Urban Aztec - Live Painting with Jesse Hernandez
Artist Jesse Hernandez

West Garden
7:00 - 9:00 PM

Watch the magic unfold as artist Jesse Hernandez (Yaqui/Mexica) leads a live painting demonstration in the West Garden. He’ll show how he brought six animals sacred to the Indigenous cultures of the Bay Area to life on the canvas for the 2024 Art on Market Street Poster Series.

Senses in Action - Live Talk with Academy Executive Director Scott Sampson
Academy Executive Director Scott Sampson

Morrison Planetarium
6:30 & 7:30 PM

Head to Morrison Planetarium to open your mind and get in touch with your senses. Academy Executive Director Scott Sampson will share how awakening five dominant senses—senses of place, awe, time, hope, and kinship— can unlock transformative action.

Material Matters - Museum of Craft and Design + Vishal Subramanyan
Woodworking and Vishal Subramanyan

6 - 10 PM

The Menu - Drinks and Bites

Drinks and Bites from Liquid Happiness and Chef Rob

In The Academy Cafe:

  • TBD
  • Plus, in celebration of Martini Week, grab an exclusive martini made with Junipero Gin, and raise a glass to our great state. $2 from each martini sale will be donated to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Local Chapter.
A few don't miss NightLife details
NightLife details
  • NightLife is for adults 21+ only. Valid, physical photo ID required.
  • Last entry into Osher Rainforest is 7:30 pm — our animals need their sleep.
  • Gems and Minerals Unearthed opens to the public at 8:30 pm. It is reserved for NightLife Plus guests from 6 - 8:30 pm.
  • Morrison Planetarium passes are available online in advance for $5 each while supplies last. Showtimes are 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, and 9:30 pm. A limited number of standby seats will be available for all showtimes as space allows on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Food and drink are not permitted in Osher Rainforest, Morrison Planetarium, or the Swamp.
  • While not required, we encourage all guests to stay up-to-date on their vaccinations and to mask up indoors. If you’re feeling sick or have been in close contact with someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19 or another respiratory virus, please visit another time. View our health and safety page.
  • Still have Qs? Click here for As.

Planetarium Shows

8:30 pm, 9:30 pm

Discover the beauty, variety, and vast complexity of our connections to the network of life that surrounds us.

6:30 pm, 7:30 pm

Learn about humanity's relationship to the natural world with Scott Sampson

Thank you to our cocktail sponsors
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Upcoming events

May 30th at 6:00 pm

Calling all creatures of the night! Explore the Academy's nocturnal side. Sounds by: DJ Mark Maiden.

June 6th at 6:00 pm

We’re bringing the spice at our hottest event of the year. Hear from spicy savants, sample fiery foods, & more.

June 13th at 6:00 pm

Honor Black contributions to global dance with a special Juneteenth edition of the Make History dance battle.

June 20th at 6:00 pm

Inked is back at NightLife! Explore the wonders of ink from cephalopods to live tattoos–yes, the real kind!

June 27th at 6:00 pm

Celebrate the LGBTQ+ community with a night dedicated to community, activism & joy. Featuring drag by Oaklash.