NightLife: Makes Sense

NightLife: Makes Sense
Thursday, October 13, 6-10 pm
21+ with ID
Prices vary; planetarium passes $5

For guaranteed availability, we strongly recommend purchasing tickets in advance. Last rainforest entry 7:30 pm. Vaccination and indoor masking encouraged but not required.

It doesn’t take a sixth sense to know Nightlife is the place to expand your horizons. Let your senses lead the way through an evening of exploration of the ways humans and animals experience the world. Challenge what you thought you knew about perception with interactive activities like listening to your favorite song from the perspective of an earless frog or experiencing art in another dimension at the Planetarium. What are you waiting for? Make sense of your senses at NightLife.

Featured events:

  • Sit back, relax, and witness our planetarium transformation into an immersive canvas for digital art, in partnership with TidalFire and featuring live music from HABITAAT*.
  • Catch a live mural painting by SF’s Precita Eyes Muralists, and watch their Academy-inspired mural come to life before your eyes.
  • Open your eyes to the many ways different animals experience the world– from insects to amphibians. Join experts from the Academy, the Natural History Museum of London, and York University as they showcase an array of specimens and share their unique sensory adaptations. Featuring:
    • Rayna Bell, California Academy of Sciences (amphibians)
    • Johanna Loacker, California Academy of Sciences (invertebrates)
    • Chris Grinter, California Academy of Sciences (insects)
    • Ryan Schott York University, Toronto (reptiles)
    • David Gower Natural History Museum, London (reptiles)
    • Jeff Streicher Natural History Museum, London (amphibians)
    • Kate Thomas Natural History Museum, London (deep sea invertebrates and fishes)
  • We’re answering one of life’s biggest questions: what does music sound like to an earless frog? Because of course we’re all wondering that. Lucky for you, scientists that are studying the evolutionary mystery of frog and toad ear loss will be at NightLife to share how "earless" frogs would hear popular music. Come hear what it's like to not have a middle ear!
  • What does a T-Rex smell like, you ask? According to Zoologist Perfumes, a little floral and a little smokey, with hints of metallic rose oxide offering a chilling premonition of blood-lust. Take in this dino’s aroma (and more like it) at the Ministry of Scent pop-up.
  • Hop aboard the “touch tour” and combine unique textures and materials to create your very own keychain with the Museum of Craft and Design.

*Please note: TidalFire will headline all Planetarium shows during NightLife on 10/13. Regularly scheduled Planetarium programming will resume 10/14.


A few don't-miss NightLife details:

  • Effective September 16, NightLife guests will no longer be required to provide proof of full vaccination or a recent negative test. We still strongly encourage all guests to stay up-to-date on their vaccinations, and to mask up indoors. As always, if you’re feeling under the weather, please NightLife another time. View health and safety information here.
  • Last entry into the rainforest exhibit is 7:30 pm—our animals need their sleep.
  • Morrison Planetarium is now open at NightLife with 4 showtimes. To maximize staff and guest safety, planetarium passes are required and capacity is limited. Passes are available online in advance for an additional $5 while supplies last to reserve a seat at a 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, or 9:30 pm planetarium show. Please see our FAQs for more details. (Please note: 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 inside the planetarium.)
  • Beverages are available at various bars throughout the building, but food must enjoyed outdoors or in the Academy Cafe only.
  • NightLife is for adults 21+ only. Photo ID required.
  • Still have Qs? See our FAQs here.


Planetarium Shows

6:30 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:30 pm, 9:30 pm

Join us as the Morrison Planetarium teams up with TidalFire to create a very special sensory experience.

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Upcoming ticketed museum events

October 6th at 6:00 pm

Bird is the word! Flock over to NightLife for beers and birds in honor of this Oktoberfest tradition.

October 13th at 6:00 pm

Touch, smell, hear, taste, and feel your way through the museum for a night that just makes sense.

October 20th at 6:00 pm

Explore the nocturnal side of the Academy and see what makes the museum at night different. For adults 21+.

October 27th at 6:00 pm

We’re dying to have you back at our annual Halloween bash for a spine-tingling night dead-icated to science!

November 3rd at 6:00 pm

Lil’ NightLife, Big Vibes. Join us for an evening devoted to all the small things— from microbes to tiny homes.

November 10th at 6:00 pm

Spice up your Thursday night and take your tastebuds for a ride at our hottest NightLife yet.

Upcoming free virtual events

October 6th at 7:00 pm

What live everywhere there’s water, are invisible to the naked eye, and are essential to life on Earth? Diatoms!

October 20th at 7:00 pm

We’re throwing a mini-festival celebrating the ground beneath your feet.