Color Wheel

NightLife Admission: $15 ($12 Academy members)
Planetarium Passes: $3 (more info below)
21+ with ID

Select events subject to premier pricing: $22 ($18 Academy members).

Explore the Academy through rose-colored glasses: Tonight we’re celebrating the wonderful world of color. Get your late-night science fix with rainbow-hued cocktails in hand while wandering among rainforest greens, aquarium blues, and coral pinks.

Learn about EnChroma glasses, which enable people with red-green colorblindness to see a broader range of clear, vibrant colors. Assess your color vision with a screening test, and then experience your surroundings in a new way: Borrow a pair of EnChroma glasses for a transformative view of the Academy or experience a color blind simulator.

Check out some of the specimens that have inspired scientific illustrator Rachel Diaz-Bastin’s colorful nudibranchs, Gouldian finches, and frogs.

Take a spin through our Color of Life exhibit, featuring dazzling specimens and colorful animals showcasing how important color is in the natural world for species to survive and thrive.

Full details coming soon!



  • 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.



  • Heads-up! Starting January 10, 2019, planetarium passes will be required for the 7:30, 8:30, and (new!) 9:30 pm shows. This will allow more guests to reserve their preferred showtimes in advance and better plan their evenings—and also help us manage high demand for limited planetarium seats.
  • Passes are $3 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 and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Please arrive at the planetarium 20 minutes before your ticketed showtime. 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 did our Solar System form and where do we look for evidence of its earliest days?

7:30 pm, 8:30 pm

Leave Planet Earth behind as you fly to the farthest reaches of the Universe! Narrated by Sigourney Weaver.

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 NightLife Events

January 31st at 6:00 pm

Explore the Academy through rose-colored glasses: Tonight we’re celebrating the wonderful world of color.

February 7th at 6:00 pm

NightLife partners with SF Beer Week for a froth-filled evening of brews!

February 14th at 6:00 pm

Come celebrate your Valentine's, Palentine's or Galentine's at the official Noise Pop Music Festival pre-party.

February 21st at 6:00 pm

Kick off the Year of the Pig with lion dancers, masked performers, and pigs!