- About Us
- Join + Support
Free for After Dark Members
Adults Only (18+)
Note: The Tactile Dome and some programs have limited capacity and are available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.
Lose yourself in over 650 interactive exhibits exploring perception, art, and science at our adults-only After Dark. Grab your friends and a drink and get immersed in mind-bending experiences and unique, thought-provoking programs.
We’re celebrating the Exploratorium’s 50th birthday, and you’re invited! At After Dark, we’re throwing it back to 1969, musing on the cultural environment from which the museum rose, and considering how that time period resonantes with the past and maybe impacts the future. From the first person on the moon to the first communication by ARPANET, the events, inventions, and cultural shifts of 1969 remain essential in our lives 50 years later. Come see how they might carry us on to the next 50 years.
Essential Explo: A Walking Tour
With Ken Finn
7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 p.m. | Roaming
Curious about the Exploratorium and our drive to shift your perception? Join Ken Finn for a fascinating tour of the Exploratorium’s dynamic floor. Finn will select a handful of essential and historically significant exhibits that, surprisingly enough, are even more relevant as we propel ourselves into the next 50 years. Expect insight into the values that drive the Exploratorium and behind-the-scenes storytelling that may surprise. Limit 20 people per walk.
Your Brain One Day After a Psychedelic Experience
With Lorenzo Pasquini
7:30 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio
Would your brain be different one day after a psychedelic experience? While the psychedelic era came to an end in the 1960s, recent years have seen growing traction in research environments for studying the potential rehabilitative uses of psychedelic substances. Lorenzo Pasquini’s neuroimaging work in conjunction with the UFRN Brain Institute in Natal, Brazil offers a unique window into how specific brain networks are affected one day after the psychedelic experience. Find out how Pasquini’s findings consider how psychedelic substances change brain systems supporting human emotions and social behavior.
Internet, I Love You, But I’m Bringing You Down
With Rose Eveleth
8:30 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum
When the US Department of Defense developed ARPANET fifty years ago, they had no idea it would lead to the creation of today’s Internet, or all the wonders and horrors that Internet might bring. Over the past half-century, digital communication technologies have impacted and infiltrated nearly ever part of modern life. From the electrical grid to social media to global shipping, the Internet is everywhere. But what would happen if we tried to break up with the Internet? And what might lead us to the conclusion that life would be better without it? Blending fact and fiction, Flash Forward host Rose Eveleth will lead us through the history and possible (or not-so-possible) future of our relationship with the Internet since ARPANET.
So, What’s Good Here?
6:00–10:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1
Has our appetite changed since 1969? Take a peek at these menus, pulled from several archives, that highlight the dishes and designs of 1969.
Visions of Apollo 11
With Cinema Arts
6:00–10:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Mind Cinema
July 20, 1969 marks the 50th anniversary of one giant step for mankind. Dive into Apollo 11 through the lens of films—a fun range of home movies, vintage NASA films, and television broadcasts—that share the developments of the technologies that progressed to get us to the moon, and the celebrations and conversations that happened after that first step.
Weird Side of the Street:
Avant-Garde Experiments on Sesame Street
With Cinema Arts
8:30–10:00 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio
While tickle-able or cookie-fiending Muppets are the more known residents, Sesame Street boasts a rich history of supporting innovative, experimental, and just-plain-weird artists and creators. Born of the same cultural milieu as the Exploratorium, the program redefined children’s programming when it debuted in 1969 with an inventive, multicultural approach. Dig into some of the great short films and animations that were nestled between the stories happening on the street, many made by celebrated artists. Watch out—you may even encounter one that has long lived in the deep recesses of your childhood memory!
Osher Gallery 1
Journey through total darkness in this twisting, turning, tactile sculpture. Walk, crawl, climb, and slide your way through a wonderland of textures using only your sense of touch as a guide.
Please Note: Due to the nature of this experience, certain restrictions apply. Guests who are afraid of the dark; claustrophobic; have back, neck, or knee injuries; or are in their third trimester of pregnancy should not participate. Guests wearing casts are prohibited. Also, please wear comfortable clothes.
You can reserve tickets for our 6:15 and 7:00 p.m. sessions. We also operate drop-in, first-come, first-served sessions at 7:45, 8:30, and 9:15 p.m.; tickets can be purchased at the Information Desk.
Learn more about the Tactile Dome.
6:00–9:45 unless noted
Various locations throughout the museum
Ticketing at 6:00 p.m., first come, first served
Osher Gallery 1
Draw hypnotically flowing patterns with a swinging table, and watch friction cause the patterns to slowly shrink along a spiral path. Pick up a ticket to reserve your spot in line for this popular activity.
Bechtel Gallery 2
Tune in to surrounding sounds by experimenting with strings and vibrations, and use electromagnets to build a basic speaker. Learn how to listen with your bones, and explore the workings of the inner ear.
Cow Eye or Flower Dissection (alternating)
Do cows see color? How does a lens work? Examine the intricate structure of a cow eye to learn about similar structures in our own eyes, as well as some key differences.
Stigma, stamen, pistil, anther, style: Uncover the beautiful architecture of flower anatomy, and gather some surprising strategies that plants use to reproduce.
Osher Gallery 1
Everything is not as it seems—at first. Pick a card, any card, and watch the Explainers reveal some surprising aspects of human perception.