After Dark: Beneath the Bay

Thursday, August 19, 2021 • 6:00–10:00 p.m. PT

Not a member yet? Join us and get free admission all year long!

Adults Only (18+)

Note: Free for members and donors—only a membership card and ID required for entry. The Tactile Dome is currently closed.

San Francisco Bay is a dynamic, active system that supports all sorts of ocean organisms. Dive below the surface at tonight’s After Dark and see what’s living underneath. Meet the algae and creatures that live underneath our data collection buoy during this once-a-year dry-docking. Find out what historical records of ocean data tell us about the health of the planet, learn about the possibilities of restoring underwater ecosystems, and even take home your own pressed sample of kelp!

On loan to us from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), our carbon dioxide (CO2)  buoy has been anchored between Piers 15 and 17 since April 2013, collecting data on water temperature, salinity, and CO2  levels in the atmosphere and in San Francisco Bay. 

Food and drinks will be available to purchase in our Seaglass Restaurant and at the outdoor bar in Gallery 5 to enjoy in those designated spaces during After Dark. Please note that there is no drinking or eating allowed elsewhere in the museum at this time.

Curious about what to expect during your visit? Check out our current safety protocols and guidelines.

Just for Tonight

Kelp Cocktail
With Clay Reynolds

6:00–9:30 p.m., while supplies last
Gallery 5

Taste a cocktail inspired by the salty brine of the ocean. Seaglass mixologist Clay Reynolds is crafting a cocktail just for tonight using fresh algae harvested from the coast! A new take on the sea-grape martini served in 2013 and beloved by Exploratorium staff, this drink is a full sensory dive into the flavor of the ocean. Available for purchase next to the buoy while supplies last.

Get to NOAA Buoy
6:00–10:00 p.m.

Gallery 5

Check out the underside of our NOAA buoy during its once-a-year cleaning and maintenance window on the deck of our outdoor gallery.

DJ Red Corvette
From Hip Hop for Change

6:30–7:45 and 8:15–9:30 p.m.
Gallery 4

Get ready to dance your way through the night as DJs from Hip Hop for Change set the vibe and keep the party moving all night! Tonight San Francisco native Red Corvette enlivens After Dark. As one of the Bay Area's top DJs, she's played across festivals, nightclubs, tours, branded  events and much more. Red Corvette has rocked everything from Trillectro & Electric Forest to some of Cali and NYC's most popular night clubs and bars.  She is also the COO + co-founder of Women Sound Off and the founder of Black Biz Bay Area.

Hip Hop for Change is an Oakland-based nonprofit that uses grassroots activism to educate people about socioeconomic injustices and advocate solutions through Hip Hop culture. 

Plankton Drag Demo
With the Explainers

6:30, 7:30, and 8:30 p.m.
Gallery 4 Demo Station

Look into the sea by gathering the ocean drifts with a net. See the charismatic and beautiful life under the microscope. 

Algae Pressing
With Sue Lisin

6:30–8:00 p.m.
Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6

Start your own algae herbarium with this make-and-take activity. Using algae samples taken from the underside of our buoy and some professional plant preservation supplies—we’ll provide them!—you can press and preserve your own piece of seaweed. 

Ocean Record Keepers
with Dr. Emily Miller

7:30 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Studio

How can dried seaweed help ocean conservation efforts? To understand the future of the ocean requires an understanding of the past. To date, historical data has been largely limited to instrument records and observations that begin around 1950. Research technician Emily Miller shares how kelp and other marine algae from herbaria repositories, and the female scientists who collected them, are helping extend historical records all the way back to 1878.  With this data, Emily offers a new perspective on upwelling cycles and documents these patterns to help understand the shifts in the foundation of the food web of Monterey Bay.

Behind the Scenes: Exploratorium Bay Water Room 
With Chuck Mignacco

8:00 and 9:00 p.m.
Gallery 4
Please meet at the entrance to Gallery 4. Tours are limited to 20 people each.

How’s the temperature in here? Are you feeling comfortable? Pier 15 was designed as a living experiment in green technology and sustainability. One of the most innovative systems at the museum is our heating and cooling system, which is primarily supported by the Bay water beneath your feet! Join Exploratorium operations manager Chuck Mignacco for a behind-the-scenes look at how our Bay water geothermal exchange works—and how it saves millions of gallons of potable water annually and drastically reduces our carbon footprint.

Kelp Need Help!
With Francesca Koe

8:30 p.m.
Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6

Scientists and divers have noticed North Coast kelp ecosystem collapse over the last few years. Learn how community science projects banded together to help the forests recover through urchin removal and how they support the kelp forests through monitoring and taking an active role in their restoration.

Exemplary Exhibits: 

Cinema Arts: Stories from the Sea
6:00–10:00 p.m. 
Gallery 4

Oceans support an incredible diversity of life, both in the water and along the shore. These cinematic observations offer visual immersion into a range of oceanic narratives—from the microscopic lives of plankton to the complex relationships between humans and the world beneath the waves.

Baby Squid, Born Like Stars by Steve Haddock and Brad Seibel (2006, 6 min.)
Ray: A Life Underwater by Amanda Bluglass (2011, 7 min.)
Pacific Drifters by Nannette van Antwerp (2011, 5 min.)
Whale Fall by Sharon Shattuck and Flora Lichtman (2011, 4 min.)
Life by the Tide by Joshua Cassidy (2009, 7 min.)