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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.
How can we reverse the course of our ecological impact and move toward a more sustainable future? What impacts can we have at the individual, local, and global level? Hear from leading scientists about the latest initiatives and technologies in resilience, sustainability, and environmental science education.
Lose yourself in thought-provoking programs and mind-bending experiences at adults-only After Dark Thursdays—including more than 650 interactive exhibits exploring perception, art, and science. Grab some friends, stash your stuff in our musical lockers, get a drink at one of our pop-up bars or food at Seaglass Restaurant, and start exploring. You may find that things look different after dark.
Behind the Scenes: Exploratorium Bay Water Room
With Chuck Mignacco
7:00, 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? Upon the move to Pier 15, the Exploratorium 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.
How Climate Change Affects Us and What We Can Do About It
With Andrew Dessler
7:30 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio
How broad are the impacts of climate change? And in what ways do environmental impacts that may seem remote affect our way of life? Climate change is reordering our environments and having a direct impact on humanity—let eminent climate scientist Dr. Andrew Dessler tell you how. Drawing from his expertise in science, policy, and communication, he’ll discuss what kinds of actions and decisions can influence positive change.
Looking at the Data: Greenhouse Gases in the Atmosphere
With Lori Bruhwiler
8:00 p.m. | Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6
The relationships between human activity, greenhouse gases, and climate change affect us all. Investigate the complexities of those relationships as NOAA scientist Lori Bruhwiler shares insights from her work looking at atmospheric greenhouse gases. While human impact on carbon dioxide growth in the atmosphere can be explained with confidence, methane is more complicated—it comes from a greater variety of sources. Over the last decade, atmospheric methane abundance has increased after a period of stability, and the processes behind this increase are still a mystery! Are humans behind the increase? Or is it an early indicator of a carbon-climate feedback?
Community Resilience: Thriving in the Face of Climate Disasters
With Amee Raval
8:30 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio
This fall, as fires tore through communities in the North Bay and Los Angeles and blanketed our large portions of the state with toxic smoke, many felt that a “new normal” had arrived. But this “new normal” has been the status quo for communities on the front lines of the struggle against climate change for years—and in many cases,the communities with the fewest material resources face the greatest threats from climate change. Hear from Amee Raval about the work of APEN, a community-based organization that is putting working-class communities of color at the center of solutions to the climate crisis, specifically empowering local immigrant and refugee communities in Richmond and Oakland. Learn about the ways APEN is fighting climate change by challenging the extractive economy, passing policies in Sacramento that transform our energy system, and putting resources toward building resilience in the places that need it most.
With Nathan Clevenger, Kristina Dutton, Kim Miskowicz, and Camille Seaman
6:00–10:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Microcinema
Crafted from over a decade of video footage, Ice Hours is a multimedia performance anchored by stunning views of Antarctic landscapes and the surrounding ocean. Coupling live music performance with dynamic imagery, the work is a collaboration between photographer Camille Seaman, film artist Kim Miskowicz, and composer/musicians Kristina Dutton and Nathan Clevenger. Illustrating the inextricable connection and interdependence of humans and the natural environment, Ice Hours documents inspiring and endangered features of our changing planet.
What Goes Where?
6:30–9:30 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3
Are you a zero-waste hero? Prove your prowess in this interactive waste-sorting game. From tin foil to tissue, batteries to buttons,is it compost, recycling, or trash (or none of the above)? While you’re there, learn more about the zero-waste programs Recology has in place for San Francisco.
With Janette Kim
7:30–9:30 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1
Want to play the full game? Reserve a spot by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Others are welcome to observe.
Immerse yourself in the struggles of Bartertown, a game that asks how networks of sociability can adapt to climate change and other disasters like a market crash or a divorce. Players exchange favors and resources to survive using unique powers: property, inventiveness, mobility, generosity, and influence. Whether you win or lose, dominate or inspire, you’ll explore unexpected ways to strategize, negotiate, and reshape the city through a new economy of favors and resource-sharing. This event stages Bartertown as a human-scale board game. Game designer Janette Kim will kick things off with a brief introduction at 7:30 p.m. From there, a group of players will dive in. Others can watch and ask questions as play progresses.
Serious Learning through Science Comics
With Karen Romano Young
7:30–9:30 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3 Demo Station
How can you communicate climate change through comics? Join writer, artist and science communications expert Karen Romano Young to learn about how she uses visual storytelling to share climate science with a wide and diverse range of learners. In her series #AntarcticLog, Young visualizes the current science and issues emerging in the climate crisis while also sharing dispatches from polar expeditions. Check out a selection of her vast and engaging comics—and contribute to a large-scale drawing created collectively over the course of the night.
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 3
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.
Van de Graaff Generator
With the Explainers
Bechtel Gallery 3
Get ready to have your hair stand on end (literally). Experience our electrostatic generator firsthand—with high-voltage direct-current electricity turned down to low current levels, our Van de Graaff generator both will, and won’t, shock you. Please keep your hands on the sphere until our Explainers tell you to let go!
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.