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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.
Come into the light: learn about things that flare and flash, from lightning-fast nematocysts in the ocean to flicker films on the big screen. Then get an introduction to flash pickling (quick preservation: it’s not an oxymoron!) and learn about the dramatic, flame-retarding element bromine at Everything Matters: Bromine.
Everything Matters: Bromine
With Ron Hipschman
8:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum
The element bromine is full of drama, but its compounds are perhaps best known for keeping flashes and flares in check—they’ve long been used as flame retardants, though they’re increasingly being phased out. Get to know this volatile element with Exploratorium scientist Ron Hipschman as part of Everything Matters, our series on the Periodic Table.
With Cinema Arts
6:00–10:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Micro Cinema
Time dwindles until it simply flies by in this collection of short films. From the opportunity to experience days in seconds through the power of timelapse to the pupil-dilating, brain-crimping overload of flicker films, each of these film restricts and redefines how much information can be packed into a flash.
With Dana Carrison-Stone
7:00–9:00 p.m. | Gallery 4 Bio Bar
Cnidaria—anemones, corals, and jellyfish, among others—aren't supervillains; they're just trying to eat. But it's all the same to the victims of their nematocysts, or body parts that inject poison into their prey. Learn about nematocysts with marine biologist and Living Systems manager Dana Carrison-Stone.
7:00–10:00 p.m. | Gallery 4
Pickles in a flash—not too bad, right? Officially, these aren’t true pickles, a term reserved for foods that are fermented with acid-producing bacteria. What you’ve really done here would be more properly called “flash-marinating”: rapidly infusing brine into food with the help of a pressure drop. As you might suspect, the secret to the trick lies in extracting the gases hiding within the veggies. Learn how to flash-pickle with Explorables volunteers—then eat what you make!
With PJ Reptilehouse
7:00–9:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Black Box
Explore the spectra of light and dark, figurative and abstract, simple and complex with the photography of PJ Reptilehouse. Capturing the human form with constantly evolving custom strobe lights, he creates unique kaleidoscopic images. A gallery of selected photographs will be projected on a large screen and visitors will have a chance to peer into his image-making process at the adjacent Black Box entrance.
Osher Gallery 1
In the dark, pyrocystis plankton glow when disturbed in the hopes of attracting bigger animals to eat their predators. When your seeking hands disturb a vial of these bioluminescent critters in the Tactile Dome, what fate will befall you? Find out at After Dark: In a Flash!
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 in advance for our 6:15 and 7:00 p.m. sessions. All later sessions are on a drop-in, first-come, first-served basis.
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.