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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.
From exoplanets to space biology, what exists outside of the boundaries of planet earth has long exerted a pull on the human imagination. Come catch a glimpse into what lies ahead in the future of space exploration and join Exploratorium host Ron Hipschman for Full-Spectrum Science: The Universe to learn more about where we exist in the context of it all.
Catching Gravity Waves from Outer Space
With Desiré Whitmore
7:00 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio
Did you know that gravitational waves originating from outer space actually carry enough force to stretch and compress our planet? You’ve probably never noticed—the change is so small that only extremely sensitive laser systems are able to measure these waves. Come learn more about the Laser Interferometric Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and its findings over the last four years, including how the universe synthesizes gold.
Look Up! It’s Your Universe, Too
With Isabel Hawkins
7:30 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum
The beauty and mystery of the night sky inspired Dr. Isabel Hawkins at an early age to become a professional astronomer. Working with indigenous colleagues on the cultural aspects of astronomy has contributed to her professional and personal well being—she is heartened by the knowledge that her ancestors contributed uniquely to science and mathematics, and that many indigenous groups still practice astronomy on a daily basis. Come explore familiar cosmic objects, including the sun, moon, planets, and stars as seen through the lens of diverse cultural perspectives—an encouragement and reminder to look up at the sky, because the universe belongs to all of us.
With Brian Day
8:00 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio
This year marks 50 years since the first human set foot on the moon. Relive the memories with NASA scientist Brian H. Day—take a look back at each of the Apollo landing sites, examine why NASA chose each one, and reflect on what they learned at each site. Then look forward, previewing some of the proposed landing sites for future missions to the Moon and what makes each so interesting.
Full-Spectrum Science: The Universe
8:30 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum
We tend to think of “home” as the building in which we live, or the town or city where we reside. Voyage to the edge of the known universe, and gain some perspective on the tiny planet we call home. See some of the amazing ways the universe is structured, and learn how it’s evolved.
7:00–10:00 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3
What’s the difference between Earth and space? Earth has better atmosphere! (That was a joke. Space has no atmosphere. Get it?) Have you always wanted to feel the squeeze caused by atmospheric pressure? Here’s a way to feel changes in atmospheric pressure by stepping into an extra-large garbage bag. It's a breathtaking experience.
Observing Space From the Air
With SOFIA Scientists
6:30–9:30 p.m. | Gallery 2
SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, is the largest airborne observatory (think “observatory in an airplane”) in the world, capable of making observations that are impossible for even the largest and highest ground-based telescopes. Learn how researchers use SOFIA to observe star birth and death, the formation of new solar systems, planets, nebulae, black holes, complex molecules in space, and more.
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.